Friday, February 10, 2012

"R" Review with Rory and Aurora

Hi there! It's been a while since I've posted on here. Now that I have some more free time, I'd like to start posting more regularly. In particular, I'm eager to write more about my experience earning my Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CertTESOL)—wow, that's a mouthful!—in Cádiz, Spain in summer 2011. For now, I'll share this little tidbit.

I've always felt that my English "r" (International Phonetic Alphabet: [ɹ]) has sounded a little off, and I've been rather self-conscious of pronouncing words such as "girlfriend," "weird," and especially "rule." One of my favorite classes I took at the University of Florida was Spanish Phonetics. We practiced lots of tongue-twisters to improve our accent, and I found them tremendously helpful. So, I've invented my own tongue-twister to help me correct my [ɹ] problem:

"Rory Roland's really weird girlfriend Aurora Rudin regularly re-routes rural jurors to Rutgers' rear recreation room where rules and regulations regarding rural breweries are rarely re-written."

Or, in IPA, /ˈrɔː.ri.ˈrəʊ.lɪnz.ˈrɪ.li.ˈwɪərd.ˈgɜːrl.frend.ˌə.ˈrɔː.rə.ˈruː.dɪn.ˈre.gjə.ləˈraʊts.ˈrɜːrl.ˈdʒɜːr.ərz.təʊ.ˈrʌt.gərz.ˌrɪəˈeɪ.ʃən.ˈruːm.weər.ˈruːlz.ən.ˌre.gjə.ˈleɪ.ʃənz.ˌrə.ˈgaːr.dɪŋ.ˈrɜːrl.ˈbruː.əɹ.ˌriz.aːr.ˈreəˈrɪ.tən/

When I'm alone (for example, in the car), I recite this sentence several times, until my mouth is actually a little sore. I usually end up laughing to myself. It's been helping a lot, and I'm feeling more confident with my "R"s!
Alright, maybe I'm showing off a little here with the IPA. But, hey, it's good practice using the IPA keyboard layout I've been using for Mac OS X to type with SIL International's Doulos SIL font. Both are highly recommended!