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Don’t be shy

There was an interesting piece on pronunciation in last week’s roundup, and it reminded me of something I’d seen on the Guardian Mind your Language blog, about English language learners being too shy to speak. It’s an age-old problem: students don’t want to make themselves look silly by mispronouncing things, so they stay quiet. I spent my first few weeks in Colombia in silence, after someone laughed at my pronunciation of Valencia (said with the Peninsular -th sound – Valenthia – instead of the Colombian -z), so I could totally sympathize with my students, months later, who resisted practising their English out loud. As Adrian says, however, there’s a lot more to correct pronunciation than not being laughed at, so it’s worth persevering; getting the pronunciation right will definitely help the learning experience.

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Sharon Creese

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