Teaching English pronunciation in the context of the Chinese education system

  • Wang Yu-Zhen

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Pronunciation is an important component of English teaching,
particularly in a non-English speaking country like China,
where students' exposure to the target language may be only
listening to tapes or to the teacher in class, or occasionally
watching a film in English, if these audio-visual facilities
are available.
However, the majority of teachers do not pay enough attention
to pronunciation because it always competes for class times
with other aspects of language teaching. Moreover, it is not
usually tested. As a result, after several years of studying
English, some students still cannot speak or read aloud with
any degree of accuracy or fluency.
Therefore it is essential that in China, the teacher's
professional inventory should include acquaintance with basic
articulatory phonetics and the phonological system of English,
because the teacher is inevitably a pronunciation model for the
student. Furthermore, the correction of students' aberrant
pronunciation is a continuing task throughout years of teaching
at different levels, and one which requires patience and
alertness as well as effective techniques.
With the rapid development of education in China, the problem
of effective teaching of pronunciation has become more
prominent. According to the government's plan, the number of
students planned to be enrolled in tertiary institutions alone
will increase by 42.2 per cent from 1981 to 1985. Foreign
language teaching, in theory, starts from the third year of
primary school and continues right through the second year of
college. The training of teachers at these levels, especially
at the primary and secondary levels, is a serious problem.
Pronunciation is an inescapable part of language teaching. The
questions raised in this paper and the suggestions made may, in
part, assist with the training of the large numbers of
effective speakers of foreign languages that China needs.
Date of Award1983
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra

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