NCC Lives 6: Tomoyuki’s English Skills

              In this report, I want to talk about how my English skill has improved while spending time in America.

              First, it is very embarrassing to tell this fact, but I could not pronounce “volleyball” and “wallet.” In winter-term, I am taking a volleyball course. My friends asked me what classes I am taking for this term. As I tried to answer, my friends always asked me again because they could not understand what I was telling them. Besides, I did not know how to pronounce the “L” sound. There is one story: last year, I lost my wallet at Starbucks in downtown Naperville. When I realized it, I asked a retailer if they kept my wallet or not. They said to me “Pardon?” I was so disappointed with myself because I recognized I could not even pronounce an easy level word.

              So, I tried to improve my pronunciation skills in NCC. First, I asked my friends how to pronounce “V” and “L.” They coached me a lot until my echo has improved. Besides, my ESL professor advised me to download an application of pronunciation. Due to these two big supports, my speaking skills has improved very much. Still, I need to be careful when speaking words including “V” and “L.” Nonetheless, people understand what I am saying as I care about these difficult sounds. Before coming here, I thought there was no difference between similar enunciation. But now, I truly realize the importance in saying words and alphabets properly.

              Additionally, when people pronounce “L,” their tongues should be touched with upper teeth. However, they do not touch their teeth with their tongues, though the tongues should be lifted, when they make sound of “R.” Usually, people close their mouth once when they say “B”, so I did not know that people should touch their lower lip and upper teeth when saying “V”. When I tried at first, I could not realize how different they were, so it is still difficult for me to understand. However, I really recognized that the most important thing is for me to keep practicing the sound.

              Finally, I want to be an English teacher in middle school in the future. The most fundamental goal for a teacher is the need to teach correct pronunciations. If I had not been here, I would not have noticed that I had terrible pronunciation skills. I am afraid of teaching bad pronunciation to our kids. I have only one month more here, so I will try my best to improve my English skills even more.

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