Pronunciation Problems : Software, hardware and help desk

Words that seem to cause Spanish speakers problems; Software, hardware and the help desk

// is used to denote a phonetic spelling

[] is used to denote a picture that might help the learner pronounce the word more clearly

{} is used to highlight what I hear a learner say

My learners are aware that it is unusual if anything written between the above marks matches the way the word is spelt in English.

All of the following have caused a number of my students pronunciation problems and the solutions I have found to work for those problems (so far).

When I try to change a speakers pronunciation I attempt to give him/her something visual as well as something aural.

Problem – often pronounced as soware

Solution – write {so ware} on the board

– write [soft ware] under it

– change colour of pen

– write [software] underneath.

Face the learner and point at the board say soware, then point at the second word and say soft ware as two words, then point at the third word and say software the word is written as one word but pronounced as two, you may want to talk about other compound nouns and how they are spelt as one two or hyphenated words. The learner will probably offer you hardware as another example.

Help desk is about 8 times as popular as helpdesk as an English spellling, so just write help desk on the board and highlight the p in help and d in desk, drill as separate words if necessary before drilling the two together.

When the learner repeats the wrong pronunciation just write [soft ware] on the board, they will very quickly self correct. I usually attempt to get the learners to say the word correctly three times for every time they say it incorrectly – they need to unlearn the wrong pronunciation.

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