February 11, 2010

Pronunciation matters

Pronunciation is an important aspect that must not be ignored by non native-speakers. While speaking, heavy tinges of local language should be avoided though it is but natural.  Teachers should try to neutralize Accent as far as possible and not thrust their pronunciation as happened in country like India.  When I was in school little attention was paid to this vital aspect of English language as I came to know when I was introduced to the internet. 

It happens in India that English teachers are not required to have extra qualification.  To teach physics, chemistry, mathematics or any other branch of science streams special qualification is required but to teach English no extra qualification is required.  I have seen my teachers who were jack of all trades as they were required to teach two or three subjects.  In colleges however one is required to have special qualification like Post graduation in the same subject. 

This is quite absurd.  Any Tom, Dick and Harry cannot teach English as that is a foreign language and teachers should have special qualification.  Sadly, there is no special degree or course in country like India

Hence as a result, there is less stress on accent neutralization.  In India one can find many of ways of pronouncing a single word.  All speak according to their whim. It results in misunderstanding or one cannot drive home one’s point clearly.  As far as possible, we should strive our best to pronounce as the words are pronounced.

Television and radio are useful media to help in neutralizing the accent of non native speakers.  Television channels or radio stations broadcasting various kinds of programs, like news help in neutralizing accents in a great way.  They choose special people and train them to speak the language as it spoken by the native speakers.  British Broadcasting Corporation radio programs are very useful in achieving that coveted goal.  I was a regular listener of News Hour in BBC radio and it helped me in a great way to learn individual pronunciations of various words. 

In India there are various private institutions having special courses on Speaking English.  The presence of these institutions only for speaking English shows that, English teaching is not being done properly in schools.  The opening of market has led to the growth of BPO sector and this required professionals having expertise in speaking English. 

But technologies are there to help you learn this aspect of the language.  My last post emphasized on dissemination of technologies uniformly.  If you have got a computer and internet connection then you are well placed to learn.  Internet has revolutionized learning and interaction.  It has changed the outlook and behavior of people.  People have benefited in a large way from internet.  It is for this far reaching effect of the internet, it is nominated as a contender of Nobel Peace Prize.  It has got immense possibilities and if channelized in a proper way, it can usher in a revolution.  No doubt its impact is far reaching in the life of its users. 

I have been using a program distributed by the Oxford Advance Learners’ Dictionary to mend my pronunciation apart from online dictionaries.  For the first time I learned about a site especially devoted to pronunciation that is http://howjsay.com thanks to my first blogging friend Aniya. You can also find her in twitter @theEnglishteacherl. The original post can be accessed here.

The site distributes a program for computer users called Cleverkey.  It is a small program that takes you direct to the dictionary.com of course you can access the website directly from your browser but the program is useful as it integrates with the Microsoft word and also works right from the word window. 

Select a word and hit CTRL + L.  Bingo it will take you to the dictionary.com for synonym, definition, use and of course pronunciation.  Don’t you want all these?  Of course you do.  I have downloaded the program and it is working fantastically in my computer.  It does not work properly in Window Vista.  An Iphone application is also available.  


Give it a try. 


1 comment:

  1. वाह बहुत काम की जानकारी और लिंक्स भी. साधुवाद.


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