Today we look at another important aspects of learning a language and becoming fluent: PRONUNCIATION.
Pronunciation refers to how you reproduce the sounds of the foreign language, and, indirectly, to how natural and “authentic” you sound in the foreign language.
The SOUNDS of a language, along with the Vocabulary and the Grammar, make up the bulk of any language, so it is essential that you focus on them.
Pronunciation is the easiest to master.
No matter how difficult the sounds of a language are, they are definitely fewer in number than the words or the grammar rules of that language.
You must focus on getting those sounds right from the very beginning!
Find materials that “show” you the sounds of the language you are studying (for Italian just enrol in my Pronunciation course) and STUDY them until you can reproduce most of them.
Unlike English speakers, speakers of other languages are not used to hearing their native language spoken with a strong accent, so the chances of them not understanding you (despite your impeccable grammar and wide vocabulary) are very high.
Accents are not bad per se.
They are actually an amazing thing that people will love and appreciate. Accents tell our story so your goal is not, necessarily, to fool people into thinking you are a native speaker of their language.
Your goal is to have clear pronunciation to maximize communication.
Can you articulate them?
Are the sounds clear?
Are they similar to the native speaker?