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The importance of proper pronunciation

The importance of proper pronunciation

pronunciation

Pronunciation can be difficult when learning a new language, especially for adults.  The learner will need to master sounds that are unknown in their native tongue. Some words will have a different pronunciation than in the learner’s language.

How important is pronunciation?

Mastering pronunciation is an essential step in learning a new language.  Pronunciation should also be the first step in language learning.

What can you do to improve

Learn pronunciation first before vocabulary and grammar. The learner will need to know the pronunciation of each letter and the combination of letters.  It is not essential to master pronunciation, but understand how to pronounce sounds.  For example, if you speak Spanish as a first language and are learning English, then there will be a tendency to de-voice consonant and consonant clusters at the end of words. Learning correct pronunciation from the beginning will ensure that bad habits of pronunciation do not form.  It can be challenging to correct pronunciation after years of reinforcing incorrect pronunciation.

Focus on pronunciation, not on accent

Try to enunciate words rather than trying to sound like a native. The clear articulation will be understood, whereas trying to sound like a local may result in taking on their bad habits of not pronouncing words correctly. This clear speaking means pronouncing each syllable. An accent is generally not a problem for English speakers to understand, as long as pronunciation is correct. An excellent way to practice English is by watching English movies or listing to audio-books.

It is important to practice speaking often.  Speaking with native speakers is the fastest way to learn, as they can correct your pronunciation.

The importance of reading aloud

There is a big difference in not speaking correctly because some sounds are difficult to pronounce and not saying words correctly because you think it is the only way they are pronounced.  Once you know how each letter is pronounced, then knowing the spelling should help with pronunciation.  A great way of practicing pronunciation is practising reading aloud English texts.  Another way of practising is listening to audio material, pause after each sentence, and repeat what has been said.  Watching Netflix or YouTube for English movies and songs, listening to, and repeating sentences are also excellent ways of learning English pronunciation.

Learning English pronunciation using Phonetics

Phonemes are the basic sounds that makeup words. This website gives a full list of English phonemes.

Summary

  • Learning to pronounce the alphabet and sounds, should be the first step in learning a language
  • Do not worry too much about perfecting accent.  You do not need to sound like a native.
  • Practice often, preferably with native speakers, and ask them to help with your pronunciation.
  • Reading will help with all areas of language learning.  Learning to spell helps with pronunciation.
  • Netflix is a great way to learn English, especially with subtitles.  Pause after each sentence and repeat the sentence out loud.

Tools for learning pronunciation

Humorous examples of mispronunciation

 

 

Aaron Skudder

5 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing the importance of having correct pronunciation. I am quite confident in my english reading and understanding skills, but my pronunciations sucks :I feel that sometimes other foreigners who even not English natives don’t really understand what i said until I repeat it few more times. Learning to speak with English natives sounds like a good idea. I’ll try to do it with my cousin from US. Thanks

  2. Hello Aaron, English Language is one that you need to be careful when dealing with it as a result of its tactical nature, homophones and even as simple and spelling. I have come to realise that the most difficult oartbof English is the soeaking aspect because you have to be careful the pronunciations . I agree with you when you say we should pay attention to the pronunciation rather than ascent. With that we can get better

  3. I had many enunciation issues back when I started learning the English language. Much of what you state here, I’ve had problems with. Thank goodness I outgrew the learning to be able to have proper pronunciation. 

    t’s easy to get confused when saying something, but then the meaning tends to take the mind elsewhere, and what is being said does not make as much sense.

    I enjoyed reading your post. 

  4. Hello; Pronunciation is a crucial part of learning a new language. I have seen where a university in my country has launched a book written in patois, which I had believed was the easiest language to speak. 

    But Funny enough; I cannot read the book. because I cannot pronounce the words. As you have rightly said the ascent is not the important thing, it is the pronunciation.

    DorcasW

  5. Pronunciation is one vital aspect of speaking because with the wring pronunciation, you will be sending a whole different message to the listeners because there are some words that can be easily mixed with the other because of their pronunciation although they may have different meaning. Reading books would help you understand a lot, but watching some educational videos would go a long way. Nice post Aaron.

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