Wednesday 25 November 2009

Website: Learning Different Languages with BBC

Students have asked me how to learn pronunciation of a brand name correctly in their native languages, and I have been giving shortcut methods in my lessons, but to be truly reliable, there is no better way then learning from native speakers.

However, we know that it is far from easy to get to know these native speakers (unless you have chances to work with them or you often go clubbing), thus an easier way is to LIY (Learn It Yourself).

There was once I taught IPA (International Phonetic Alphabets) lessons in Maryknoll Father's in Kowloon Tong, and there was an exchange student from Germany called Jana (a nice and cheerful girl). As there is a big difference in teaching German students and Chinese students, I first learnt the German pronunciations through LIY, then found out similarities between English and German, and then applied what I knew to make it easier for her to understand. I benefitted myself through the learning as I have learnt how to pronounce brand names in German, and which website I used?

No other than the most convenient and interactive BBC Languages. The website has many languages you can choose to learn, and it comes with STEPS, which is a series of interactive walkthrough of the most common situations you face when you go travelling. You have the basic, intermediate and advanced levels at your service, and there are also numerous links for those of you who would like to listen to foreign radio programs to bring your level to an even greater height.

I have spent lots of time on the Italian, Spanish and German sections, and I find answers for around 80% of my pronunciation questions from the Beginner level. The remaining ones, you may need to dig deeper into the intermediate level.

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