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Good Pronunciation
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costas



Joined: 14 Jul 2003
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2003 2:32 pm    Post subject: Good Pronunciation Reply with quote

Hi all,

I would like to know what "having a good pronunciation" means.

Cheers
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sita



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2003 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

So would I!

I have a Mancunian accent.


Best wishes
Siān
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1372
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2003 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

Showing my ignorance here, Sita. What is a Manucunian accent?
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dduck



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 265

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2003 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought you were Welsh?

The answer to the question isn't easy, because there are so many different perspectives involved. Socially and culturally, the RP accent in Britain was considered the only correct accent, all else was considered bad. In modern Britain, this belief is widely discounted. Indeed, phycologists have been research how the British people react to different accents. For example, the Scots accent is considered to be the most trustworthy, amongst other things apparently:

Nessie's Loch Ness Times wrote:
Talk of the Town
We've all been saying it for years and now it's official - the Scots accent is the sexiest in Britain. Almost a third of young Brits would much rather hear a Scot's dulcet tones on the phone than any other accent, a new survey reveals. The dialect was favourite with 29 per cent of voters. Fifteen per cent said Glaswegians are the sexiest sounding Scots, while only 11 per cent preferred the Edinburgh twang - despite Sir Sean Connery's famous sexy voice. More than 1000 youngsters were polled by youth info website TheSite.org. Marketing Director Jamie Thomas said: "I'm sure the recent popularity of such popular heroes as Ewan McGregor had an influence. "But it just goes to show Britain's youth are becoming more cosmopolitan." The "slow, frustrating" Midlands drawl was voted the worst in the UK, with the Birmingham accent the biggest turn off. But it seems Scots' looks can't match their accents as Londoners were voted best looking while Liverpudlians were said to be the ugliest.


Iain Wink
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dduck



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 265

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2003 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lorikeet wrote:
Hi!

Showing my ignorance here, Sita. What is a Manucunian accent?


Oasis are Mancunian; they come from Manchester.

Iain
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wjserson



Joined: 14 May 2003
Posts: 175
Location: Ottawa

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2003 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I could find a proper definition for such a term, but because it remains so subjective it's almost impossible to define. Everybody has an idea of what they perceive as "having good pronunciation", but I'm not even sure whether it can be truly explained (?)

I agree with dduck that sometimes certain accents are [url]perceived[/url] as "better" or "good" but it's all in their head. I could easily say that Prince Charles speaks with 'excellent prononciation' and that Bush doesn't, but what am I basing that on? Nothing scientific or founded. So it remains only that : personal opinion with no concrete basis.
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costas



Joined: 14 Jul 2003
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2003 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all,

Thanks for your answers. I asked you this question because of I was practicing my pronunciation through both a CD and a book, and it turns out that in the preface it is said "do you want to sound as much like a native speaker as possible... , and have a good pronunciation..,etc". Then after hearing the CD I thought of this sentence and concluded that there were many native speakers did not sound like the CD and hence they had a bad pronunciation.

For example, there are Scots who pronounce "time" like"tame" and "about" like "aboot" and I don't think that it can be considered as a mistake. Does it mean that you teachers accept a "professional" pronunciation different from your dialects?

Cheers
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dduck



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 265

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2003 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

costas wrote:
For example, there are Scots who pronounce "time" like"tame" and "about" like "aboot" and I don't think that it can be considered as a mistake. Does it mean that you teachers accept a "professional" pronunciation different from your dialects?


I think it's true that most people who spend a lot of time amongst non-native speakers are going to modify the way they speak so as to be understood better. It also happens sometimes amongst native speakers, for example, when someone from the North starts working in the South. Sometimes, it happens through conscious effort, othertimes people just assimilate speach patterns from those around us.

Iain
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sita



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2003 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

I am Welsh!

But I lived in Manchester for a while and thus adopted this accent Very Happy

Siān
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wjserson



Joined: 14 May 2003
Posts: 175
Location: Ottawa

PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2003 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also Costas, the term "Good Pronunciation" can sometimes be misunderstood to mean "clear speaking" which is something anybody can obtain, no matter where they come from or whether or not they speak English as a foreign/second language (especially on the packaging of a language book and it's accompanying CD) Very Happy
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Casiopea



Joined: 08 Sep 2003
Posts: 20
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 11:41 am    Post subject: pronunciation, too, is marketed Reply with quote

Well, one way to determine whether a given pronunciation is either acceptable or unacceptable is to listen to speakers, both native and non-native who speak your own native language. If said speaker's pronunication is intelligible (able to be understood), then her pronunciation is deemed acceptable. If, however, said speaker's pronunication is unintelligible (unable to be understood), then her pronunciation is deemed unacceptable.

Pronunciation acceptability issues are relative. If you speak the so-called "standard" then your judgements of others' pronunication will be based on your knowledge of what you deem as acceptable. The same is true for all languages, including English.

Step clear of terms like 'good' and 'bad' as they are subjective; moreover, they have no real contribution when it comes to gaining a better understanding of how to be an effective speaker of a given language, because pronunciation will vary according to country, state, province, education and social class, and more. Since pronunciation is so highly variable, labelling it as either be 'good' or 'bad' requires a benchmark. 'Good' based on what? 'Bad' based on what? Yes, it is a terribly subjective area.

If the CD you bought promises "good pronunciation", then you may want to call up the publisher and ask them what they consider to be 'good pronunciation'. You may find that they are referring to a certain dialect of English. And yes, like all other "brands" on the market, pronunciation, too, is marketed on the basis of its popularity. That is, we are the ones that buy the brand; we contribute to its popularity and its subsequent higher demand.

As far as EFL teachers are concerned, a given student's pronunication, no matter how deeply accented, is considered 'good' if it's effective (understandable). If you are learning English in Scotland, then what's deemed as effective English communication there will no doubt differ from what's considered effective English communucation in India.

Take responsiblity for your purchase by doing some market research. What brand of pronunciation are you looking for? Will it suit your communication needs? Where will you be using your product? To whom will you be communicating with? What's the best product for you and your circumstances? You be the judge. Asking others what they think, too, is, also a nice step in the right direction.

All the best,

Casio
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wjserson



Joined: 14 May 2003
Posts: 175
Location: Ottawa

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's good idea to stay away from terms such as "good" and "bad" when referring to pronunciation. It's equally as good an idea to stay away from ones like "acceptable" and "unacceptable".

"If said speaker's pronunication is intelligible (able to be understood), then her pronunciation is deemed acceptable. If, however, said speaker's pronunication is unintelligible (unable to be understood), then her pronunciation is deemed unacceptable."

As dduck has implied several times throughout these discussions, Scots isn't usually considered "intelligible" by others outside a certain limited region of speakers, especially in the case of certain TV shows that required subtitles to clarify what the actors were saying in Scots. If I don't understand what your saying, Casio, it doesn't mean your pronunciation should be deemed "unacceptable", does it?
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Casiopea



Joined: 08 Sep 2003
Posts: 20
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I completely agree. However, if you're going to axe the terminology at least provide better alternatives. Wink

I'm not sure how the Scots TV show relates. Sorry Embarassed

Quote:
If I don't understand what you're saying, Casio, it doesn't mean your pronunciation should be deemed "unacceptable", does it?


Well, actually, that's my point. Very Happy

All the best,

Casiopea Smile [/quote]
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wjserson



Joined: 14 May 2003
Posts: 175
Location: Ottawa

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Better alternatives : How about "different" or "contrasting pronunciations", terms that don't make one pronunciation or another sound inferior or less "acceptable?

Usually, when linguists discuss accents and pronunciations, they when two types aren't mutually comprehensible, they remain just that. There's never a need to call one acceptable" or not. The "axing" of one group of terms is perfectly fine in my point of view. Good, bad, acceptable or not do not need to be used at all, do they? Wink

Your point was that "good" and "bad" were words to "step clear of" but I think all these adjs are prejudicial, subjective, and are unfounded.
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Estelle Angelinas



Joined: 25 Nov 2003
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 4:08 pm    Post subject: correct pronunciation Reply with quote

Is there such a thing as correct pronunciaton? That is a question many of my students ask me. I tend to believe that there are as many pronunciations or accents as there are speakers of the language. Since English is spoken almost everywhere, you are bound to have many different pronunciations of it. I believe that it doesn't matter as long as you speak clearly so that others understand you. I am from the United States so I have an American accent. I have been in Greece for 23 years, and even though I speak Greek well, I still have an American accent. So what! Don't worry about it. Sincerely, Costadina
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