Birmy English School Archives: What Are the Most Common English Errors in Chinese Pronunciation?

Teaching English to Chinese students can be a challenging task for any teacher considering the great gap between the English language and the native Chinese way of speaking and writing. Chinese people don’t have an alphabet. All they have is a logosyllabic system, which constitutes syllables that can be used alone or with other syllables. Being an institute that operates in major cities in China, the Birmy Education Review has collected a common list of errors faced by teachers when teaching the English language to Chinese students.

Understanding the Chinese Language

The Chinese language operates in the form of homophones, or otherwise known as a group of words having the same pronunciation but having different meanings. When translated to Chinese characters, these words retain their own meaning. Birmy International English School stresses the critical fact that this huge gap between the English and Chinese language is one major factor in the learning capacity of students, coming from a “no-alphabet” society, to an alphabet counterpart.

The Birmy English Institute has listed below some errors common to Chinese students.

  • Inability to pronounce the /r/ sound. The English /r/ sound is not present in the Chinese dialect, hence making it one of the major consonants Chinese students have difficulty pronouncing. Commonly, students pronounce /l/ and /w/ as a replacement. Common examples are the words “rush” “race” “real” “car” “care” “hear.”

Mispronouncing the /r/ with /l/ and /w/ could lead to a different word and meaning. Examples include “lush” “lace” and “heal.”

  • Inability to pronounce the /v/ sound. Another consonant commonly mispronounced by Chinese students involve the /v/ sound. This is commonly replaced by the /b/ or /w/ sound. Examples include “love” “dove” save” “valley.” As a result, pronunciations could come in the form of “lowe” ”dobe” “sabe” and “balley.”
  • Confusion between the /n/ and /l/ sounds.The English sound /l/ doesn’t have a counterpart in the Chinese language, hence the confusion.Common words include “light” “live” “learn” which are pronounced as “night” “nive” and “nearn.”
  • Clusters of consonants. Students find it difficult to pronounce words with consonant clusters as the Chinese doesn’t have this one in their language. Teaching students step-by-step can help and correct this type of error in their pronunciations. Examples of these words include “ask” “fly” “dry” “sky” “bend” “lend” and “trend.”

Birmy School reviews and archives stress the importance of adjusting and creating a personalized approach when teaching students. This include studying the learning capacity of each student as well as their proficiency in the language and educational history.

Birmy International English School offers Chinese students a chance at a better future in mastering the English language. Run by an effective and efficient teaching staff, this institute offers great education for students wanting to be globally competitive in English.