An often overlooked aspect of learning new languages is pronunciation. Usually it isn’t explained to the same depth as other aspects of language, such as vocabulary or grammar. It is also very commonly mistakenly spelled and pronounced as ‘pronounciation’.
But why is it so important, which spelling is the right one or how to learn the correct pronunciation? Learn that and more in the rest of the text!
What is pronunciation?
The most common dictionary definition for pronunciation is ‘the way in which a word or language is spoken’. It is often referred to as the way in which a word is ‘pronounced’.
The whole biological process, which results in uttered sounds, is quite complex. Pronunciation involves bringing articulatory organs of the mouth and vocal tract into the positions needed to produce the sounds of the language being spoken. It is the auditory communication of a given word by a speaker in a distinctive manner, and it is different from oral expression in that it is not necessarily concerned with the meaning of the words being spoken.
Why is pronunciation important?
Correct word pronunciation is important for clear communication in English and in any other language you speak. Incorrect pronunciation can lead to misunderstandings and can make it difficult for others to understand what you are saying.
Pronounciation or pronunciation?
Although the spelling ‘pronounciation’ can be met quite frequently, it is incorrect. It is not the same case as with spelling differences between American and British English, or even just words being customarily spoken one way or the other, and both being acceptable. The correct way to write the word in question is ‘pronunciation’. The confusion is likely the result of the verb corresponding to ‘pronunciation’ being ‘pronounce’. Just one letter, so much trouble.
The difficulty of learning pronunciation
There are many factors that can affect pronunciation, including vowel sounds, syllables, and the order of letters within a word. Some words may have the same pronunciation as other words, even if they are spelled differently. For example, the words ‘blew’ and ‘blue’ share the same pronunciation, despite having different spellings.
Pronunciation can be particularly challenging when learning a new language, such as French. French words may have silent letters and accent marks that change the way the word is pronounced. It is important to pay attention to these nuances when learning to speak a new language.
Tips on learning pronunciation
There are a few different ways to improve your pronunciation. One method is to listen to a native speaker and try to imitate the way they speak. You can also find approved pronunciation guides, such as those provided by Cambridge Universities, which are widely accepted as the correct way to pronounce words.
Another useful tool is the dictionary. Many dictionaries include a phonetic transcription for each word, which can help you learn how to say the word correctly. You can also find online resources, such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), that provide guides and exercises aimed at helping you improve your speaking skills.
In the English language, pronunciation has evolved over time. The way words were pronounced in Middle English is often quite different from modern English. For example, the word “knight” was originally pronounced with a “k” sound at the beginning, while today it starts with an “n” sound. So just keep in mind the fact that it is constantly changing and evolving, just like the whole language.
Pronunciation can also vary based on the region in which a language is spoken. For example, there are differences in the way words are pronounced in British English compared to American English. It is essential to be aware of these differences in order to communicate effectively with native speakers of the language.
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Pronouncing words correctly can be challenging, but there are resources available to help you improve your skills. By listening to native speakers and using pronunciation guides, you can learn to speak any language with confidence. Remember, pronunciation is the key to clear and effective communication, whether you are speaking in your native language or learning a new one. And if you are in need of assistance, our offer covers courses both for business and private clients in a wide range of languages. These include Spanish, French, German, Polish and even Chinese just to name a few.
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