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Online English Phonetics Course
specifically designed for Chinese university students or equivalents

SUN Dexian
Geneva University, 2001
Director: Daniel Peraya

English formal teaching in China has made great progress in recent decades, but it is also true that there still exists many problems. Although it is taught from primary school on, many university students are not able to communicate in the language, especially orally. In the universities of China, lack of qualified English teachers and the examination-oriented teaching method hinder teaching and learning of phonetics. Therefore, for the moment, the students cannot only depend on their teachers to improve their English pronunciation.

In order to know the real situation of the Chinese students' English pronunciation, two kinds of needs analyses were conducted: an on-line questionnaire which aims to see the subjects' attitudes on their own pronunciations; and a sounds analysis which aims to learn their real problems of pronunciation. The results show that there are many common problems in the Chinese students' English pronunciations, and what's more, the students are not conscious of many of them. Most of the serious problems are caused by their Chinese pronunciation habits, which may lead to misunderstanding or even unintelligibility.

A possible way to help them with these problems is proposed here: an on-line English phonetics course with proper guidance, authentic materials, appropriate learning methods and necessary means. Considering the present English teaching situation in China, this is perhaps one of the promising ways for the students to improve their pronunciations.

The method used in creating the course is an integrated one. That is to say it takes advantage of some of the widely used phonetics teaching and learning methods. The internet/intranet with its multimedia environment promises the implementation of this method. Created with this integrated method the program makes available to the students the necessary audio and visual means to realize the problems of their own pronunciations. And then applicable ways to get the correct pronunciations are suggested. For students from certain regions with particular pronunciation difficulties, some special tips are offered.

The result of the pre-testing shows that the program is helpful and effective.

Key Words: English, phonetics, online course, methods, program

Place of Writing: Geneva, Switzerland

For detailed information, please contact me: sundexian@yahoo.com

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