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Pronunciation and Improving Your Vocabulary

» Pronunciation and Improving Your Vocabulary

February 20th, 2008 by admin

By Jarred Tompkins

Mastery of pronunciation is difficult because pronunciation cannot be reduced to a set of definite rules. The English language as we have it today has been built up from many sources, affected by innumerable influences. General rules and principles have been drawn up you will find them at the beginning of some dictionaries.

Furthermore, pronunciation is always changing. Fashions come and pass away. Some years ago museum was accented on the first syllable museum. The word interesting was accented on the third syllable, interesting. The vowel sound of deaf is now sounded like the e in get, but generations ago it was generally sounded like the c in reef.

The first step in the study of pronunciation is to get a good dictionary and form the habit of referring to it constantly. Notice the speech of the people you meet. When you catch a pronunciation that sounds strange to you, look it up in the dictionary. If you find that it has dictionary authority behind it, adopt it, and use the word two or three times in conversation to fix it in memory.

If you can do so, have a good dictionary at hand, perhaps the unabridged form of one and the smaller form of the other, or perhaps both in the smaller size. There are many words one writer says 2,000 or more as to the pronunciation of which the dictionaries disagree. This is due to the complexity and variety of custom. It is impossible in any dictionary to take account of all the variations. As the users of a dictionary desire some uniform guide, the editorial staff have to work out general principles and apply them as consistently as they can, but another group of editors may decide differently.

When the authorities disagree you must use your own judgment. To follow the custom of the persons among your acquaintances who talk best is a safe rule.

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English Pronunciation

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