Saturday, August 25, 2012

How to Teach Pronunciation For Foreign Languages

Pronunciation (Photo credit: Peter Forret)
by Shawn I Moon

Learning proper pronunciation is a key step in learning a foreign language. It is the piece of the puzzle that builds confidence with the language.

It is also the piece that allows you to take the vocabulary that you have learned and begin to move into conversation.

Without proper training in pronunciation, the student rarely makes real progress in achieving a conversational use of the language. It becomes merely a collection of foreign words.

You Don't Want to Feel Like a Fool, Do You?

Pronunciation is the key that determines the student's confidence with the language. No one wants to feel like a fool. So without confidence, the student will not take the risk and practice the language with native speakers, or even with other students. This is a shame, because talking with native speakers is the best way to really learn a foreign language.

So logically, learning pronunciation from a native speaker is the way that students can gain iron-clad confidence that they are pronouncing the words the way a native of that country would.

Only a Native Speaker can Teach Proper Pronunciation

Who better to help your child learn proper pronunciation, and build confidence in the language, than someone who grew up in the culture where that language is used every day? No one! And with today's technology, like Skype, your child can learn and practice pronunciation with a native speaker - live!

Or you could take the old, public school route, and have someone from Atlanta, GA, who minored in German in college, teach your child how to speak and read German. This is why most students graduating from public school will forget everything they learned within 2 years of graduation.
4 Key Benefits of International Tutors

International tutors, who are native speakers of the language they are teaching, are readily available. And they are a wonderful way to supplement your child's education.

1. Your child can practice pronunciation and conversation in real-time via Skype. This takes learning away from a boring textbook, or a mindless lecture, and makes it interactive. Students become incredibly energized and eager to learn.

2. Tutors can help students drill and fine tune pronunciation and vocabulary during conversation practice.

3. International tutors can teach both formal pronunciation, as well as a "short-hand" version that native speakers would more likely use. Again, this builds confidence in the student. They no longer feel like they are going to "sound funny" to native speakers either by how they pronounce the words, or by the words they choose. This is what separates students that actually learn the language, and students that simply memorize a few words.

4. Foreign tutors can also give your child an international perspective. Learning Italian from a tutor in Venice makes their learning of the language more interactive, and thus stronger. But it also opens their mind to the wider world around them. Suddenly Venice is no longer just a dot on the map, or a place where they have heard that people ride in gondolas. The student now knows someone from that place, by name. And they talk to that person several times each week. This ignites the imagination of the child and they become excited about learning.
The Best Gift You Can Give Your Child

The best give you can give your child is the confidence and excitement for learning that comes from studying a foreign language with a native speaker. The confidence they gain, and the international perspective is something that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Shawn I. Moon invites you to visit his website where you can view teacher profiles, including video clip interviews, and find the perfect foreign language teacher for your son or daughter. If you have a question or a special request you can email me directly on the Contact Us page.

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