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Quick Tip for Learning Pronunciation

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Posted (edited)

Edit: Excuse the formatting. The Korean appears to be messing with it. -___-;

It helps immensely if you start at the end of the word, then work backwards. I don't know why this happens, but I suppose it forces you to parse the individual phonemes in the word, rather than processing the whole word. Perhaps the brain can't help but attempt to read the whole word when you work forward. You can even break down syllables this way if this is relevant to the phonetics of your language.

Also, please do not use the Latin alphabet if your language uses something else. You should be learning the script on day 1. Romanization will only serve to hold you back in reading, writing, and proper pronunciation.

I recently started learning Korean, so let's use that as an example. This is one of the only times I'll use romanization:

Hello (formal) in Korean is

안녕하세요 which is approximately (an-nyung-ha-seh-yo). Start with

요 yo, then try to say

세요 se-yo, then say

하세요 ha-seh-yo, then

녕하세요 nyung-ha-seh-yo, then

안녕하세요 an-nyung-ha-seh-yo. If this is still too difficult, you can work backward 2 or 3 syllables, for example, then just say the next syllable alone, and start from there, then put the pieces together whenever you can. The point is to try to articulate segments of the word before trying to articulate the whole word.

There are 2 interesting syllables in this word:

녕하 nyung-ha. I've heard maybe 4 or 5 Korean natives slowly say this word syllable by syllable so far, then in a natural rhythm. I noticed a pattern. When they say each syllable alone, the nyung has a bit stronger ng sound, and the h in ha is stressed a bit more. Then when they say the word naturally, nyung-ha sounds closer to nyung-ah with a slight ng and a slight ha. So, when learning to pronounce this word, it's would be helpful when using the backwards method to pronounce it as if you were pronouncing it naturally. I would start with yo, then se-yo, then ha-seh-yo, then break away and try to say nyung-ha as if you were saying the whole word.

Edited by Michio

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