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For those learning English as a foreign language, how do you practice pronunciation?
Are there any particular exercises or tricks that you find helpful when practicing pronunciation and would you like to share them?
Teachers, I'm curious about your oppinion also. How do you teach pronunciation? How important do you think it is in ESL teaching?
Hi Jenny, may I add my two cents' worth? :)
For learning pronunciation, there is no substitute. I ran into this with Czech and Slovak: I realised I couldn't substitute the ň, ľ, or Czech ř with a regular n/l/rolled r. I had to learn the new sounds, or constantly mispronounce. Same with k, p and t at the ends of words in Indonesian... the English way can't work.
For practice, I pull out the vowels and read the text that way. Or, remove all consonants so I'm left with vowel sounds. Then I read the text as a hum for intonation and rhythm. Slow it down, speed it up, play with it. If there are words which are often confused (eg. work/walk) then a rhyming sentence helps.
By the upper levels, it should be important. I couldn't listen to a speaker who confuses their pronunciation (native or not) and think that the person is a good speaker.
Any other thoughts?
Thanks Peachey, interesting method! I'd definitively recommend it to some of my students.
As for me, I'd usually advise students to read out loud; first slowly, word by word, then faster and faster until they get used to the intonation.
I'm really curious what other people have to say.
Now, I'm repeating aloud sentences, that is, "repetitions" as the site where they are calls them. Later, when I catch up on vocabulary, I want to go through self-study books, English Pronunciation in Use, Ship or Sheep? (Ann Baker), English Phonetics and Phonology (Peter Roach). I know I'm trying to bite off more than I can chew, but I know that I will definitely go through English Pronounciation in Use series. I think it's the most accesible book from those I listed. In general, when I look up a new word in a dictionary, I repeat it pronunciation trying to follow the phonetic transcription. In my experience, most of the problems with pronounciation results from not knowing the English sounds. When somebody doesn't know them, he can't hear them. Honestly. If you don't believe, ask a few English learners to repeat a word (but not easy one) and I can bet everyone will repeat it differently.
A technique I have heard of is to find an idol and imitate his manner of speech. Unfortunately, I haven't found mine :(
As a foreign learner. My English teacher never teaches me how to prounce words in English. he just ignore it and the reason he is always saying is '' am not a native speaker!'' he does say the words and we learners repeat. we don't know even if it is the correct pronounciation! In my point of view EFL students face difficulities in pronounciation.
Second Q: yes, learning pronounciation is really important! teachers must not ignore it!
Thanks guys, interesting thoughts! It's pretty much what I expected.
My Spanish teacher would also tolerate pronunciation mistakes and many of us simply learned not to pay much attention to correct pronunciation. I tried to practice it independently by reading out loud and listening to someone speaking Spanish, but it turned out to be quite difficult as there are so many varieties and dialects.
As you may have seen in my profile description, I'm working in a company currently developing pronunciation learning program Saundz. It'll be teaching American English sound by sound, which is exactly what I think is essential in pronunciation learning. I'd be happy if you visited our website saundz.com and tell me your thoughts. The app is coming soon but I'm trying to get some feedback about this whole idea which I think is great.
Another question - does being insecure about pronunciation affect your confidence negatively? And to what extent?
Sorry, I didn't want to spam with all these comments, something went wrong...