Thursday, June 22, 2006

Teaching Pronunciation (1)


Pronunciation is a very important component of speaking skill. Without proper pronunciation, which should be somewhat similar to but not necessarily identical to native performance, second or foreign language users of English will not be able to communicate accurately.
It is possible to communicate the information without elegant pronunciation. It is also possible to communicate one’s intent without elegant pronunciation. However, such communication would be inadequate or could even lead to miscommunication.Moreover, if we allow this to happen all the time and if we do not insist on certain standards of pronunciation, there is a danger that the students would be “led to a permanent plateau of pidgin from which very few emerge” (Bowen et al. 1985).
Remember that pronunciation lends accuracy to the message conveyed. Remember also that if the learner’s pronunciation is “very poor”, a concept which needs to be clarified and specified in context, he will have great difficulty in communicating orally with native speakers of English. He may have excellent skills in writing and reading, but if his pronunciation is very poor, he will not be seen to be proficient in English. Native speakers of English often tend to be generous towards the second/foreign learners of English. And yet there is always the danger that poor pronunciation may be equated with the lack of knowledge of English.


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