Why pronunciation is important ?

Mina   Saturday, May 31, 2003, 20:31 GMT
I went to the US in 1996 for the first time. Whenever I spoke to a person in America, they kept asking me : "what ? what ?". I would repeat my sentence again and again. Finally, they would say "Ah-ha!" and then repeat my sentence, using exactly my words ! It was embarrassing...I knew my words and grammar were correct but noboday would understand me just because of my pronunciation. I am very motivated to learn Enlish and the right pronunciation and phonetics now.
Chantal   Saturday, May 31, 2003, 20:39 GMT
I meet many people with high level of grammar and vocabulary in Enlish at work. However, they can't express themselves correctly because of too many bad mistakes in pronunciation. I keep telling them that the key to the good comprehension and speaking in English is good pronunciation but they don't seem to be much worried about that.
hp20   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 01:43 GMT
what sort of accent do you have, mina? certain foreign accents over here are much more likely to be understood. anyways, you shouldn't feel embarassed about pronunciation--most people wouldn't even think to judge you on it and it's an obstacle that's natural enough. if you want to work on your pronunciation the obvious advice is to practice...even when you're alone, try talking to yourself. also, consider renting a movie that's in english and try mimicking the sounds of the actors...it might sound silly but when i try to speak french i try and imagine how the words would sound coming from a native speaker and try to imitate.
Kabam   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 01:59 GMT
That doesn't sound silly HP20. I do exactly the same in English.
And yes, I made most of my progress when I started thinking in English and watching movie in original version.
mike   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 15:15 GMT
the key to the good comprehension and speaking in English is good pronunciation

Why is that Chantal?
mike   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 15:24 GMT
From what I know, some people are born with a gift for good pronunciation and do not have much trouble pronouncing words the right way, but others are simply incorrigable learners unable to comprehend that a word should be pronounced this or that way. Try as they might they keep making the same mistakes. I'm fortunate enough to belong to the first group but sometimes I'm quite embarassed when someone from my country (Poland) speaks English with terrible pronunciation.
By the way, what nations of Europe have the best pronunciation skills? Would some Briton please answer the question?
hp20   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 15:39 GMT
i'm not british but scandinavian people usually speak impeccable english.
Kabam   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 15:47 GMT
I do not share your opinion, Mike. I think the more you work on your accent and pay attention to how a world should be pronouced, the more you progress. I can conclude that from my own experience, because I had a very bad accent when I used to learn English only at school. But since I decided to listen to the BBC, watch movies in original version, practise my pronouciation, etc, my accent has become much better.
This is only a matter of listening and working. Of course those who don't reaaly care about learning a language won't work a lot on their accent. And my country (France) is filled with people who have a very heavy accent when they speak in English, for the school teach us especially written English.
I don't believe either that some nations are more skilled to learn English than others, I just think some should rearrange the way English is taught at school (which include my country).
Excuse me if I am so radically against your view, but I think trying to tell which nation is the best at pronoucing is not really the point, since people who are here want to know how to progress. So they probably don't think there are unable to.
Kabam   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 15:49 GMT
This said, I find many germans have a good pronouciation.
Kabam   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 15:52 GMT
- how a WORD should be pronouced. not a "world".
- really rather than reaaly.
larry   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 17:45 GMT
The Scandinavian and Dutch are very lucky since English is very closed to their own languages, so I don't consider it does not have a lot of merit that they can pronounce English well. It's instead much more complicated for both the Japanese and Koreans for example.
Chantal   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 18:42 GMT
to Mike

Well, I mean with all the good vocabulary and grammar, if you don't pronounce correctly you can't be understood by others.
I work mainly with French people. There're those -less among younger generations- who pronounce almost every English word as they were French words. You may know that French and English have many common words. However, the way these words are pornounced in each language is quite different.
For instance, double/double, situation/situation, noble/noble, triangle/triangle and many more.
Mina   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 19:09 GMT
To hp20
Many thanks for your good advice

I don't have a heavy accent comparing to my French school mates and since that time my accent has been improved a lot. I took some lessons for accent and I listen to the BBC and CNN every day. I watch Enlish movies in Enlish and not dubbed.
The difficulties I was dealing with were sometimes because I laid the stress on the wrong syllable. like in "strategic" the stress falls on the second syllable and not the first one.
I am not always quite sure of the accuracy of my prononunciation and stress and phonetics but I a
Mina   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 19:16 GMT
ooops ! I sent my message by mistake before I had finished.

....but I am more confident than before and that helps me to speak more.
Tulip   Sunday, June 01, 2003, 19:28 GMT
tO hp20

True ! scandinavian people usually speak impeccable english.
But do you know why ? they learn English form an early age, from kindergarten not like in Italy from the age of 6 or like in France from the age of 9 or 10. They watch English movies and Enlish cartoons in English not dubbed or subtitled.
In my opinion, the French or the Italian would have learnt English as well as the scandinavian if they had heard or practiced English from an early age. !Do you agree with me ?