So, there goes the same old story: students had no problem to pronounce certain sounds, but when those sounds are placed in words, they start to pronounce in their old ways. Old habits die hard. But you will kick those old habits if you practice 10 minutes every day. Please see the following comment on students’ poem readings:
Poem reading of “There Is No Frigate Like a Book”
He sounded like having an iron mouth, but it’s getting softer as he progressed his reading. Somehow students would pronounce hard to pronounce well, but they end up pronouncing hard in their Chinese Ways. We can make progress through repeated imitation. Our goal is to pronounce well and comfortably.
She read the poem well. Although a bit nervous, she could definitely do a better job if she has the chance to read for others many times. Nervousness can be overcome by numbness.
Ai Wei did a good job. I don’t know whether this was because she practiced a lot or she was basically good. Anyway, every word was clear and her voice was soothing. Of course, it’s time for her to add music freely to her reading. (or her English speaking)
Poem reading of “The Eagle”
Like Shou Tien, Chen Bun has iron mouth. The way we speak Mandarin is developed through many years. It can't be changed overnight to sound like English, but it can be changed with time. However, his pronunciation was clear. Foreigners should have no problem understanding him.
Duan Hung's has sonorous voice. The poem was effortless rendered and his voice traveled far. He's done a great work, and he has a great talent.
Yi Tien's poem reading was unlike any other. It's good and it's bad. If we took his reading as seeing a picture, the picture showed us an Eagle flying, prancing, attacking… -- his Eagle was much livelier than others'. But if we used a magnifying glass to see the details of the picture, we would find that he blurred many sounds – especially consonants. After all, English is not our language; westerners do not need to consciously learn how to pronounce, but we do. We need to learn so many tiny pieces of knowledge here, and though practice – only through practice – can we make those pieces our own.