So… as often happens, an article that was supposed to be about something very specific (and somewhat tactical) has turned into something greater that will need several posts!
But we trust our process, and we know this information will be helpful to you.
Pronunciation can be one of the trickiest aspects of language learning.
It’s also true that, unless we’re dealing with a particularly challenging language (parley-voo fran-sayyy 🤣), its importance is quite often underestimated, or outright dismissed.
Now, we can agree that you can get pretty far in your language knowledge without working on pronunciation. And yet (as with everything we do) it is helpful to think about our intention for learning a language. For example, if you’re learning it for academic or research purposes only, then you may not even need to consider it.
We’re here to tell you about the many wonderful reasons to integrate Pronunciation into your language learning.
The #1 reason for working on pronunciation is that IT’S FUN!
It is one of the few opportunities we get, past early childhood, to try making new sounds and LAUGH at/with ourselves while we do it. We have many fun ideas to share with you for how to make this playful and completely stress-free, which we will share with you in our next post.
And, as we always say, our main strategy and methodology for language learning is to keep it fun. As long as you’re having fun with your learning, you will continue...
And that is our goal: For you to keep learning WHILE having a great time!
There’s a musicality to every single language - working on pronunciation helps us explore the rhythm and intonation of a language. It is often said that polyglots change personalities when they switch languages and, take it from us, it certainly can feel that way. What’s happening is not that you’re changing personality - but rather, you’re exploring / developing a different aspect of your personality, which you can then decide to integrate into your life if you want to...
Working on pronunciation improves your verbal comprehension and that is a great confidence-booster for our language learning. It’s really a feedback loop, whereby our pronunciation improves our comprehension and our improved verbal comprehension enhances our pronunciation.
What’s really happening is that we’re developing “an ear” for identifying nuances in sounds that we were not previously aware of - you can think of it as a superpower that grows with practice. And as we learn to recognize the different sounds, and practice imitating them, our pronunciation improves.
It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to be very advanced in grammar or vocabulary in order to improve your pronunciation. So it can be a less stressful activity because, even if you’re not at the point where you’d like to be, every little bit of work you do only brings you closer.
The reason we love working on it and that we think it’s so important is that it really allows you to connect with the culture. You’re able to learn nuances about how people from that country express themselves - which enriches our ability to express ourselves - in any language.
And the reason we think you will love it too is that it is one of the most rewarding aspects of language learning. No matter how hard you might think it is for you to improve your pronunciation, it is a guarantee that as you keep working on it you will improve.
It’s also the FIRST THING that native speakers (and other learners) will notice - talk about a confidence booster!
So tell us, how do you feel about working on Pronunciation? Has this information helped you to see things differently?
In our next post we’ll share some fun ideas and suggestions to make this FUN for you.