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Pronunciation as sport

Pronuncing a word perfectly is like kicking a ball

Pronunciation is completely different from other language skills. While grammar and vocabulary are internal, meaning you think about them and understand them; pronunciation is external, it’s a muscular skill. Pronouncing a word correctly is more like hitting a ball or playing piano. It’s active, it requires repetition, and at first it will be difficult.

To make the point clear, think about the answers to these questions:

  • What kind of hobbies have you done?
  • When did you start?
  • How often did you practice? and
  • How long did it take you to get the basic skills?

I bet you spent a long time practicing and that you practiced often. Did you get really good at it? If you mastered it, then you would have worked hard, and it must have taken you a long time.

Your expectations of improving your pronunciation should be roughly the same. Daily practice is necessary for improvement.

Imagine going to the gym only once or twice a week for only a few minutes each time. It wouldn’t have much effect. Pronunciation is the same, you need to practice it continually to see improvement.

But the the good news is the effects of good pronunciation are immediate. Unlike a high-level word that you may rarely get a chance to use, high-level pronunciation shapes everything you say.

When I studied Japanese, my instructor was very strict. At first it made me angry and frustrated, I couldn’t make the right sound no matter how hard I tried. After weeks of practice I started to be able to shape some sounds correctly, but only when I thought about it; when I focused on anything else my good pronunciation would disappear.

Finally, I was able to say most sounds correctly, and I noticed the difference immediately. At first, when I had greeted people with poor pronunciation, I usually got very short replies. But when I greeted people with natural pronunciation,  they were often warm and friendly. Good pronunciation is the key to a good first impression.

So if you take lessons with the English Farm, we will make sure you spend time in the lesson working on pronunciation. But then you have to spend time every day practicing!