An estimated one billion people in the world learn English. In addition to learning vocabulary, it is important to ensure that the words are pronounced correctly. Unfortunately, too little time is devoted to correct pronunciation while learning and more emphasis is placed on grammar, lexicology or vocabulary.
That is why a good pronunciation is important
The pronunciation is of crucial importance for communication for several reasons!
Incorrect pronunciation can change the meaning
Incorrectly emphasizing syllables in words can sometimes drastically change the meaning and context of the words. This is especially true for typical British words.
A good example of this is the word “present”. When you say “I am present” with an emphasis on the first syllable of the word, you are referring to a presence in a particular place or time. If, on the other hand, you say “I want to present …”, you are referring to a statement or an article that you would like to introduce.
In everyday life, misunderstandings due to poor pronunciation can have negative consequences for you. Imagine trying to tell someone you want to buy something or go somewhere and they bring you the wrong item or ship you to the wrong place.
Bad pronunciation gives a negative impression
When you talk to others in English, they will quickly notice whether your pronunciation is good or bad. Bad pronunciation creates a bad first impression. You can have a large vocabulary, but if you pronounce the words poorly, it will not go down well.
People then ask you to repeat what you have said more often or avoid communicating with you entirely because it is too much effort for them. Bad pronunciation can even make you feel rude, even if you are not at all.
Greater self-confidence through good pronunciation
Bad pronunciation can also damage your confidence, making communication even more difficult for you. Good pronunciation, on the other hand, makes you more confident.
You can take part in conversations and get to know your fellow human beings and the environment much better. This way, with a good pronunciation, you can even find friends faster when you are abroad.
Speaking will no longer be a challenge, but an opportunity to improve your English through conversations while making meaningful contacts.
A foreign language can only be mastered by someone who can speak and write it
Also, consider this: if you have a good grasp of grammar and a large vocabulary, you may be able to write well in English. Without a basic understanding of pronunciation, however, you will not be able to converse in English.
That is what makes correct pronunciation so difficult
The fact that many English students often have problems with the correct pronunciation of various words is due, among other things, to the fact that there are many difficult sounds in English, for which there is often no counterpart in the German language – for example “th” or “ch” (tsch) .
Here it can help to listen to native speakers speak – for example in podcasts. Accent training doesn’t hurt either. However, an accent cannot always be avoided.
An accent is usually not a problem
When someone learns a language later in life, they usually speak with an accent. Over time, language learners begin to ignore the sounds that don’t exist in their native language, making them harder to produce.
Speaking with an accent is not in itself problematic. In fact, as I said, it is a natural, physiological response when learning a new language. The only problem with the accent is when the pronunciation of certain words prevents understanding.
Tips for teachers
There are a variety of strategies teachers can use to help students improve their pronunciation:
- As you introduce a new word, have the group repeat the word several times.
- When discussing the pronunciation of a particular word with students, it is also helpful to point out certain writing patterns as well as prefixes, suffixes, and word roots that are embedded in the study word. This helps students understand new words.
- It can also be helpful to point out the lip and tongue position to students when pronouncing certain sounds and words in English. Many are hardly aware of this aspect of pronunciation, especially if they have not studied linguistics.
- Paying attention to the movements of the mouth when pronouncing a word can also help improve pronunciation. For example, students can try to imitate the teacher’s mouth movements.
Believe it or not, improving your pronunciation can make learning English easier. This is because pronunciation forces you to listen carefully to the speakers and focus on how they pronounce individual words correctly. By listening to how natural sentences sound like, you are more likely to form them yourself.
Also, the more you listen to these sentences, the easier it will be for you to understand and get used to them.