Using your eyes to learn pronunciation
This is simply 100% required if you want to reach a high level of fluency and comfort in your pronunciation. What you are about to read could possibly change the way you learn pronunciation forever; and I hope this is the case.
What is the problem?
Language learners simply have bad ears when listening to other languages. Many times we think we hear one sound, but then we speak it wrong. This is because our ears are poor and our mouth shapes are wrong. A specific vowel has specific mouth, lip and tongue shapes. If you are not aware of this, then learning pronunciation is very hard. Let us have a look at some examples to better understand the topic.
1) I may say the word ‘dog’ and the student may say ‘duck’ on accident.
This mistake happens because the learner is not aware that the word dog is spoken with the ‘aw’ vowel, which requires the lips to be put into a tall oval shape.
2) I may say the word ‘off’ and the student may say ‘of’ on accident.
This mistake happens because the learner does realize that ‘off’ is pronounced with the ‘aw’ vowel which requires the lips to be put into a tall oval shape.
Also the learner does not realize that ‘of’ is a short ‘u’ vowel, meaning the jaw drops open naturally with the teeth only 1 pen-width gap between the teeth, requiring no oval shapes
So how do I benefit from knowing this?
Successful learners of pronunciation have 4 things in common:
They know the actual name of every vowel they speak, for example the short ‘a’ or long ‘o’.
They all watch TV, real people, YouTube clips or online lessons and learn much of their pronunciation by using their eyes.
They actually use the language to communicate once they learn the correct pronunciation.
They look at their own mouth shapes in mirrors and cameras when practicing pronunciation.
So how can I use this learning strategy?
Using your eyes for learning pronunciation is a strategy and skill that you can use when learning new words in real life or during lessons in class or online. Use this strategy when learning vowels or consonants. There are not that many vowels and consonants in English and you can learn this stuff fast.
Also, if you would like to try a pronunciation class with a specialist, feel free to send an email and book a free trial lesson with ETO.
ETO American English teacher
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