“Drill the pronunciation of a word “approximately”

  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    It sounds like an odd use of "drill" to mean "practice", Constantine. I certainly wouldn't use the sentence you're asking about in an instruction to somebody to practice pronouncing the word "approximately".
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Where did you hear or read the sentence? Please tell us about the source of this strange language. That helps other members as they try to give you sensible opinions and advice about language that troubles you.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, Constantine, you need to give the context in every thread — owlman didn’t see your other one, where you explain:

    Well, this is taken from a language course, it is one of “Teacher’s notes”…​
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Thank you. It's an odd sentence, and it seems particularly inappropriate to me as an instruction you found in a course that is meant to help people learn English. If this is typical of the expressions that puzzle you, you have a good reason to be puzzled.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don’t understand what the OP sentence means either. Perhaps they mean “the word approximately”, or “a word such as approximately”, but neither seems very likely. Or perhaps approximately is meant another way?

    But drill means practise (AE: practice), as in a military drill where you repeat the same process over and over again in order to end up knowing it instinctively.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    But drill means practise (AE: practice), as in a military drill where you repeat the same process over and over again in order to end up knowing it instinctively.
    We use it over here as well, lingobingo, but the objects of the verb are typically limited to things like "this routine" or "this procedure". More often than not, I hear "drill" used as a noun rather than as a verb.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I meant to mention the idiom “drill something into someone”, meaning to instil in them some particular point.

    DRILL - verb (Oxford)
    2.3 (drill something into) Cause (someone) to learn something by repeating it regularly.
    ‘his mother had drilled into him the need to pay for one's sins’
    ‘These things had been drilled into him ever since he was three.’
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    “Drill the pronunciation of the word “approximately”.
    To me that sentence is good. "Drill" means "practice over and over", and that is how it is used. That is exactly what the teacher is trying to say in this sentence. This is a normal use of "drill".

    This emphasizes that "learning to" (speak a language, play tennis, play violin, drive on highways) does not mean just gaining knowledge. It also means self-training. And every self-training involves some amount of "drilling" in order to "train" your muscles and nerves to do things automatically (unconsciously).

    Speaking the sounds of a new language correctly involves repeated practice: "training" your mouth to act in new ways. I've read that in several places. I've taken language courses at Harvard University that included pronunciation drills.

    But drill means practise (AE: practice), as in a military drill where you repeat the same process over and over again in order to end up knowing it instinctively.
    This is exactly right. Until you can pronounce each word instinctively (without thinking) you cannot use English in long sentences, unrehearsed, to express your ideas.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    When I was a teacher we had what were known as 'pronunciation drills', the idea being that if you repeated a word over and over it would stick in your brain. Probably not a technique that is used any more (and one I used to avoid, personally). That said, the sentence in the OP really does sound very odd. Constantine, do you think that they are in actual fact instructing the teacher to drill pronunciation of the word 'approximately'?
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Hermione is right: the verb "drill" is perfectly normal as something that language teachers do.
    What puzzles me is the three quotation marks and "a" where "the" might make more sense
    (if "approximately" is the word being drilled).
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Whilst I totally agree with all of that — well said Hermione! — surely the problem word in the OP sentence is not “drill” at all but “approximately”.

    What’s it doing there, after “a word”? It doesn’t seem to make sense. Is the punctuation wrong? Where does it come in these teachers’ notes?
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Whilst I totally agree with all of that — well said Hermione! — surely the problem word in the OP sentence is not “drill” at all but “approximately”.

    What’s it doing there, after “a word”? It doesn’t seem to make sense. Is the punctuation wrong? Where does it come in these teachers’ notes?
    I quote myself:

    When I was a teacher we had what were known as 'pronunciation drills', the idea being that if you repeated a word over and over it would stick in your brain. Probably not a technique that is used any more (and one I used to avoid, personally). That said, the sentence in the OP really does sound very odd. Constantine, do you think that they are in actual fact instructing the teacher to drill pronunciation of the word 'approximately'?
    The OP hasn't bothered to answer my question (probably didn't bother to read my post, come to that).:) However, I would think that 'Drill pronunciation of the word 'XXXX' is what is meant.
     

    Al.ba

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Would it make sense to interpret it as “Drill the pronunciation of a word “even if roughly”?
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Would it make sense to interpret it as “Drill the pronunciation of a word “even if roughly”?
    I personally don't think so, but let's wait for Constantine to clarify the question.
    Meanwhile, for the record: A quote within a quote, at least in American English, is marked with single quotation marks.
    So I might say of someone "He asked how to pronounce 'approximately'."
    Such an active thread! Virtually chatting!
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    However, I would think that 'Drill pronunciation of the word 'XXXX' is what is meant.
    When I was in elementary school, each week, we would have a lesson in which we practiced the spelling, pronunciation and meaning of 20 to 30 words (perhaps all words ending in "ough") each day of the week. There would be a test at the end of the week. We never had a lesson in which we only practiced one word. ;)
     

    Al.ba

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Why on earth would anyone tell a teacher to drill the approximate/rough pronunciation of a word?
    No idea, honestly o_O But it's the only way in which that "a" would make sense to me. “Drill the pronunciation of the word “approximately” would only refer to that word in particular, but I find an exercise based on only one word pretty nonsense.

    <By the way> I thinkConstantine is not puzzled about "approximately", but rather "drill". In a previous thread he asked about "try to elicit...", so maybe he is not familiar with specific teaching vocabulary.


    < Edited to write out abbreviation in full. Cagey, moderator >
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    When I was in elementary school, each week, we would have a lesson in which we practiced the spelling, pronunciation and meaning of 20 to 30 words (perhaps all words ending in "ough") each day of the week. There would be a test at the end of the week. We never had a lesson in which we only practiced one word. ;)
    I believe that the OP is talking about EFL teaching. I'm a trained TEFL teacher and have only ever taught English to foreigners, never to native speakers. When I was still teaching the so-called 'Callan Method' was in vogue (I refused a job offer because it was a Callan Method school). Pronunciation drills were one of the less bizarre features of the method and were used to...... drill pronunciation into students' heads.
     
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    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Question from a EFL student: how do you do that?
    As I said above, students are told to say the word multiple times in succession - that in theory ensures they will never mispronounce the word again. From experience, what it actually does if over-used is make the students so paranoid about pronunciation they become almost incapable of stringing a decent sentence together.
     

    Al.ba

    Senior Member
    Italian
    As I said above, students are told to say the word multiple times in succession - that in theory ensures they will never mispronounce the word again. From experience, what it actually does if over-used is make the students so paranoid about pronunciation they become almost incapable of stringing a decent sentence together.
    What a nightmare! Luckily, I've never experienced that:)
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Pronunciation drills were one of the less bizarre features of the method and were used to...... drill pronunciation into student's heads.
    No one has problems with the idea or existence of pronunciation drills in general. We have doubts about the probability that the sentence means only drilling the single word "approximately."
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    We have doubts about the probability that the sentence means only drilling the single word "approximately."
    I really don't think it would make any sense to drill rough/approximate pronunciation of a word. If that's what it means then any students who wish to learn English properly should avoid this school like the plague, because although approximate/rough pronunciation will be accepted by native speakers as long as it's understandable no decent school should ever actively teach it.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    “Drill the pronunciation of a word “approximately”.
    This is a terrible way to express the instruction if the author intended it to mean "Have the students practice/drill the pronunciation of the word "approximately". If this sentence is typical of the author's idea of what good English is, I'm glad that author wasn't around to puzzle me with gibberish as I was learning how to speak my native language.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The grammatical question about the use of 'drill' has been covered.

    Discussion of the usefulness of this methodology, though interesting, is outside the scope of this forum.

    Further discussion should wait until Constantine from Moscow tells us how 'approximately' functions in the sentence. Among other things, was "approximately" marked by quotation marks in the original, or were they added when the question was posted?
     
    Sorry for being late!

    Thank you so much, guys!

    I just had to go out yesterday and only came back today.

    Gradually, I will respond to all of your messages, just give me one more break, please.

    Again, you are awesome!

    I wish I had joined this forum long before.

    If you see any kind of mistakes in my posts, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

    Thank you!
     
    Constantine, do you think that they are in actual fact instructing the teacher to drill pronunciation of the word 'approximately'?
    Yes, I think that’s the idea.

    There are a few new words they want students to learn in the lesson, one of them being ‘approximately’ which is considered difficult, so it is supposed to be repeated over and over again before the pronunciation is right.

    And yes, they have ‘a word approximately’ which is definitely wrong.
     
    Personally, I don’t like that kind of teachers’ slang, especially in textbooks because a lot of times people end up not knowing how to say it ‘normally’.

    But here my concern is whether or not I should contact those in charge in order to correct the sentences.

    If they are grammatically incorrect, I would.

    If they are awkward but acceptable, I simply wouldn’t use them myself.

    So far, we’ve found at least one mistake - ‘a word ..’
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    “Drill the pronunciation of a word “approximately”.
    If they are grammatically incorrect, I would.

    If they are awkward but acceptable, I simply wouldn’t use them myself.
    There isn't enough evidence in this thread to justify writing a letter to the editors, Constantine. The sentence in question is lousy, in my opinion, but that's no reason for you to raise a stink.
     
    No idea, honestly o_O But it's the only way in which that "a" would make sense to me. “Drill the pronunciation of the word “approximately” would only refer to that word in particular, but I find an exercise based on only one word pretty nonsense.

    <By the way> I thinkConstantine is not puzzled about "approximately", but rather "drill". In a previous thread he asked about "try to elicit...", so maybe he is not familiar with specific teaching vocabulary.


    < Edited to write out abbreviation in full. Cagey, moderator >

    To me, those sentences do not sound very English, that’s the reason for asking for help here.

    I’ve encountered “to pronounce drill” and “pronunciation drills” but not “to drill pronunciation”.
     
    I thank everyone who’s contributed to this thread!

    I’ll probably never forget this.

    I don’t know how I’m going to avoid bursting with laughter while teaching though, if that ever happens.

    “Drill an approximate pronunciation of the word illicit”.

    All right then ..
     
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