2012-05-30   "Chain" or "Train"?

One of my favorite movies is "Spirit", about the stallion which has many adventures
at a time when the railway line was being built across the United States.
Sometimes I use a few minutes from "Spirit" in an English class.
One part of the movie has a chain and a train in the same scene.
I always find that most young primary students are unable to say "chain".
They invariably say "train".  They have difficulty pronouncing "ch".
I suspect that nearly half of primary one students in Hong Kong pronounce "chain" as "train".
I usually help students get it right by using China, cheese,  chocolate, cherry...and especially the surname Chan.
I point out that Mr Chan is not Mr Tran.

The same goes for "moon".  Most primary students in Hong Kong say "mun" as in  .
I help them get it right by using spoon, noon, soon....and pointing out that Mrs Poon is not Mrs Pun!

Maybe it would be good if all children had the chance during the primary one year
for a individual pronunciation check-up. This could be a new program run by the Education Department.
The problem is, if children are not helped to get the right pronunciation when they are young, they will go all through school and afterwards using incorrect pronunciation.

A (train?) correction: last week I said that the new lift at Jordan MTR Station could not hold 12 people.
Well, a few days ago I saw 12 people emerge from the lift. Mind you, all were very slim, they were packed in like sardines
...and none had any baggage!