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July 03, 2014

How do You Pronounce That Word?

Learning a new language vocabulary and grammar is difficult enough, but most new English language learners are exposed, not by their misuse of words or how to put them together in a sentence but by...

...their pronunciation.

So how is this for a radical idea? Should pronunciation be learned first?

As children we absorb sound from a variety of different speakers; parents, neighbors, other children, siblings and many more. We hear how each one, in his or her own way, pronounces any particular letter or sound.

What if we could somehow learn, or teach, any given sound with a range of speakers and somehow give immediate feedback?

Here's an article that explores that idea a bit further - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-teach-old-ears-new-tricks/.

As a teacher, I try to expose my students to as many different voices (and accents and pronunciations) as possible.

Many letters, in probably every language, are very difficult to learn. It helps us all to see how others pronounce them.

As children we just take it in, but as adults we need to be deliberate and relatively systematic.

I sometimes wonder if every language has as many trouble spots as English. Perhaps so. But I have learned to appreciate the peculiar linguistic histories of a multitude of words and phrases.

I hope you will if you haven't already.

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

Posted by mmorf at July 3, 2014 10:52 PM

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