As any teacher of English as a foreign language will tell you, teaching pronunciation isn’t easy. When it comes to replacing one sound system with another, it’s difficult to change the habits of a lifetime. So it’s no surprise that, even in the most fluent of English learners, with very few exceptions, there remain traces of the speaker’s first language in their English accent. There was a time when that ‘foreign accent' was something learners wanted to eradicate. These days, teachers tend to be more relaxed about residual accents – as long as they don’t interfere with intelligibility – and learners are gradually coming to realize that they can be proud of them.

Just as native speakers of English are happy to ‘sound British, American, Australian ...’, so second-language learners can feel happy to ‘sound French, German, Japanese’ and so on – again as long as their speech is easily intelligible. Diversity is part of the richness of language, and there is no reason why this should be restricted to native speakers. It’s an inevitable consequence of a language being used globally that there will be an increase in the number of identifiable accents reflecting the countries of origin.

(0) as

(1) difficult

(2) even

(3) first, or native

(4) something or what

(5) long

(6) of

(7) English

(8) so

(9) reason

(10) number, or amount

Forensic phonetics may be the most obvious example of interest in the personal properties of pronunciation, and the one that attracts most public interest; but it is by no means the only one. Speech therapists also deal with pronunciation individually. A wide range of medical and psychological conditions can result in speakers developing an abnormal voice quality, having difficulties in articulation, or using a set of sounds that is so different from normal speech that it interferes with their intelligibility or makes them stand out in a way that they find unpleasant or upsetting. An obvious example is stammering. Another is the slurred speech that can come from some form of paralysis affecting one or more of the vocal organs. Another is the breathy voice that can be the result of abnormal growths on the vocal folds that prevent them closing properly.

Ultime modifiche: giovedì, 7 novembre 2019, 08:46