Common problems in English pronunciation for Chinese people

Chinese people (whether in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, or Mainland China generally) face several difficulties with oral English.

Firstly there is the problem of sounds. Speech can be broken down into individual sounds and people have difficulty saying or listening to sounds that do not exist in their own language. The lips, jaw, tongue, vocal chords and even the brain just do not know how to make the sound! It is rather like swimming when you only know the breast stroke.... you will have difficulty doing the crawl!

For instance the *V* sound as in van does not exist in Hong Kong Cantonese. Hence Hong Kong Chinese people often confuse the use the the *F* sound (which does exist in their language) with the *V* sound and so *van* becomes *fan*.

The problem is confounded because it not only happens when speaking but also listening!

How can you get over this problem? Firstly you need to have a native English tutor listen to your speech and do a pronunciation test. He can then help you rectify these problems by teaching you the common differences and the correct way to make the sound.

Of course practice makes perfect and speaking (and listening) regularly every week with a native English speaker will improve your fluency no end.