Pronunciation of the English Language can be a bewildering jungle if you let it. If we keep our nerves steady, brains alert and sharp, we can hack the way and emerge into the sunny glade of clear, concise English pronunciation.
Learning and obeying all the rules of grammar will not automatically give excellence to your speech or pronunciation. Correct pronunciation requires the proper sounding of the letters and combination of letters in a word and the correct placing of the stress or accent in words of more than one syllable. While pronouncing properly we have to know that at times not all words are pronounced, some are silent so we have to omit their sounds to give proper value to letters that are sounded.
To be understood in any language, for that matter, pronunciation is important. Language becomes incomprehensible if the pronunciation of words is incorrect. False and wrong pronunciation can be a cause for laughter or embarrassment. For example, if snacks is pronounced as snakes; it sounds funny and dismissed as lack of knowledge but if English is pronounced as englees, ship as sip, school as escool and biscuit as biscoot; is unpardonable! There are many more examples of such mispronunciation. Someone could misunderstand the statement and a simple situation may blow dangerously out of proportion.
The letters of the alphabet fall into 2 divisions- vowels and consonants. The vowel letters are a, e, i, o, u. A vowel letter represents a soundmade when the voice passes without obstruction through the vocal cavities. The consonants, which comprise the remaining letters represent sounds made when the voice or breath is obstructed by the teeth, lips, tongue, or soft palate. Consonants form syllables only in combination with vowels, hence the master key to correct pronunciation is the knowledge and use of the proper sound values of the vowels, separately and in combination.
However, it is possible to mispronounce words in the English language and it is almost impossible to formulate a set of rules which will cover all words and all circumstances. A good dictionary is indispensable and should be consulted regularly. Since pronunciation is largely a matter of imitation, careful attention to the pronunciation of thosewho speak correctly is necessary. Repeat the correct pronunciation of words which you have been in the habit of mispronouncing until they become familiar.
Many errors in pronunciation are due to speaking too fast and carelessly. The following cautions should be kept in mind.
Do not drop the final g in such words as calling, going seeing.
Do not drop the final t in such words as accept, expect, deft, left, kept, swept.
Give proper stress to consonants in collect, asked, distinctly, picture, length, think.
Be careful to distinguish between words that are spelt alike but pronounced differently according to meaning.
Most importantly, avoid mispronouncing names. Everyone feels happy when we pronounce their name right. Check with people if you are unsure about the pronunciation of their name.
Friends, the importance of pronunciation to English language is essential. Keep this in mind; keep listening and keep learning. You will just be fine. Start now for a better tomorrow!