Friday, January 22, 2021

The Sounds of English Language: Exam Preparation, Interviews, Group Discussions





The two primordial urges of man are to hunt for food and to show himself or herself to attract mates. These two urges are used by the modern man to find success and win elected contests in the new world. It is Sigmund Freud might say, a drive substantiates all our efforts to shine brighter than others in our field of activity. It could be the proverbial “pleasure principle”. It could also be the drive to influence others (mates, in the primordial context). 


If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you must have come across my previous article. In the article, I discuss the vocabulary and pronunciation of the English language. The discussion stems from a question: Which is the best way to develop vocabulary? The answer was that it is important not just to build a vocabulary or to learn the meaning of new words, but also to learn how to pronounce these new words. In this article, we will discuss how to master your spoken English language skills. 


The spoken language requires an evolved vocabulary if one wants to win exams and succeed in interviews. Along with the knowledge of words, a knowledge of how to articulate them is also essential. The accent of your speech will decide if you’d be able to impress your peers or qualify interviews like a breeze. Mostly, for group discussions and interviews, this method of learning new words, that is, learning not just the meaning but also the pronunciation, will be a leverage for candidates. 


Most learners of the English language, especially non-native speakers of the English language come across a puzzling juncture- how to master the pronunciation of the English language? The neutralized accent is the part that one needs to work for in one’s pronunciation and not the Received Pronunciation standard, which may sound odd and confusing in the long run. Usually, every English language learner who is a non-native speaker of English faces the daunting task of defenestrating the phonological influence of the mother tongue of the learner. It is also a process of unlearning. At this point, one may feel like it’s rejecting our mother tongue. No, it’s not a rejection of mother tongue, but it’s a re-learning of mother tongue with special focus on where to limit the sounds of the mother tongue when speaking in the English language. 


There is another way, an easier one to master English language speaking skill with a neutral accent. The best method to speak with a good accent is to learn all the sounds in their standard RP pronunciation. This is true about learning any language. In the case of the English language, there are 44 sounds. If you practice these 44 sounds, learn how to pronounce them, you can improve your accent. However, this may not be enough. Along with using the sounds that are part of the International English Phonetic Alphabet, there is also a need to differentiate between Malayalam speech sounds and English speech sounds. One should not use Malayalam speech sounds to articulate English words or sentences. This will radically transform how you speak in the English language. 


I have made a short video on this subject. It’s available on my channel on Youtube, Lit Craft Tech by Anu Lal. Access it for a better grasp about how to learn spoken English well. 


You have learned that there are 44 sounds in the English language. These are 44 speech sounds, meaning, sounds that help us speak. Similarly, there are speech sounds in our mother tongue. If we use the speech sounds of our mother tongue to speak in the English language, we will pronounce words wrongly. It is quite a cognate of jumbling up speech sounds. So next time, focus especially on how to pronounce words also. Just by strictly adhering to the basic speech sounds of the English language would help us present our language neatly. If you could not learn the correct pronunciation of all the words in your vocabulary, there is no need to worry. Just choose from the 44 sounds whenever you say something in English.