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On Pronunciation

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

Pronunciation feels like a really big challenge for many language learners. It often goes back to childhood or some other unpleasant experience in adulthood that was uncomfortable and embarrassing for us.

Every person is unique and individual, and therefore our levels of sensitivity and discomfort will also vary and be unique so it's important not to judge how we feel about something.

We may have been told privately by a teacher or someone else that we pronounced a word wrong. We may even have been told this in front of an entire class. This kind of experience can either motivate us to try harder if we are determined enough to succeed. Or, we might feel so ashamed and discouraged by it that it can significantly lower our self-esteem and cause us to hide even deeper in our shell. We vow to never speak in public again.

Sometimes we may never know the real intention behind someone's words. Sometimes it may take years until we find out the truth...Did they really say something to harm us intentionally or were we for whatever reason very emotional in that moment to be able to listen from a more intelligent and open place?

The good news is, there are ways that you can practice pronunciation in a safe way without ever having to leave your house.

For starters, you can practice by listening to resources like podcasts, audiobooks, and films in the language you are learning, try to understand what they are saying. You can read random texts out loud to yourself, or with someone you trust, just to practise getting the words out of your mouth. You can always check the phonetic spelling in a dictionary and listen to the provided pronunciation audios.

Pronunciation is important and sometimes it's necessary to "perfect" how we say certain words for the sake of clarity and efficiency. Successful communication involves a range of different verbal and non verbal skills and we can't just assume everyone will automatically understand us, no matter how "perfectly" we pronounce our words.

However, we shouldn't let our fear of "saying it wrong" be the main reason we hide our voice from the world. In fact you'd be surprised by how many people are actually very understanding and impressed by a non-native speaker's courage to even try to speak in another language. We can't all sound like natives, and we don't have to!

Set yourself free and embrace your unique communication style!

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