The most important thing in language is to not sound like a fool. The next most important thing is to sound as much like a native speaker as possible. The third most important thing is to be understood.
If you are speaking with someone who knows your language better than you know theirs, they will use their knowledge of your language to understand what you say, and thus may never notice that your pronunciation is off.
If you are speaking with someone who knows your language at about the same level as you know theirs, they will likely understand you even if your pronunciation is poor– because they are used to listening to people whose pronunciation is worse than yours.
If you are speaking with someone who knows your language less well than you know theirs, then it is even more important that your pronunciation be good, or at least comprehensible– because they will not have any other way of understanding what you are saying.
The last point bears repeating: if the person with whom you are speaking does not speak your language well, then it is more important that your pronunciation be perfect– because otherwise they cannot understand what you are saying.
If you do not pronounce every single syllable correctly, people may notice that there is something strange about the way you speak, but they will attribute it
There are a few things you should know about the pronunciation of this word. The most important thing is that it is pronounced like the number three, not like the letter R. The H is silent, and hence so is the GH. The -ING part is pronounced like the -ING part in king, ringing, winging, etc
The reason this word is often mispronounced is because native speakers of English have a tendency to pronounce all words as they look. This is because English spelling does not follow any rules. Most other languages are more phonetic than English. That means that their writing systems are more closely related to how words actually sound when spoken aloud.
In order to understand pronunciation you must understand something about how sounds are produced in the mouth. Sounds are made using your vocal chords, tongue, teeth and lips. When one says the word king, for example, the first sound heard is created by putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your teeth and blowing out air (the k). Next you put your tongue forward and push air through a narrow passage (the ih sound). Finally you end with a distinctive ng sound at the back of your throat which involves pushing air up from your lungs using your vocal chords while keeping the back of your tongue
I would like to say something here about the pronunciation of English. The first thing to realize is that there are about as many different ways of pronouncing English as there are speakers of it. That is, if you go to America and listen to people from Minnesota or Mississippi, or go to England and listen to people from Manchester or London, or go to Ireland or Scotland and listen to people from Cork or Glasgow, you will find that they pronounce their r’s differently, use different vowels in words like bath and trap, often stress different syllables in words like secretary and laboratory. The differences can be quite marked, but people usually understand each other.
The second thing to remember is that most English speakers do not know what the rules of pronunciation are. Americans who know some Latin may think they know how English should be pronounced; but they forget that they also pronounce schedule and colonel with an sh sound instead of a sk one. The best way to learn how a word is pronounced is often to ask someone who speaks the dialect you want to learn.
For this reason I suggest that you do not worry unduly about your pronunciation at first. Just try to make yourself understood by speaking clearly and carefully. When your general level of English is more advanced, then you can worry
Let’s say you want to learn to speak a language as it is spoken by real people. A useful thing to know is what words are used most often in everyday speech.
We can make a rough estimate of that by looking at the list of the one hundred most popular words on Wikipedia. These are the ones that appear most often in articles, weighted so that multiple appearances on one page count less than single appearances on many pages. Here they are:
the of and to in a is that for it was as
on with by he be at not from are
This is a very bad list for learning how to speak English, because it consists almost entirely of grammatical words like “the”, “of”, and “that”. If you look at a dictionary sorted by frequency, it’s dominated by similar words: “the”, “be”, “to”. The only common words left are nouns like “time” and “person” and verbs like “have”.
Anyone who wants to understand how English works should read these books: The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar, and Longman Student Grammar of
The letter ‘h’ is one of the most common letters in the English language. It appears in nearly every word and it’s important to a proper pronunciation of those words.
The ‘h’ is what we call a voiceless glottal fricative. It’s formed when the vocal folds are held together and air passes through. The opening between the folds is small enough that they vibrate against each other, creating a sound similar to exhaling through your throat.
We pronounce the letter H by placing our tongue between our teeth and exhaling air. In fact, if you say the word “think,” you’ll feel your tongue touching just behind your two front teeth.
The letter “H” has an interesting history. In some early dialects of Middle English, it was called ‘aitch,’ which is how we get the name for the letter today. This name only applies to the letter in its capital form: H, not h.
The first rule of pronunciation is to pronounce every letter. Many people seem to think that silent letters in English are a modern invention, but they are not; they have been around for hundreds of years. In fact, there are a lot more silent letters in English than most people realize, and the only way to know which letters to pronounce and which ones not to pronounce is to learn them as separate vocabulary items.
First consider the rules for when *not* to pronounce a letter:
1. Do not pronounce the final -e of a word. For example, “make” is pronounced “mak” and “bite” is pronounced “bit”. If a word ends with a consonant followed by -e, then the consonant is doubled and the -e is still not pronounced: “greeting” is pronounced “greeting” and “bitten” is pronounced “bitten”.
2. Do not pronounce the last letter of an -ed ending after a t or d. Thus, “wanted” is pronounced “wanted” and “decided” is pronounced “decided”.
3. Do not pronounce a g before an n at the end of words like “sign”, “”aign”, or “”aignment”. Thus,
The fricatives are h, v and z. These consonants are made by forcing air through a narrow channel. The lips or the tongue is placed close to the teeth so that the teeth acts as a kind of filter for the air.
The sound [h] is a voiceless glottal fricative and is made with the mouth open, with the tongue pulled back towards the soft palate. It is an aspiration-free sound and should be released with a puff of air.
The next sound [v] is voiced and normally called “w” in English. The upper teeth touches the lower lip when this sound is made.
The final sound [z] is also voiced and pronounced like an s but with the voice on. The tongue tip must be placed behind lower teeth when making this sound.