Nina was alone today. We bumped into Nina and Anton at a fantastic concert last night, given by a young South Korean violinist, born in Germany. That seemed to good a coincidence not to exploit , so I produced the following simple dialogue.
A: What did you think of the concert last night?
B: I thought it was fantastic. /marvellous
A: I agree. The violinist was extraordinary. I don’t mind admitting that at the end of the third piece there was water in my eyes. Her playing was very, very moving.
B: The pianist was outstanding, too.
First though, I checked with Nina that she wants to work on her pronunciation Yes. So, after a couple of words about how important it is to get vowel sounds correct (conforming to the norm) for the sake of comprehensibility (This in German, course) we worked on:/i:/ /i/ /e/ /ae/ (Pardon my rough phonetic symbols).
Predictably, /i/ causes a problem.
I made sure she understood, first (German. Don't tell anyone I'm using German) and she had the text, and then, to her initial dismay I made her turn the paper over and we went through the dialogue and I concentrated on getting her to repeat after me, paying attention to everything going i.e. intonation and stress as well as sounds. Then, not wanting to bully, I let her have the text and we took turns, reading out the lines of the dialogue. She asked if we could swap roles and do it a final time.
With 10 - 15 minutes to go I switched to "Free conversation" !!!
Having drilled her in a fake conversation, I wanted to see if we could have a real conversation. "With a little help....." It is amazing how far we got.
We talked about the concert. "What did you think about the concert last night, Nina.
What about the pianist.
I asked her if she played an instrument - no, but Anton plays the violin.
Where was the violinist born?
Where was she born?
Where was Anton born?
I knew she had a son. Where was your son born?
Has Anton got a son? Ho. He has two daughters.
Have you any brothers or sister?
z z z z z
I also managed to bring in uncle, aunt and mother-in-law because they are off to visit Anton's first wife's mother.
We worked hard but Nina said again that I make her believe she can learn some English. And she liked the fact I correct her, but sparingly: "Anton corrects everything that I get wrong and that makes me angry.