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March 29, 2012

Do You Sound Like A Native Speaker?

It's one thing to get vocabulary and grammar right, but it is whole other...

...experience to sound like a native speaker.

There are several accents, uses and mispronunciations that give away the foreign speaker.

I have a list of the 50 most common mispronunciations to work on - and avoid. Check out the whole list here - http://www.dailywritingtips.com/50-incorrect-pronunciations-that-you-should-avoid/.

The ones that stand out the most to me are uses like "axe" for "ask", and "libary" for "library". With both of these, if your pronunciation is correct, your spelling would be good as well, but if you mispronounce the word, your spelling will be a mess.

Another common mispronunciation is based on a misunderstanding of what the word actually refers to. One example is the term "duct tape". This is tape developed to seal seams of duct work - as in heating and air-conditioning.

I usually hear this pronounced as "duck tape". It is not used to repair ducks!

But there is one company who has taken advantage of the confusion and has taken as their company name the term "Duck Tape".

But there are also mispronunciations unique to native speakers. Here is one; the word "interesting" is, at least according to the dictionary, a word of three syllables. Many native speakers pronounce it as if it had two syllables; "intresting".

The best way to sound like a native speaker is to listen to one. Listen as often as you can, and listen closely.

As always, send us any words or phrases that make you crazy and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


Also, Morf just might be available to visit your school or agency this coming summer. You can contact him at mmorf@mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at March 29, 2012 10:09 PM


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