Michael Short Ling Paper

Michael Short Ling Paper - Michael Short 03-07-10 Term...

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Michael Short 03-07-10 Term Paper Linguistics 1 Ward English is the only language I know. I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and grew up strictly around spoken English. As a child I was exposed to the English language everyday through my parents and family. I acquired fluency in English without any formal teaching or instruction at a young age. In high school I technically took two years of German, however my situation is unique. As a sophomore I took German One at my high school. The teacher was not fluent in German and taught strictly from the book. No emphasis was put on pronunciation as the teacher herself struggled with it. English was spoken 95% of the time and there were no oral tests, thus the class strictly focused on grammar. At the end of the year I signed up to take German Two as a junior. That summer I received a phone call from my counselor informing me that the German program had been cut from the high school due to lack of competence on the part of the teacher; meaning that as a junior I had taken one year of German taught by an incompetent instructor. Deciding to stick with German I enrolled in an online class for my second year of language. This was an awful decision. The online course focused only on memorization of grammar rules and vocabulary. There was little to no oral components in the entire course. My entire second year of German consisted of studying for three days before the exam, just to pass and get credit for the course. As of now I recall a minute amount of German from the little teaching I had and my knowledge in pronunciation is poor to say the least.
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One of the more difficult tasks of learning German was correctly pronouncing words. My teacher was no help in this area, as she knew little to nothing of German as a spoken language. At the time I was ignorant of the differences in phonetics between the two languages, but now, after studying linguistics it is apparent why I was having so much trouble with my pronunciation. There is a fundamental difference in the German and English language that makes German more difficult for native English speakers. German contains various front rounded vowels while English contains no such vowels. For example, German contains a high front rounded vowel, [y]. A few German words that include this high front rounded vowel are, “kühl, Frühling, Küche, and grün”. The German language also contains a mid front rounded vowel, [œ]. Words that contain this vowel include, “zwölf, wöchenlitch, Löwe, and Hölle”. These different vowels made it extremely difficult to master German pronunciation because the English language has no such vowels and therefore I have never experienced these vowels and this type of
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This note was uploaded on 11/10/2011 for the course LING 1 taught by Professor Schuh during the Fall '08 term at UCLA.

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Michael Short Ling Paper - Michael Short 03-07-10 Term...

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