Proper English Pronunciation: Facts and Secrets
Pronunciation means the way a word or a language is usually spoken and the manner in which someone utters a word. In English, words are uttered depending on many factors. One factor particularly is the area where one grew up. Proper English pronunciation is fairly important; it is actually the first and biggest thing people will notice. There are many keys on how to pronounce proper English. However, it is much advisable to choose one pronunciation model (American or British), consult dictionaries for proper pronunciation, listen to good English speakers, always pay attention to pronunciation, and practice constantly.
Can you pronounce correctly and properly the words though, through, plough, dough, or cough? How about corpse, corps, worse, horse, holes, red, read, and naive? I bet you have not. Okay, again, but loudly and clearly please.
Well, however have you spoken those words, the fact is that you know their pronunciation--at least--let alone the proper and correct way.
Pronunciation and the English language
Pronunciation means the way a word or a language is usually spoken and the manner in which someone utters a word. In other words, it is how to make or produce the sound of a word. In any language, however, a word can be spoken or articulated in so many different ways. That is a fact. In English, words are uttered depending on many factors. One factor particularly is the area where one grew up. Asians, for example, speak English differently than British. Africans and French, when talking in English, sound distinctively. The Australians are also an example. And you have heard the Italians and Russians speak English, right? Even the pioneering Americans and British have different English accents.
To date, over 500 million people worldwide know and use English. In their own respective ways, they are able to speak English. But what is the proper way to pronounce an English word or speak English? How will we know if the manner in which words are spoken is proper and correct? If a word can be uttered in a lot of ways, how much more if we speak several words or sentences?
Proper English pronunciation is fairly important; it is actually the first and biggest thing people will notice. If you can speak English, then it is good. If you can converse very well in English, hoorah, it is much better. But do you know what is best? It is best when you can pronounce English correctly and properly.
Facts and secrets
So, how to pronounce properly? The following are the facts and secrets that you should know.
1. English is not "phonetic". Therefore, we do not always say a word the same way that we spell it.
2. English is considered a stressed language, while many other languages are considered syllabic.
3. English pronunciation focuses on specific stressed words while quickly gliding over the other, non-stressed, words. Word stress is like a golden key to speaking and understanding English. (Note: one word, one stress; the stress is always on a vowel).
4. Vowels are letters that are pronounced by forcing air over your vocal cords through your mouth. It is the shape of your mouth that decides which vowel sound comes out.
5. Consonant sounds are produced by completely or partially stopping the breath. Consonant sounds can be voiceless (no vibration of the vocal cords) or voiced (vibration of the vocal cords) and often come in sound pairs.
6. Some words can have the same spelling but different pronunciation.
7. Some words have different spelling but the same pronunciation.
8. Pronunciation differences are divided into: (1) accent and (2) pronunciation of individual words in the lexicon (i.e., phoneme distribution).
9. Do not focus on pronouncing each word. Focus on the stressed words in each sentence.
There are many keys on how to pronounce proper English. However, it is much advisable to choose one pronunciation model (American or British), consult dictionaries for proper pronunciation, listen to good English speakers, always pay attention to pronunciation, and practice constantly.
Now, if you want to know where you stand or to practice on how to pronounce, try the poem of Dr. Gerald Nolst Trenite (1870-1946), a Dutch observer of English. Read it aloud, but mind you, it is quite hard.
English Is Tough Stuff
Dearest creature in creation,
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
Query does not rhyme with very,
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Petal, panel, and canal,
Compare alien with Italian,
Face, but preface, not efface.
Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a Copy Editor and blogger, Rodrigo Gante is inclined to write articles in different niches, particularly in Media and Publication.