Correct pronunciation in English can be tricky. Sometimes, two words that are spelled completely differently are pronounced exactly the same way (such as “write” and “right”). Then there are words that are spelled the same way, but are pronounced differently (such as the verb “read,” which can be pronounced “reed” or “red” depending on whether it’s used in the present or past tense).
These rules can definitely feel confusing. But the good news is that English pronunciation isn’t as challenging as it may appear. Attending an ESL school in Canada is an especially effective way of overcoming the most common pronunciation mistakes. Here’s how.
ESL school can help you spot letters that have more than one pronunciation
The English alphabet has 26 letters, but there are actually 40 different sounds (called phonemes) in the English language. This means that some letters have more than one sound. The letter “c,” for example, can have a hard sound that’s similar to a “k,” such as in the word “cat.” At the same time, it can also have a softer sound that’s close to an “s,” such as in the word “ceiling.” These different sounds for just one letter can be easy to miss if you’re learning English at home out of a book. However, if you’re studying in a classroom with a native English teacher, they’ll be able to spot when you’re pronouncing certain words incorrectly.
Studying in Canada can help you get used to English’s more unusual sounds
Some sounds in English are unusual and don’t appear in many other languages. One of the most difficult of these is the “th” sound. While challenging for many, this is a very common sound in English. It shows up in important words such as “the,” “this,” “that,” and “thing.” Mastering the “th” sound is definitely a challenge, so don’t get frustrated if you have trouble with it. Even young children who are native English speakers often have difficulty with it.
While most people will still be able to understand you if you have trouble with the “th” sound, you should try to master it as best you can. This is usually easier to do if you live in an English-speaking country. Unlike in your home country, where the “th” sound may be unusual, when you study English in Canada, you’ll be hearing and speaking English every day. As a result, you can get used to hearing the “th” and other unique English sounds, which will help you get used to using them yourself.
ESL school will help you feel comfortable making pronunciation mistakes
The best way to learn how to speak English is to actually speak it. That can be intimidating since English isn’t your mother tongue. However, by being in an ESL school where everybody else is a language learner, you’ll feel much more comfortable practising your English pronunciation. In fact, at CultureWorks you can even take elective courses such as Pronunciation & Conversation, where you can focus on improving your English abilities. In these courses, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes. By making mistakes and learning from them, your pronunciation will get better!
Do you want to learn English in Canada?
Contact CultureWorks to learn about our English as a second language program.