In my previous post I wrote you about how the native language means a barrier when we want to improve our pronunciation in a foreign language.
We learned to hear and to pronounce the sounds of our mother tongue. We learned to hear them, thus we exclude others. We identify sounds of a foreign language as the ones that we learned to hear – though they are not the same, but may be similar. Or totally different. It means we probably can’t exactly hear many of those sounds that exist in a foreign language. Also, our mother tongue is the restricted tool that we have when we produce the sounds speaking other languages. So yes, the sounds of the native language are the ones that we pronounce when we speak a foreign language. That’s why you can tell if someone is from Russia, France, Spain, etc….
So is this the end of the story? Is there no hope, really? I did not say that. But it takes a whole lot of practice!
Practise the following:
- vowels and consonants on their own,
- vowels and consonants in words – when they are next to and between other sounds, under stress or not under it,
- changes that might happen to vowels and consonants in a word when there are at least 2 words in a sentence – inside each word and between the two,
- this means you’ll practise all the possible variations of vowels and consonants,
- oh and don’t forget intonation (that’s another important thing).
The true number of vowels and consonants in a language does not equal to the number of vowels and consonants in the ABC. If that was the case, practising the 1st thing on the above list would do the job…
For all this this of course you’ll need a tutor / book with CD / online recources or all of these.
Watch, listen, repeat what you hear in the television, radio, podcasts, speak and read aloud as much as you can. Yes, you can do this even on your own.
Record your voice and listen to yourself. You’ll hear your mistakes a lot better. Your recordings once will also make a good diary! 🙂 it’s fun.
Dare ask people about your pronunciation and notify them that you won’t get hurt if they turn your attention to your pronunciation mistakes that you make.
To be continued…