Sound is the building block of a language and correct pronunciation is the foundation of an effective communication.
Have you ever seen a baby who started writing before speaking?
From the moment we are born, we use sound to communicate with others; we cry, laugh, coo, etc.
Sound, from the very beginning, is the basic source of our communication. As we grow older, we learn the sounds of our native language and soon begin to join these sounds together to make words. Ultimately, we become capable of making proper sentences with the correct combinations of these words.
The written script of a language itself reflects spoken form. It is made up of alphabet and letters that indicate sounds.
Every language has a unique set of sounds which forms its identity. These languages may have the same alphabet, but the letters would sound different. English sounds different from Spanish because of their different set of sounds, and the same applies to the other languages.
Hence, when learning a second language, you need to pay attention to these differences, or you would end up pronouncing it wrong.
So, is it important to pronounce correctly?
Before we answer the question above, take some time to answer this – Why do we communicate?
Why do you speak? To be heard…?
Why do you write? To be read…?
We communicate to be understood. We talk to make better relationships or provide information, or maybe just gossip. We give speeches to persuade the audience or get our idea across the public. In any case, we want others to understand what we want to say.
Sometimes when we end up using the wrong words, for example, due to anger or lack of vocabulary, there are chances of misunderstandings.
If a wrong word can lead to problems in communication, then what can a wrong pronunciation of a word do?
Well mostly it is almost equal to using a wrong word, or it can be worse. You might end up pronouncing a word so wrong, that it becomes something that doesn’t even exist in that language!
So, going back to the question – Is it important to pronounce correctly?
Yes, it is extremely important!
As I mentioned in the past article and is known by the world, English is the most learned second language. It is non-phonetic in nature, which means we cannot pronounce the word exactly as it is spelt.
Example – We write ‘laugh’ but it is pronounced ‘laaf’.
Hence there are many-many people making myriads of mistake in it.
Let’s see why it is important to pronounce correctly in English:
(This can be applied to other languages too, but we will concentrate on English.)
- Misunderstandings and Confusion –
A simple mistake in a word can make a complete difference in the meaning of your message and lead to misunderstanding and confusion. This can especially happen with those who are not aware of your learning issues. If you talk to a native English speaker then this is bound to happen.
a) You can say “These shoes are feet.” Instead of “These shoes are fit.”
How can shoes be feet? But that’s what you said. And now it depends on the listener how to understand it.
b) You can say “Do you feel the same?” Or “Do you feel the Shame?”
Do you see how the whole meaning changes by the difference of just one sound?
There are many such mistakes which seem minor but can make big difference.
- Poor Impression –
The simplest conversation with people is enough to make them form an impression of you.
You must have heard the saying “first impression is the last impression.” Although this might seem unfair, it holds some truth. If you make mistakes, even the little ones, they are enough to make others question your knowledge of the language and judge your abilities. In fact, the little mistakes can be the worst ones, because people expect you to know these pronunciations.
This can cost you your job interview, professional life, or college life.
- Teaching Mistakes –
Although this happens in all spheres of life, this is especially important for the teachers in any form, a school teacher, or tuition teacher, or at coaching teachers.
If you are one of these or aspire to teach others, it is very important to have proper pronunciation, otherwise, you will end up teaching these mistakes to others. This will lead to an increase in the problem, not a decrease.
There are many ways to improve pronunciation if you have the right information.
I would soon share a series of articles to help you with the pronunciation.
Do you struggle with any pronunciation issue? If you do or have problems in teaching any sound, please comment.