Problems in both Hindi and Punjabi are similar and for the purpose of errors in pronunciation will be treated as one Indian language problem..
- Final consonants especially the sound “r” are often omitted. Indian-languages speakers should work on pronouncing all final consonants.
- When the “r” sound is followed by another consonant there is a tendency to give too hard an “r” or a rolled “r”. This will take a lot of practise and it would be a good idea to record your voice and compare it to the North American pronunciation of “r”. (See Members lesson 4 – #15)
- Syllable stress within each word is very different in Indian English from North American English.
- Indian language speakers use the rising and falling of the voice differently. The rise and fall occurs much more often than in North American English. (See Members’ lesson 6)
- Statements and “wh” questions often end with rising intonation when spoken by an Indian language-first speaker. This causes confusion as both statements and “wh” questions end in falling intonation for English-first speakers. (This is explained more fully in Members’ lesson 6)
Specific Sound Problems
- The “v” sound is often a problem. The “w” sound is often used in replace of the “v” sound and sometimes the “v” sound is dropped completely, especially at the end of the word. This is a very common problem for Indian language speakers. The “w” sound is made with extended lips but the “v” sound is made with upper front teeth touching the lower lip.
- For the Indian languages speakers the “f” sound sounds like a “p” and the “v” sound sounds like a “b” to the English-first ear. (See Members’ lesson 4 – #7, #1, #8, #2)
- As in most languages the two “th” sounds are not pronounced properly. In the Indian languages the “th” is often pronounced like a “d” sound or a “t” sound. A tip for pronouncing this sound properly is to watch your mouth in the mirror. The tip of the tongue should be visible just as you are about to pronounce the “th” sound. If the tip of the tongue can’t be seen, it is being pronounced incorrectly.
- See the section on voiced and unvoiced sounds. Take me to voiced and unvoiced sounds. Three voiced sounds and the corresponding unvoiced sounds present problems to the Indian languages speakers. The unvoiced sound of “p” is often pronounced as the voiced sound of “b”. (Members’ lesson 4 – #1, #2). The unvoiced sound of “t” is often pronounced as the voiced sound of “d”. (Members’ lesson 4 – #3, #4). The unvoiced sound of “k” is often pronounced as the voiced sound of “g”. (Members’ lesson 4 – #5, #6). It is necessary to work on the difference producing voiced sounds and unvoiced sounds.
- Adding an extra syllable in consonant clusters (two or more consonants in a row) is a common problem for Indian language speakers. Creating a list of words containing consonant clusters recording your pronunciation of each and checking to see if an extra syllable is added is a great way to work on the problem.
- Many Indian languages speakers often mispronounce the long “a” sound and the resultant sound is like a short “e” sound. The result is “mate” is pronounced as “met”.
- A short “a” sound is pronounced like a short “e” sound. The result is “mat” is pronounced as “met”.