Questions tagged [pronunciation]

Questions about the sounds, intonation, and stress of how words are uttered or produced. When asking questions about learning or teaching the pronunciation of a specific language, pleased add a language-specific tag.

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45 votes
6 answers
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How can I verify my pronunciation without a native speaker?

I've been learning Japanese for a short while, and it uses some sounds that aren't in my native language (English). (For example, the "r" sound, which has been described to me as a combination of "d", ...
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32 votes
4 answers
626 views

How can I avoid learning an incorrect pronunciation due to a word's spelling?

I've noticed that I and others (sometimes entire communities) mispronounce words in a second language, which they could in theory pronounce well using phonemes of their first language, because of the ...
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  • 628
19 votes
3 answers
681 views

Can I have C1-level proficiency in a foreign language even if my pronunciation is poor?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and its A1–C2 scale is often referred to when discussing one's skill in a language. I've never been tested, but, based on the Wikipedia ...
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18 votes
4 answers
2k views

How can I learn IPA?

There are many resources that I wish I could use, but can't, because I don't understand the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) fluently. I constantly need to refer to a table of characters, and I'm ...
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  • 787
18 votes
1 answer
706 views

How can I develop an accent in a foreign language?

I have been teaching myself Italian for 2 years so far, and I still sound very foreign. When I am speaking Italian with someone else, it is difficult to imitate their accent properly, and when I try, ...
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17 votes
3 answers
164 views

How can I help a person improve their L2 pronunciation?

My wife is a native Spanish speaker. I'm a native English speaker. At home we speak both languages nearly interchangeably. But now she has a job speaking English. How can I most effectively help her ...
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  • 5,042
16 votes
3 answers
315 views

Can the McGurk effect also help develop pronunciation?

Seeing someone's mouth movements can influence what your brain processes a word to be (see McGurk effect), and hearing someone talk can also help you develop your pronunciation for that language. ...
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  • 1,058
16 votes
4 answers
2k views

How can I teach someone how to roll their r's?

The sound I'm referring to is the alveolar trill (/r/), as found in Spanish word "carro", though that is just an example in one language. I learned how to make this sound by making positioning my ...
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  • 1,661
15 votes
2 answers
155 views

Can reading aloud be an alternative to practicing speaking skills with other people?

The reason might be that we can not easily find people with the same language that we learn or just feeling more comfortable when we read out loud and try to make correct sounds by ourselves.
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  • 647
14 votes
4 answers
3k views

What advantages, if any, are there for learning the IPA when studying a language with phonetic spelling?

The IPA provides a standard, unambiguous way of writing the pronunciation of words, which can be quite helpful when learning a language like English, which has very irregular spelling (with respect to ...
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  • 5,042
14 votes
1 answer
156 views

How can I teach someone to pronounce phonemes non-existent in their native language?

As I learned other languages I realized that some phonemes which are common in one language are not so familiar in others. There are even cases where some phonemes do not exist in other specific ...
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  • 363
14 votes
5 answers
2k views

Pros and cons of using IPA over other phonetic alphabets

I've taught myself to use the IPA as an aide for pronunciation training, but I'm well aware that other phonetic alphabets are in widespread use in language courses. Where does the IPA fall short ...
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  • 5,042
13 votes
5 answers
597 views

How important are tones in tonal languages?

As a native speaker of a Slavic language, I know about foreigners trying (and sometimes failing) to use proper case for a situation, or using wrong gender declension, or an adjective non gender-...
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12 votes
1 answer
147 views

How could we know that the pronunciation of an ancient language like Aramaic is correct?

This question is directly related to my former question on Aramaic: How to learn the vocabulary of an ancient language like Aramaic, which is based on scripture only? I'd like to know how and on ...
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11 votes
5 answers
286 views

How can one learn a language (such as Korean), when there is no agreement as to how to properly pronounce it?

This is a problem that's been plaguing me for years. I have been wanting to learn Korean, but I just can't get the past the first step: pronouncing it. I can produce and hear aspirated consonants ...
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11 votes
4 answers
283 views

How to avoid an English accent in Hebrew

I speak fairly fluent Hebrew as a second language, and I have a UK English accent. I want to know what pronunciation issues generally would be an issue for English speakers and would sound strange/be ...
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  • 473
11 votes
1 answer
411 views

What techniques can I use to master nasal vowel pronunciation?

I'm referring to those encountered often in French and Portuguese for example. In Portuguese they may be denoted by "ão" or "õe". When first learning these new pronunciations from my native English, ...
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  • 1,661
11 votes
1 answer
243 views

How to start hearing the difference between similar sounds

The question I have is something that every student of a second language should have. That is about not being able to hear the difference between similar sounds, because of the first language. For ...
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  • 111
10 votes
2 answers
254 views

Is there a web site for minimal pairs in arbitrary languages?

Gabriel Wyner puts a strong emphasis on studying minimal pairs to improve pronunciation. But I have yet to find a good resource for actually finding minimal pair lists. It seems I'm not alone. When ...
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  • 5,042
10 votes
2 answers
228 views

How to teach someone to correctly pronounce tones in tonal languages such as Standard Chinese?

I regularly meet with a small group of other learners of Standard Chinese. They have been learning Chinese for several years, though not as long as me. One of their problems is pronunciation, ...
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  • 19.3k
10 votes
1 answer
100 views

How to speak a language that makes phonemic distinctions between /a/ and /aː/ if you're having trouble with /a/ and /aː/?

Title says it all. I'm talking specifically about Central Yiddish אַ = /a/ vs. ײַ = /aː/. My native language is American English.
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  • 101
10 votes
0 answers
2k views

Mastering both the French r and the German r

I have a high level in German and French, but I use a uvular /ʁ/ in French and an alveolar /r/ in German (and in Dutch, my native language). In German, the alveolar /r/ is mainly used in Bavaria and ...
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  • 19.3k
9 votes
2 answers
163 views

How can one learn a language with unpredictable pronunciation?

I've always preferred languages like Spanish, German, Japanese, with pronunciations that you can easily predict (yeah, German has a few irregularities, but they're not that numerous, the only major ...
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9 votes
1 answer
133 views

What is the name of this particular language learning class (technique)?

Back in 1988 or 1989, I took a three month French immersion program at the University of Tours. We had classes in reading, grammar, writing, etc. Amongst the various classes there was one that stood ...
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9 votes
1 answer
74 views

Standardized Phonemes and Pronunciation

I want to start from the most fundamental and hard problem to me (and maybe to everyone). Two years ago, I had started a project to teach English to non-natives only in English. Before, lots of them ...
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  • 191
9 votes
2 answers
138 views

Does a good pronunciation improve one's ability to learn a language?

My father is a native Spanish speaker. He struggles with English pronunciation, and even though he has studied many English courses, he seems to be stuck. Once I talked with a phonetics teacher, with ...
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8 votes
1 answer
168 views

How can I understand the difference between the 'D' sound and 'T' sound?

I have started learning English. Currently, I can't understand the difference between the 'D' sound and the 'T' sound while listening to someone speaking or in audio. How can I learn how to ...
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  • 81
8 votes
1 answer
146 views

Is it possible for an adult to learn sounds of completely unrelated languages they have never heard before?

I once spent nearly an hour trying to show five Korean and Japanese adults the difference between English… British… European, come to that… “L” and “R” and not one of them could hear it, though we ...
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  • 271
8 votes
2 answers
150 views

Even if the pronunciation and the alphabet don't correspond to each other, is phonics effective?

Phonics, a method of correlating sounds in a language to letters or groups of letters, is often used to learn proper pronunciation of words in a language. However, in the case that a language's ...
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  • 645
7 votes
1 answer
108 views

Is passive learning effective for learning pronunciation?

Background I am currently trying to learn new languages. Question I've heard of this method calling passive learning for language learning. However, there are many articles that say it's useless (...
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7 votes
1 answer
224 views

The "gaps" between words in English

I am currently learning a language that does not have "gaps" in between words (Telugu). What is a "gap"? Many Telugu speakers, and Spanish or Italian speakers, perceive gaps or stops in between the ...
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7 votes
2 answers
872 views

Spanish audio or video resources to practise shadowing

I am looking for audio and/or video resources in Spanish (as spoken in Spain, not Latin America) to practise shadowing. Shadowing is a technique that involves listening to audio and simultaneously ...
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  • 19.3k
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

How can one learn English stress-timed rhythm?

In a talk about the future of Englishes, the linguist David Crystal mentions that (British) English traditionally has a stress-timed rhythm. In some (most?) countries where English is taught, teachers ...
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  • 19.3k
7 votes
2 answers
455 views

Is shadowing really a technique for interpreter trainees?

Shadowing is a technique for improving pronunciation popularised by the polyglot Alexander Arguelles. There are many YouTube videos about the technique; most of them don't demonstrate shadowing in the ...
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  • 19.3k
7 votes
1 answer
126 views

How to teach someone to correctly pronounce unaspirated t and p in Standard Chinese?

Some languages, such an English and German, make a distinction between the aspirated voiced consonants pʰ and tʰ on the one hand and the unaspirated voiced b and d on the other. Standard Chinese by ...
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  • 19.3k
6 votes
1 answer
62 views

Learning Tahitian, having issues with comprehension

I'm taking a class at my school in Tahitian, it is the beginning level. However, I am having trouble with understanding and memorizing the words. I am a native English speaker and know Mandarin to a ...
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  • 283
6 votes
2 answers
182 views

How can I remember the pronunciation of Danish words?

I've been studying Danish for 6 days. I can have an easy conversation and ask some basic questions like: hvad koster det? (How much does this cost?). Anyway, I have a big problem: I can't remember ...
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  • 63
6 votes
2 answers
233 views

Modern Hebrew alphabet pronunciation of י, ד, and ק?

Most letters in the Hebrew alphabet have only one pronunciation, but there are a few with two potential pronunciations. I know that both are acceptable, but how are Israeli kids taught to pronounce ...
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  • 5,016
6 votes
1 answer
133 views

What does "linking" mean?

When I am learning about pronunciation of English, I found a word called linking. The word seems about pronunciation. What is linking? And how can I learn correct linking in pronunciation?
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  • 645
6 votes
2 answers
136 views

How can I avoid the huge gap between paper and oral skills?

I learned four foreign languages but all of them have one thing in common; reading is the best and writing follows it, and then after the huge gap come listening and speaking. My reading and speaking ...
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  • 1,233
6 votes
1 answer
395 views

What is the impact of the new CEFR descriptors on learning the pronunciation of a foreign language?

Earlier this year, the Council of Europe publsihed an update to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or CEFR, more specifically the CEFR's Companion Volume. There was even a ...
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  • 19.3k
6 votes
0 answers
41 views

Where to find computer aided tools to improve French pronunciation?

I have heard of Elsaspeak which is an AI software to correct English pronunciation. Does something like this exist for French as well? If not, what would be a good computer based method to improve ...
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  • 161
5 votes
3 answers
233 views

Is it good practice to learn new foreign words with transcription in my native language?

For example, the English kitchen [китчен]. Is this way suitable for children?
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5 votes
3 answers
897 views

Is there a browser extension to pronounce the words?

I might be missing some cool tools: Are there browser extensions to pronounce the words in some/several languages? I know I can select a word, right-click, search, get dictionary result, and click on ...
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5 votes
1 answer
82 views

Are minimal pairs for learners of a given L2 independent of their L1?

As mentioned in this question, Gabriel Wyner attaches a lot of importance to minimal pairs in the early stages of learning of foreign language. Gabriel Wyner is a native speaker of English, and his ...
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  • 19.3k
5 votes
2 answers
182 views

How to understand German when listening to a native German person?

I'm learning German on Duolingo also watching Learn German on YouTube, and I've completed the 1st phase (the basics). There are probably 6-7 phases of total in the app. But I don't wanted to depend on ...
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5 votes
2 answers
46 views

How to find correct pronunciations for Portugal-Portuguese words and phrases?

I am going to Portugal soon to live for a couple of months and have a list of key phrases I think I'll be using a lot (a list of about 30 items). However I have been told that Google Translate only ...
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  • 151
5 votes
1 answer
78 views

How to learn correct pronunciation of phrases

Some dictionaries providing transcriptions for some words. Some online dictionaries even provide a sound file for a single word. However it is sometimes useful to have a source of a phrase pronounced ...
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5 votes
1 answer
137 views

What are some effective methods for improving one's accent?

I am a non-native English speaker. I've started learning the language roughly ten years ago, and have been practicing it ever since, be it through exposure to English-spoken content (movies, music, ...
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5 votes
1 answer
116 views

How can I make sure my pronunciation based on IPA is correct?

I have read this question and answers titled "How can I learn IPA?" and now start to (finally) learn IPA and phonetics. However, while the question asks about the way to learn the IPA, which focuses ...
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  • 1,233