different accents

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different accents

Post by lucybp » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:32 pm


Sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere! I have been dipping in and out of the forums for a while, but tend to get bogged down in it all!

I am using an sp programme with an adult learner from Dublin. I know that accents shouldn't make any difference, but we have found some letter/sound matches a bit tricky. I am about to look at th - which is /t/ for my learner.

Any suggestions about how to approach this?



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Post by JAC » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:20 pm

It makes a change from all those who say /f/ for /th/!

What matters is the student can discriminate when he hears a /th/ and a /t/. The importance is in the correspondence, ie there is consistency in the sound he ascribes to a particular letter or letter combination. This is just another variation in letter/sound correspondence and there are many such variations in speakers of English.
With spelling there will be more difficulty,as he will need to work out which words start with /t/ but are spelt /th/and those spelt with /t/. So it is worth persevering with pronunciation IMO. Make sure your student looks at your mouth when you pronounce /th/, and the tongue is between the teeth. Say and practise the sound in isolation and then in words. It's not so difficult because the tongue position is easily observed.

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Post by lucybp » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:40 pm

Hi - thanks for suggestions Jac!
In this case, I dont' think it is appropriate to work on pronunciation - saying /t/ for th is part of the Irish accent....

I think that he can probably discriminate and can read it okay, but spelling is more of an issue....

I'm getting bogged down with it at the moment, and don't want him to feel that way, so am going to concentrate on some other sounds and come back to it. What do you think?


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Susan Godsland
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Post by Susan Godsland » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:55 pm

I'd introduce th as a spelling alternative when you do /t/.
Write some sentences using high frequency words with th spellings and the other /t/ spellings for him to read. Make some word cards for sorting into spellings- t / tt/ th /bt / ed / te/ and do a dictation of /t/ HFWs

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Post by chew8 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:47 am

I would say, Lucy, that as you are teaching an adult, it would be worth mentioning, as a general point, that different accents mean that the sounds people associate with various graphemes may vary a bit. In normal speech, you say /th/ at the beginning of 'thimble' but he says /t/ - the written form of the word always has a 'th', however. As you've realised, the problem will be much greater for him in spelling than in reading.

You may find that you yourself feel less 'bogged down' if you realise that phonics is not always an absolutely exact science. You can take quite a few liberties and still teach very effectively.

Jenny C.

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