I do a conversation class on Monday and Friday evenings. Friday night my students were really into working on their pronunciation, so I was kind of just letting them pick my brain.
I had written the word HEIGHT on the board, and one of them asked me about the first H. I did the typical demonstration of having them put paper in front of their mouths and saying the H sound, to let the paper flutter as the air came out. That was okay, but then I got the bright idea to write
up on the board. None of the students are big internet nerds like me, but they got it. They even thought it was funny when I told them how my native anglophone friends read the ja-ja-ja’ing of Mexican peops on my Facebook.
Another useful thing about Friday’s class was that I discovered how going through Anglicizations of the names of the Latin American countries can help them understand English mouth tendencies. For example, we paired Cuba and Uruguay together because the “yu” tendency. And then Uruguay, Paraguay, and güey.
For some reason everyone thinks it’s funny when I write that last word on the board. Güey. It means “dude” in Spanish and is pronounced like curds and “whey.” It has been pretty useful for me in helping them get W’s and the “ay” letter combination.