The English language is the most studied languages around the world. Most of the non-native speakers living outside Europe or America have a very good command of written English, but their spoken English is sometimes pathetic. On the other hand, non-native speakers living in Europe and America can speak English like natives, but they struggle with written English. In either case, acquiring the English language for non-native speakers is not easy, and instructors must devise ways to assist their students in the learning process (Smolder 21).
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Pronunciation, intonation, word stress, and English rhythms are some of the problems that non-native speakers encounter as they learn the English language.
The students’ first language interferences can make it hard for their audience to understand them correctly. Different rhythms and word stresses help to make sense of words in English. Therefore, stressing the wrong syllables or using the wrong intonation can change the meaning of a sentence completely. The use of a variety of expressions, speech rhythms, and flexibility of tone by teachers help the non-native speaker develop the necessary English language skills.
The flexibility of tones allows the student to understand the different ways of using words or phrases. In the English language, the tone must reflect the meaning of a word or phrase. The pitch, loudness, and resonance of a statement determine the meaning of statements (Klimczak and Linda 45).
For this reason, the use of the flexibility of tone in non-native teaching speakers is essential. Consequently, using speech rhythms and a variety of expressions helps students understand how to phrase, pause, and blend words to create a meaningful sentence. In general, the different techniques in teaching help the students to avoid the common mistakes in spoken English, thus improving their language acquisition skills.
A variety of expressions is one of the techniques that teachers use to help non-native English learners understand various expressions. For instance, a teacher can tell students to say different phrases or sentences in the expression of a certain feeling. A variety of expression technique helps students learn to display Anger, fear, disappointment, and appreciation in words. Additionally, it allows students to develop vital skills that can help them in addressing different groups of people. Most non-native speakers do not follow these aspects of speech in their communication. Most teachers prefer equipping their learners with the necessary grammatical knowledge while ignoring the prosody part of the language (Selvi 188). As a result, non-native speakers develop poor speaking techniques.
The second practical method that a teacher can use in the classroom is the use of speech rhythms. The technique helps students identify word stress patterns and practice varying stresses. For instance, a teacher can ask students in groups to say particular sentences while stressing certain words to create a certain meaning. The instructor then asks another group to state the meaning of the sentence. For instance, a sentence like “my boss is out”, said the secretary, must be said phrased in a certain way to bring out the intended meaning.
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In spoken language, the words must be paused to bring out the original meaning. A teacher can use different noise levels to indicate places where voices rise or fall in a sentence. On the other hand, an instructor can use different stresses to alter the meaning of a word. For instance, a student must be able to differentiate the stress syllables in words desert and dessert to bring out the intended meaning. A student talking about a desert can easily confuse the audience if they stress the wrong syllable.
For example, a student can put the stress on the syllable ‘sert’ in the word desert, thus changing the meaning. Although spelled correctly, in spoken word, the stressed syllable would bring out the idea of a dessert. The use of speech rhythm helps learners understand the importance of stress in the English language (Smolder 21). Additionally, the use of speech rhythms helps students to translate the written language out in a speech without altering the meaning of the sentence.
Another important practice in the classroom is a tonal variation to bring out different ideas in communication. An instructor can teach students how to vary their tones by asking them to say similar words with different expressions (Smolder 21). For instance, a teacher can ask students to say the phrase “she saw me” as an excited student, embarrassed student, and as an angry person. In each case, the student must use some facial expression and tonal variation to bring out the excitement, embarrassment, or anger.
The use of speech rhythms, tonal variations, and a variety of expression helps non-native English students to acquire the right skills in communication. Teachers can use different tests to assess language development in their students. Some of the assessment techniques that an instructor can use include accuracy tests, fluency tests, and pronunciation tests. Accuracy tests show the ability of a student to make correct sentences.
In fluency tests, teachers assess the students’ ability to express themselves without pausing unnecessarily. Lastly, in pronunciation tests, a teacher assesses the student’s ability to pronounce words without a foreign accent (Klimczak and Linda 71). For this reason, instructors teaching non-native English speakers must employ the use of speech rhythms, the flexibility of tone, and a variety of expressions to teach their students.
Klimczak, Ewa, and Linda Shockey. Teaching and researching English accents in native and non-native speakers. Heidelberg, New York: Springer, 2013. Print.
Selvi, Ali. “The non-native speaker teacher.” ELT Journal 65.2 (2011): 187-189. Print.
Smolder, Christina. “ELT and the native speaker ideal: some food for thought.” IH Journal 36.1 (2014): 21. Print.