Amazing film showing how foreign students were taught correct English - seems patronising today.
British Instructional Films Ltd presentation.
Directed by Mary Field. Photographed by Frank Bundy. Recordist D. Howells. The Professor: A. Lloyd James - Secretary to the B.B.C. Committee on Spoken English. [British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC] The Student: Dr M.D. Ratnasuriya B.A. Ph.D.
A man in a flat cap and scarf sells a newspaper. A foreign student asks the paper seller directions to 48 Paddington Street. He does not understand the student's accent, saying: "Eh?" When he is shown the address written on a piece of paper he understands. As the student walks off the paper seller says: "Why didn't you say so?" Sign reads: University of London School of Oriental Studies. Office door with a sign which says: Phonetics. Student knocks and is invited inside. He asks why he is frequently misunderstood when he speaks English. He comes from Ceylon and the Professor notices a difference in the way his jaw moves when he speaks Sinhalese. The Professor taps out the rhythms of the two languages on the blackboard with a piece of chalk. He speaks of the English rhythm as a kind of Morse code. The Professor repeats how the student says: "This is the house that Jack built". with a mock Sinhalese accent. The student is made to repeat the phrase several times whilst the Professor criticises his pronunciation. The Professor says the phrase as a French person or an American person might say it. The Professor says: "Now listen to me carefully and get the rhythm right". The student repeats his address until the Professor feels it is correct. The student thanks the Professor and they shake hands. A man walking in the street stops to light his pipe and the student approaches him. When he speaks in the correct English rhythm he is immediately understood and given directions.
Note: in retrospect the Professor seems very patronising and strident in his teaching methods. His attitude might even be interpreted as racism.