What is good pronunciation?

Language police   Wednesday, August 20, 2003, 02:36 GMT
As title.
Michal Ryszard Wojcik   Wednesday, August 20, 2003, 06:14 GMT
In the beginning, without final precision, perhaps missing something crucial:

(1) to be understood by all English speakers who understand BBC and CNN
(2) to be easily understood, without anybody needing to get used to your pronunciation.
Language Police   Wednesday, August 20, 2003, 06:33 GMT
Then I am afraid that by critirium #2 a large part of the British population do not have good pronunciation.

What if I say I have to get used to your pronunciation?
Ryan   Wednesday, August 20, 2003, 18:22 GMT
Many American speakers do not feel the need to be understood by any who speak the English language, especially if they are from foreign countries. Americans learn to understand African-American English because we are exposed to it quite a bit as residents here. Just because people from other countries come over here and can't understand it does not mean it is bad English. It just takes getting used to is all. The same for regional accents such as Southern English. I think people should learn to adjust to accents more rather than everybody having to speak the same boring accent.

Michal Ryszard Wojcik   Thursday, August 21, 2003, 06:39 GMT
Language police is right that my simple definition rules out many native speakers as having "good pronunciation". I suggest to rename the term as "universal pronunciation". Then it shouldn't bother anyone that some native speakers do not have universal pronunciation.

In response to the question on this forum, which is for English learners, about what is good pronunciation, I purposefully answered by writing what is "universal pronunciation" because in my opinion this is the concept that is relevant for English learners.

If the term "good pronunciation" is required to encompass all native speakers of English, then I consider it a useless concept from the viewpoint of English learners.

Ryan, please notice that there can be huge variation within "universal pronunciation" and not necessarily one boring accent.
Pete   Friday, August 22, 2003, 13:05 GMT
I personally believe that there should be nothing wrong with an accent as it is closely related to your voice-which can be little done about-however, there is nothing wrong with speaking and trying to pronounce words properly.
Michal Ryszard Wojcik   Saturday, August 23, 2003, 05:55 GMT
I believe that within the constraints of one's voice and the influence of one's native language it is still possible for everybody to develop a universal accent - not necessarily anything like a native accent - just an accent satisfying the definition.

The first step is acquainting oneself with the sounds of English - phonetic transcription is the way to go. Those learners who still haven't learned the phonetic alphabet really should not worry about their accent being too heavy or to much influenced by their native language.

In my opinion, such learners are in a state of phonetic ignorance which is reflected in their accent. Take one step - drag yourself out of ignorance - and your accent will dramatically improve - this is my practice with Polish students whom I taught English pronunciation.
Hythloday   Sunday, August 24, 2003, 18:11 GMT
Can you explain what you mean by the word 'properly' in your last post, Pete? It is not a recognised linguistic term, and smacks of subjectivity if you don't mind me saying so..