Pronunciation is way in which a language or a particular word or sound is spoken. While teaching is work of a teacher or ideas of a particular person or group. we provide a historical overview of how pronunciation has been treated in language teaching over the past hundred years: the types of teaching approaches and techniques that have been used as well as the degree of phonetic analysis or explanation that teachers have provided learners. In this essay I want to explain about what is pronunciation, why it is important , and what are the aspect of pronunciation.
Pronunciation refers to how we produce the sounds that we use to make meaning when we speak. It includes the particular consonants and vowels of a language (segments), aspects of speech beyond the level of the individual segments, such as stress, timing, rhythm, intonation, phrasing, (suprasegmental aspects), and how the voice is projected (voice quality). Although we often talk about these as if they were separate, they all work together in combination when we speak, so that difficulties in one area may impact on another, and it is the combined result that makes someone’s pronunciation easy or difficult to understand.
Pronunciation is important because it does not matter how good a learner’s vocabulary or grammar is if no one can understand them when they speak! And to be understood, a learner needs a practical mastery of the sounds, rhythms and cadences of English and how they fit together in connected speech. Learners with good pronunciation will be understood even if they make errors in other areas, while those with unintelligible pronunciation will remain unintelligible, even if they have expressed themselves using an extensive vocabulary and perfect grammar. What is more, people are likely to assume that they don’t know much English, and – worse – that they are incompetent or even stupid.
There are some aspect of pronunciation such vowel, consonant, word stress and sentence stsress.
Vowel sounds are all voice, and may be single or a combination, involvinng a movement from one vowel sound to another; such combinations are known diphthongs. There are some element in vowel. First, the pure vowel sounds, the word ‘pure’ here is used to differentiate single vowel sounds from diphthongs, which we will consider later. Second, closed vowels, for closed vowel the tongue are quite high in the mouth. Third, mid vowels, for mid vowels the tongue is neither high nor low in the mouth. Fourth, open vowels, for open vowels the tongue is low in the mouth.
Consonant Sounds may be voiced or unvoiced. It is possible to identify many pairs of consonant which are essentially the same aspect for the element of voicing.
Stress in English sentences is extremely important as it is often used to indicate the meaning and importance of certain information. When the stress is incorrect then there can be a breakdown in communication. These problems can be both in terms of speaking (productive) and listening (receptive) skills. Activities that make students aware of the importance of sentence stress, as well as activities that focus on hearing and producing various aspects of sentence stress, are extremely useful.
English speakers tend to store vocabulary items according to their stress patterns (Brown 1990; Levelt 1989). Therefore a stress error is particularly damaging to communication. Brown puts it this way:
The stress pattern of a polysyllabic word is a very important identifying
feature of the word . . . We store words under stress patterns . . . and
we find it difficult to interpret an utterance in which a word is
pronounced with the wrong stress pattern – we begin to “look up” possible
words under this wrong stress pattern. (1990, 51)
Only a little imagination is needed to realize that the failure to hear and produce stress patterns accurately could cause confusion between words such as those in the following pairs:
dessert/desert foreign/for rain his story/history
It might seem that context would clarify any confusion over words like these, but in fact stress errors rarely exist in isolation from other pronunciation or grammatical problems. The combination of stress errors with other types of errors can seriously disrupt communication.
Our goal as teachers of English pronunciation should therefore be more realistically focused on clear, comprehensible pronunciation. At the beginning levels, we want learners to serpass that threshold beneath which pronunciationdetracts from their ability to communicate. At the advanced levels, pronunciation goals can focus on elements that enhance communication: intonation features that go beyond basic patterns, voice quality, phonetic distinctions between registers, and other refinements that are more important in the overall stream of clear communication than rolling the English /r/ or getting a vowel to perfectly imitate a “native speaker.”
English is a stress-time language. That means that as we speak, the moments of stress come at regular intervals and the number of stresses in an utterance affect the length of time needed to say it. One way of helping learners produce speech correctly is to use a cross-sectional diagram of a head showing the position of the tongue, teeth, and lips for different sounds. Effective communication requires not just the mastery of individual sounds and the accompanying aspects of pronunciation such as stress, rhythm, and intonation. It also depends on speaking habits such as gestures, posture, and eye contact. The following is a list of global aspects of speech to consider when helping learners to understand and to be understood.
Celce-Murcia, Marianne. Teaching Pronunciaton. Cambrige University Press. p. 1
Freeman, Diane. 2007. Techniques And Principles. England: Longman, p. 340.
Gilbert, Judy B. 2008. Teaching Pronunciation Using the Prosody Pyramid. America: Cambridge University Press. p. 5
Kelly, Gerald. 2000. How to Teach Pronunciation. England: Longman. p. 30-33.
Street, Great Clarendon. 1983. Oxford Learner’s Pocket Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press.
Zielinski, Linda Yates & Beth. 2009. Give It a Go: Teaching Pronunciation to Adults. Australia: Macquarie University. p. 11.