Pronunciation, why bother? /prənʌnsiːˈeɪʃən waɪ ˈ bɒðə/
Pronunciation is often *overlooked as a skill to develop when learning English, by both teachers and students. However, I love teaching pronunciation!
At first I just thought it was an easy lesson to teach on Friday afternoons, when energy was typically low and repeating sounds again and again and reading poems or singing songs was perfect! I soon realised there was much more to it. A good pronunciation class does of course include repetition, but you also need to practise listening to hear the sounds in words or phrases, link spelling to sounds and then a good activity at the end to give plenty of opportunity to practise and for the teacher to give feedback on your pronunciation.
I loved my class until my school decided to make their own pronunciation course, which wasn’t always what the students needed, but I had to follow that syllabus. It was hard to teach with inauthentic activities and I lost my enthusiasm for teaching pronunciation. That was until we were planning which courses to offer at Red Brick and I *jumped at the chance to design pronunciation courses!
I’m excited to share that I’ve created connected speech courses, launching in early October, that will benefit you if you’re looking to develop your ability to speak English with a more natural rhythm, be more easily understood and will also help you understand proficient speakers of English! I’ve tested this course with students who said their fluency improved in a matter of weeks as they were better able to understand fast speech in English. Maybe pronunciation is the missing link in achieving your English goals?
So why should you consider developing your pronunciation in English?
You will understand more of what’s being said in conversation
In a good pronunciation class, you’ll spend as much time listening to the sound as you do pronouncing it! Taking time to focus on the sound you’ll find it easier to *make out the sound in fast speech. Even if you don’t know a particular word someone says, you might understand the gist of what they are saying more.
It helps you to be better understood
Pronunciation classes are thankfully no longer about making you sound more like The Queen. Instead, the focus is on clearly pronouncing sounds and words and how to have a more natural rhythm in English, which is a stress-timed language. If a word or phrase isn’t pronounced quite right in English, the listener may have to strain to understand what you are saying.
It helps you demonstrate your true level of English
I’ve encountered a number of advanced level students in my teaching career, whose written work was outstanding, but their pronunciation made it difficult to follow what they said. This gap between your grammar and vocabulary ability and the way you pronounce it is even more apparent outside the classroom. None of my friends or family know what a conditional or phrasal verb is, but they are aware if you pronounce a word clearly and correctly. So when you work on your pronunciation, it will help to show off your other skills in English too.
On the other hand, I’ve encountered a number of elementary students whose grammar and vocabulary wasn’t perfect, but their pronunciation made it easy to speak with them.
You can take a more active part in conversation
Have you ever spoken to someone in English but for whatever reason you couldn’t understand them, so you just nod and agree with everything they say? You laugh when you think you should, while hoping you haven’t just laughed at them telling you they’ve lost their job? If you work on your pronunciation, you’ll pick up more of what’s being said, meaning you’ll contribute more than just nodding and laughing in the right parts.
Understand more of your favourite TV, music and films in English
OK, so this one won’t get you the job offer or university place of your dreams, but with increased fluency, you’ll also find this more enjoyable. And when something is more enjoyable, it increases your motivation, so, who knows, maybe enjoying more TV will help you get the offer of your dreams.
If you think pronunciation and connected speech might help your English fluency, get my free pronunciation guide today so you can start working on this!
Vocabulary you might need help with
To overlook sth /ˈəʊvəlʊk/
To not be noticed
The teacher overlooked the fact I hadn’t done my homework – I was lucky!
To jump at the chance /ʤʌmp æt ðə ʧæns/
To accept an opportunity with keenness and eagerness.
When I was asked if I wanted to go on a free trip, I jumped at the chance!
In the pipeline /ɪn ðə ˈpaɪpˌlaɪn/
In the process of being planned or developed.
We have several courses in the pipeline at Red Brick Language School.
To make sth out
To manage seeing/ hearing something with a little difficulty.
I struggled to make out what he was saying because he was wearing a face mask.