Words Worth Blog

Teaching English Pronunciation

Having a good understanding of grammar rules, being equipped with a great vocabulary, possessing the skills of reading and writing are all considered to be parameters to define and evaluate ones proficiency of a given language.

Having good pronunciation skills is yet another factor that affects ones expertise in a language. Lack of pronunciation can be a great hindrance to effective communication. This thus leads to the understanding that, teaching english pronunciation is as much important as is teaching other more obvious and widely talk aspects of language. Also, Pronunciation and intonation of speech when improved have a great impact on the fluency of learners. This improvement manifests in the learners in the form of minimized accent and a marked fall in instances of them trying to make effective communication.

Word stress, intonation and general fluency, are three areas that are vital in helping learners improve their spoken skills.

The patterns of word stress vary from language to language. Whereas in some languages word stress depends upon the number of syllables or the use of certain vowels in a syllable, other languages don’t have any stress patterns. English uses a variety of rules for word stress which can prove to be complicated for ESL learners.

Teaching these rules and providing them with some semblance with regards to spelling and pronunciation becomes important. Simple Physical Response activities can be done with the learners to assist them in understanding the concepts of syllable and word stress for the purpose of proper pronunciation. These activities as are entertaining are welcomed by the learners at any age level.

Teaching Intonation to ESL learners is also very important. The intonation patterns of English are very different than in other languages. Learners have to be taught their proper production to enable them to make themselves understood and hence to communicate well. Classroom activities to internalise intonation can prove to be fruitful in enhancing their oral delivery.

Helping ESL learners to develop fluency can be a great challenge for the language teacher. Fluency depends upon a number of factors like, grammar and vocabulary along with pronunciation, stress and intonation. A learner can develop a proficiency in fluency only trough sustained and regular practice. His confidence in the use of the target language has a direct and positive effect on his fluency.

The English language teacher can encourage the use of the language among learners through various class activities. Such activities can provide an atmosphere for extensive language usage and a resultant confidence building.