March 2014

Why ESL/EFL Students Can’t Speak English

‘Draw me a picture’ is a great way to absorb new ideas. How about a Venn diagram? Here is a picture of how ABC’s are hopelessly inadequate for English speaking.

ABC’s or the Latin alphabet is contained in the blue circle on the left and EPA the English Phonetic Alphabet is inside the pink circle on the right. The symbols found in both writing (Latin) and speaking (EPA) alphabets are in the purple section in the middle.

OLD Vennglish

I’ll walk you through it.

Top left corner: C Q X are redundant in a speaking alphabet all their sounds are represented by other letters

Bottom left corner: AEIOU are too vague. Each of those letters represents 5-8 sounds. We can’t use them for speaking

Center wedge:18 consonants that sound the way one expects them to sound b /b/, d /d/, f /f/…  the only 18 ABC letters we can use for speaking

Top right corner: 6  new consonant symbols. Capital letters indicate two symbols represent one sound

Bottom right corner: 16 vowel sounds of English. Download the free color-coded EPA Vowel Chart for your classroom

Vennglish and the EPA Vowel Chart poster PDFs are available from the E-Store in our website for $4.95 each.

You should be able to count the 26 letters of the writing alphabet and 40 sounds of the speaking alphabet on this chart. If you can’t, call me! judy@thompsonlanguagecenter.com

Until next time,

Teacher Judy

Special Delivery for ESL. Your Alphabet is Here!

‘Visual learners’ which is most of us, understand images better than lectures or written text. In that light I had Susie Bond in New Zealand draw me a picture of our great, big, gorgeous, 40-sound ENGLISH language as she tries to stuff herself into the tiny, ancient, inadequate 26 symbol ABC Latin alphabet.

Special Delivery final

It doesn’t fit. It never fit. ABC’s are too small, uncomfortable and don’t foster learning.

Good news! The outfit designed for speaking ENGLISH is the English Phonetic Alphabet (EPA) and the delivery man is here!

Don’t let your students out of your classroom clad in that ridiculous too-small garment. It takes less time to teach EPA than to get your oil changed or do a load of laundry. Your students will thank you forever for outfitting them properly.

Here is a 54 minute SlideShare PowerPointwith details about how to Teach EPA.

If you have any questions or would like more information feel free to contact me judy@thompsonlanguagecenter.com

Until next time,

Teacher Judy