Are Accent and Pronunciation the Key to Fluency?
- December 5, 2020
- Posted by: Shannon Amaadar
- Category: Uncategorized
I often hear my students asking to practice better pronunciation. Some seeking out teachers with specific accents thinking this is the key to fluency. But what if I told you that fluency has nothing to do with what you sound like? Some teacher might argue that this is a false statement, or completely unbelievable. When you think about the purpose of language, you begin to see things a little differently.
The great thinkers and lecturers in many disciplines all have different accents. Whether it’s the great philosopher, Noam Chompsky’s American accent or Lawyer and human rights activist Amal Alamuddin Clooney’s British sounding speech, the fact is, English doesn’t actually have an “English sound”. In fact, many people from around the world who give talks and lectures sound intelligent and powerful and well-spoken.
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In my opinion, the most important thing in English fluency is your confidence in what you are saying. Know your topic, don’t be afraid of mistakes and feel the language. The Ted Talk “The Revolutionary Power of Diverse Thought” Elif Shafak talks about how language shapes her thoughts and feelings about her homeland, Turkey. She is passionate about her subject and so her accent and slight grammar mistakes don’t make her sound less intelligent or less fluent. When watching this talk, I am drawn into her feelings and listen intently to every accented word.
So don’t worry about how much you sound like the American or Australian actors you try to emulate and pay closer attention to how the language makes you feel. Practice clarity and confidence and you will sound just as articulate as a native speaker.