PHONICS means SOUNDS
How Not to Learn English
When trying to learn English students are often misled in their quest to become fluent English speakers. Often they are being taught by tutors who do not have experience as an English teacher. They have not been trained in pronunciation. Having learned the language as a native English speaker they can speak clearly, but have no idea how to teach non-English speakers to speak clearly.
This lack of training results in slow progress and frustration for the student. The student has no way to know that the tutor does not know how to properly instruct them. As a result, their learning process is slow and frustrating. Other students, being taught by a trained teacher, seem to progress more quickly. This in turn leads to feelings of awkwardness and inferiority for the student. They are often tempted to give up believing that they will never master the English language and become fluent.
How did native English speakers learn to be fluent in English?
As babies, no matter what language is being spoken around us, we hear the sounds of the language and at first we imitate the sounds we hear. Sounds such as Da and Mom are usually the first sounds we hear, and imitate. We do not even know what they mean at that time. We are just imitating the sounds we hear. The words and meanings come later. Repetition by our parents teaches us how to make the sounds. Repetition is how you will learn to make the sounds correctly.
Learning sounds is called Phonics. Phonics is how most children in the primary school grades are taught the language. And Phonics is how you will learn this language quickest. Before the stereo system, commonly used for music playback, was invented we played our music records on a phonograph. Phono, meaning sound. And the graph, was the groves in the record which the music was embedded into. Phonograph. A sound player.
To learn new sounds can feel uncomfortable and even embarrassing to a student. Students feel embarrassed to attempt to make new sounds which are uncomfortable for their mouths to produce. Holding the tongue in an unfamiliar position. Pursing the lips like they are about to kiss someone. Growling like a lion to imitate the R sound. All of these practices require students to do what feels uncomfortable and embarrassing. They know they do not sound like a native English speaker.
Only a trained teacher can instruct you on how to make these new sounds. And without the ability to make the sounds, you will never sound like a native English speaker. To be fluent in English requires the ability to say English words clearly. And to say English words clearly requires the ability to make the sounds.
So step number 1 is to find a good English teacher. Step number two is to listen closely to the teacher and allow yourself to practice with your teacher to make the sounds. Do not be shy! Your teacher is there to help you learn English. They are not there to laugh and make fun of you. Believe me, an English teacher knows how hard it is to learn the English language. They appreciate your hard work.
So practice in front of a mirror if you need to. How to hold your tongue; How to purse your lips; Where to put your tongue; What to do with your lips; all of these positions enable you to make different sounds, and all words are made up of sounds.
Go to “Phonics” to watch videos and practice the sounds that will lead you to be fluent in English.