Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mayday! Mayday! My pronunciation is sinking!

How important is pronunciation in speaking a language? Ask the coast guard in the video below:

Have you ever felt frustrated of not being able to communicate your thoughts simply because you couldn't pronounce words correctly?

Do you agree that a person is judged by the words they choose and how they use them? In other words, do you believe a person is how they speak?

To work on pronunciation means to work on THREE main areas:

  1. Individual sounds e.g. is it "think" or "sink", "chin" or "shin"?
  2. Word stress e.g. de-VE-lop-ment or -de-ve-LOP-ment?
  3. Intonation e.g. how do native speakers produce an affirmative sentence?

When do you know that you have mispronounced a word? Choose as many answers as you like:

  • when someone else says it differently?
  • when a person says they don't understand?
  • when a person gives an illogical response?
  • when you read the phonetic transcription in a dictionary?

Reaching a near-native accent can be a Mission Impossible for many people; so what should most people be aiming for? Here's a clue: it has to be with the word "intelligent".

One more thing: 
Good pronunciation and communication depend as much on the speaker as on the listener. If we WANT to understand, we can do it perfectly.

Have you ever suffered an embarrassing situation because ...

  1. you mispronounced a word?
  2. the person you address did not make an honest effort to understand you?  

How important is pronunciation to you?     

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