Monday, January 30, 2006

Oane, tou, sri, for


I give up. Pronunciation is notoriously difficult to teach (and learn) and I spend a lot of my working life correcting the usual "z"s for "th"s and "ee"s for "i"s. Some learners are so convinced that you don't need to pronounce the "h" at the beginning of a word that they don't even bother to write it, so I get this sort of thing to in essays "I ear the bells". On the other hand, they are often tempted to slip an "h" in before a vowel at the beginning of a word, as in "I hate my dinner". It's an uphill struggle and made all the more difficult by the fact that most of the students I come into contact with have been studying English for more than eight years and the mistakes are fossilised. It's really important to be exposed to correct pronunciation models from the very beginning.
It looks as if things are not going to be getting any better. Yesterday, while reading to E., I discovered this handy pronunciation guide in which the blessed Dora the Explorer (she speaks heavily accented English in the French version) recommends that the little people say él-lo for hello, sri for three, and for for four. No, no, no, no no, no, no. Dora is a dunce.

8 comments:

BeefKing said...

Was this on TV? Because although here Dora speaks French and teaches English, the original Dora comes from the States, speaks perfect English, and does her best to pass on a little Spanish along the way. If you read their lips, Backpack, Boots, Swiper and Map speak English, while Tico speaks only Spanish. This makes sense: Primary and Secondary languages change from place to place. But if the screensnap you posted actually aired on TV, then that means they've started making episodes directly for the French market, which is very interesting. Dora is produced by Nickolodeon, which also makes Blue's Clues (my personal favorite). But Blue's Clues in the UK is an entirely different show than the American version. Perhaps they're streching out with Dora in the same way.

What did we watch before we had kids?

Oh, right. Six Feet Under and Trigger Happy.

Lesley said...

No Beefking it's not a screenshot, it's a photo of the booklet that comes with the DVD. There is one of those series on sale in the newsagent's at the moment where the first installment costs almost nothing, the next and so on until the prices become ridiculous. I've wondered about the English-spealking Dora who teaches Spanish too, because I was sure that she had a British accent until E got a Leap-pad version with an American accent.

Sarah Mackenzie said...

But eenglish it zound zo zexy when eet ees spoken wiz a french agcent. Ay do not care abowt what they are speaking when ay ear zuch words as oane tou sri. Eet ees so verry verry cute.

Wendy said...

*LOL*...Fabien (my youngest) loves Dora but hates the American version.

He picked up a beautiful British accent watching Charlie and the Choc. Factory - that Verruca Salt - "Duddy..I WAHNT a POHNY!" He got it down to a tee. It was so funny. Now he ponces about putting on a plummy accent at whim.

I love listening to French people speaking English but it IS a nightmare to teach - and correct those 'sri's and 'zeez' etc etc..

Antipodeesse said...

'Ello' is totally wanky and irritates the pants off me! Oh dear, can you tell I'm in an obnoxious mood today?

deborah said...

Help!
your lastest post has gone flying off thepage to the right on just two lines ..... how do I correct that?

I wanted to leave a comment on
http://rana.typepad.com/weblog/2006/01/a_word_from_the.html

which I had found via Stothard but when I tried it didn't work. It said 'Give your account at typepad'
Can I join that if I don't have a blog?

Lesley said...

Which browser are you using Deb? It looks okay in Firefox and Safari, to me at least. Will look into the typepad thing.

deborah said...

Thanks Lesley

I've been using Safari but when I tried via Explorer your blog was fine again.
I've really enjoyed reading Peter Stothard and Rana of Singapore .... the trouble with good blogs is that I start reading early in the morning then before you can say Jack Robinson it is evening and I haven't had my shower ....... I can't resist clicking on all the links and it becomes one long digression! I better go back to work ......
New problem, this won't come up on Explorer so will go back to Safari