Monday, March 04, 2013

EPITAPH FOR A LANGUAGE TEACHER

Many an ESOL teacher will, I'm sure, groan with me when I mention the pronunciation of the -ed past simple or past participle ending. Students here insist on pronouncing the e, so that the -ed is pronounced as a separate syllable, for no one has ever told them that it is only thus pronounced after a t or a d [as in wanted or decided].  Of all past simple or participle forms, the word finished seems to cause the most pronunciation difficulties, with student after student pronouncing it as three separate syllables:  fin-ish-ed.
I have therefore made it my mission in life to teach my modicani students the correct pronunciation of this word and I have taken to yelling, "Music to my ears!" or playing the chimes of Big Ben when they get it right. Nevertheless, my mission seems doomed to failure and, to paraphrase Queen Mary Tudor,

"When I am dead and opened" [I mean op-en-ed] "you shall find finish[e]d lying in my heart."


8 comments:

Lee said...

I've noticed quite a few Americans say "sin-GER"...I'm not sure if it's a new phase or what. I don't recall hearing the word pronounced with the heavy emphasis on the "ger" until the last couple of years or so.

Hawkins Family said...

I've noticed this...and often I hear people pronouncing the silent "e" at the end of some words.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Lee. I hadn't noticed that but will look out for it! Hi, Hawkins Family. Yes, they do that often, too.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Your post made me smile! I'm sure this is a hard concept for language students to grasp.

English must be a very difficult language to learn, especially to people who speak a very flowing romance language like Italian.

Winchester whisperer said...

When you're deaded

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Pat. You're right - it is. Haha, WW!

James Higham said...

so that the -ed is pronounced as a separate syllable

There is historical precedent for this, especially in literature.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, there is, James. The trouble is that the students don't know the difference!

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