Pronunciation in speaking is a very important skill apart from Listening,Writing and Reading. The way you pronounce will be the first thing to impress someone you talk to. I’m sure everyone’ll expect a smooth conversation with foreigners rather than being interrupted by “I beg your pardon?” when they can’t understand you.

Unfortunately, we don’t quite learn speaking skill and pronunciation much at school, do we? So I hope these few notes will help you realizeif anything’s wrong with your current pronunciation and improve your speaking skill. A convenient thing about speaking skill is that you can practice it anytime, anywhere so “Keep Calm and Keep Practicing”.

“Non Traditional English” – George T.Dragin

The first few things:

IAMBICSin which a strong sound is followed by a weak sound: a long sound followed by a short sound.

To make things simple, “iambics” is the way you stress a word and read it with certain length. It’s a bit like you’re reading a poem.

Ex:  diversion will be read as “đàiiiii verrrr sầnnnnn” (a little exaggerated here so you’ll get the point).

A big mistake Vietnamese usually make is to speak too fast and too short. It’s because our language has marks like “ huyền, sắc, hỏi, ngã, nặng” so we don’t have to stress the words. But English doesn’t have marks so we must stress the words or the pronunciation will sound like a robot. Most people will probably pronounce diversion as“đai ver sần”. It’ll sound very flat and difficult for foreigners to understand.

LIAISON: The way the first sound of a word is affected by and connected to the final sound of the word before it.

This is the connections between words, it may sounds weird to us but it makes your speaking much better and more seamlessly. Ex: sounds_of_a word

RHYTHM:Pretty much self-explanation. In a sentence you must emphasize some words to demonstrate the main idea, in the whole sentence you have to go up and down while speaking too. Ex: Most questions will go up at the end of the sentences.

SYLLABLES: asingle unit of speech, either a whole word or one of the parts into which a word can be separated, usually containing a vowel

You should pronounce each syllables clearly Ex: water comprises “wa” and “ter”, some special word like hour,honour… first “h” is muted.

To be continued…

Nguyễn Việt Long- Member of Communication Department