Why Pronunciation is Important

By: John Smith

Why is pronunciation important?

While it might not be the most important factor in language learning, pronouncing the sounds of a language well is important, even early on in the learning process.

There have been studies in which native speakers were asked to rate speech by learners, and while correct grammar and structure appear to be more significant in how high speech is rated, pronunciation is still a factor.

Furthermore, understanding phonetic rules and tendencies can help with the process of acquiring new vocabulary. Pronouncing words is often a part of memorizing them in second-language learning, so getting a strong, basic foundation in correct pronunciation early on will equate to more effective learning overall.

Even if you have already studied English for some time, you can always improve your speech and reduce your accent. In any case, research has shown for decades that second-language learning is different from how one acquires one's native language. Pronunciation in a second language is especially resistant to improvement and it is rare that a second-language speaker can lose an accent entirely. However, this shouldn't discourage language learners from studying pronunciation and making an effort to improve their speech. The difference with second-language learning is that it requires explicit learning of vocabulary, rules, and structures, with repeated practice to commit these to long-term memory and to make access more automatic, or "fluent".

With that in mind, a pronunciation course or lesson should be designed to give a basic knowledge of the sounds of English or as a review for the experienced learner. Remember that it is unnecessary (and perhaps unrealistic) to try to achieve perfect pronunciation, especially at first. But it is important to get the fundamentals down.

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