I spent a week improving the pronunciation section of How to learn English. The main pronunciation page now contains more concrete advice.
I plan to make several updates to the pronunciation section in the near future. Here’s the first one: Learn to pronounce English words as soon as possible. The gist of the article is that you shouldn’t put off studying English pronunciation because doing so puts you at risk of developing fossilized mistakes (bad habits). The article also explains the concept of “getting it right in your head” when pronouncing English words.
sergey90 Nov 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm
I’ve learned to read the IPA. I always look up English words in the dictionary and I try to pronounce them correctly. That activity quickly turned into a problem for me though. It now occupies most of the time and effort I spend on learning English. I literally became obsessed with it. And it’s certainly not a good thing. Although my pronunciation got better, my overall English skills haven’t improved much at all. Learning English pronunciation didn’t help me to pick up a good command of the language. So, I think it’s really important to keep a balance in things. I talked to a few native English speakers, but I could only manage bullshit talks. I often couldn’t explain even the most simple stuff quickly and naturally.
I think in order to speak English well, not only do you need good pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary +a lot of practice, but you also need a lot of free time. If somebody really wants to learn English well, they’ll probably have to learn it full-time. This kind of commitment is impossible for most people and still, there’s no guarantee.
I don’t want to come off as a douche for saying that, but I think Tom gives false hope to many people(even if unintentionally so) by saying that: “You can learn fluent English in three years without taking English classes or going to an English-speaking country.” Afterall, he seems to be way more smarter than the Average Joe and has greater insight into how things work in general. When reading about how he learned English I couldn’t stop wondering how he had so many things figured out when he was so young. What I’m trying to say is that Tom has definitely got talent. While on the other hand, I’m just an ordinary guy who doesn’t have any particular knack for anything and I’m 21 yo. I’ve been learning English for over a year now, but if I had to sit the TOEFL test and give a speech on an unfamiliar topic I would have no idea what to say. I think my English will never be native-like fluent, no matter how hard I’ll try learning English pronunciation. I also think my English is fossilized, because I didn’t start learning it as a kid.
Asad Nov 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm
@sergey — Haha. One year learning and awesome written English. Wow. I hope you were bluffing with your above comment.
Tom is a highly motivated guy. Not everyone can have the same motivation for learning things on a consistent basis.
So,yeah, Kudos to him.
Radek Nov 7, 2011 at 5:35 pm
I am going to study a nursing,but propably I will not be able to study by Sep 2012. I have been ocet 4 years in the U.K and have no money for an english course. Pronunciaton is not Easy. What should I do Tom if I would like to improve my English a bit faster?