I love helping others with something that they want to learn, I feel like it teaches me something new in the process. Most of my friends speak English as a second language, and the majority say that they appreciate it when I let them know when they make a mistake while speaking, or if I help them pronounce something correctly.
The other day a friend of mine was actually teaching me how to say something in Mandarin, which by the way is quite possibly the most difficult language when it comes to pronunciation, and suddenly the letter R came into question and she had trouble with it. I decided to say a word that ends in R and see what my mouth does while I am saying it, I noticed that my tongue actually rolls upwards and backwards. I said this to her and another Friend who is American said “oh wow it does, I never noticed that!” She was able to pronounce the letter R correctly.
Since then I made a discovery that quite possibly could change things drastically for someone like me who is obsessed with learning as many languages as I can as fast as I can. I realized that if I want to learn how to pronounce something I have to ask the person who is saying it, what exactly they do with their mouth while they say it, and if they explain it to me then I can pronounce ANYTHING!
Amazingly enough the day after this event I was trying to learn a different Mandarin word from a different person, it was in fact his name that I had trouble with, and no matter what I did I wouldn’t get it right, so I asked him about the way his mouth moves and his tongue rolls and he told me and so I was able to say his name correctly, he looked at me in awe and said “you are the first person (foreigner) to say my name correctly.”
I am sure that I am not the first person to think of this teaching/learning method and I won’t be the last, but I am still so excited about it and I just really wanted to share it, in case there are people out there that could gain from it.
Keep on rollin’