It'll certainly be possible
to teach pronunciation through a properly designed
self-study course — especially to advanced learners.
But understand one thing here and now: The Fluentzy
system is not such a pronunciation course.
No, it isn’t. The self-study course you’ll be able
to do with the help of the Fluentzy books —
that self-study course is a fluency course.
It concentrates on fluency, and not on pronunciation
But don't think that the Fluentzy
system ignores pronunciation. The Fluentzy
system does give great importance to it. Yes,
the Fluentzy system teaches you a lot of things
that do have a lot to do with pronunciation. But you
know, the Fluentzy system does this from the
fluency development angle. You see, there are certain
aspects of pronunciation that can add to your fluency.
The Fluentzy system deals with those aspects
in depth — but only with those fluency-building aspects.
You see, 'connected speech production' is what the
Fluentzy system concentrates on, and not
the pronunciation of individual words.
And we're sure of one thing: Once
you complete a self-study course using the Fluentzy
books, your pronunciation also will have improved.
But this is only a beneficial spin-off from the Fluentzy
system — a secondary benefit. The chief effect of
the Fluentzy system will be on your level of
skill' is not the skill in speaking English
with a particular accent
Mind you, there is no
direct one-to-one relationship between pronunciation
and fluency. No, there isn't.
Thus, a person who can pronounce
English words exactly (as described in a dictionary)
need not be a fluent speaker. Similarly, a fluent
speaker of English need not be very good at pronouncing
English words exactly as described in a dictionary
- or like a BBC broadcaster or announcer. You become
fluent if you can speak English smoothly and continuously
— without hesitations bothering you. What you say
must also make sense. And of course, your speech units
must sound like English speech units - and not like
speech units in your mother tongue - so that your
addressees are able to understand you.
The point is this: A particular accent
or a distinctive mode of pronunciation is not
an element of the fluency skill. What is important
is the flavor of "Englishness". (We'll come
to this aspect in a minute).
As you know, the Fluentzy
books are meant for people who already have a reasonably
good knowledge of English. This means that people
who buy the Fluentzy books already know how
to pronounce most of the core English words acceptably
well. If they have any difficulty with the pronunciation
of a particular word, they can easily sort it out
with the help of a modern dictionary.
skill' is not the skill in speaking English
with a particular accent
Understand one thing:
No two people pronounce English exactly alike. No.
Neither in England nor in America - nor anywhere else
in the world.
Many people think that every English
word has a rigid and universally correct pronunciation.
But this is a wrong notion. First of all, in
connected speech, the shape of an English word often
varies considerably from verbal context to verbal
context, depending on the shapes of other words that
occur before it and after it and on other factors.
Secondly, English is pronounced differently by different
groups of people - and not in the same way.
You see, even in England, people pronounce English
differently in different areas. Similarly, people
in different parts of America also pronounce English
differently. And the way people pronounce English
in different parts of England is different from the
way people pronounce it in different parts of America.
Even within the same region in England or America,
people of different ages and different educational
backgrounds pronounce English differently. And within
the same locality, people from different social classes
speak English differently.
What we're trying to tell you is
this: Different groups of people speak English with
different accents - and not with the
same accent. That is, people belonging to each group
pronounce the words and word groups of the English
language in a distinctive way, and their pronunciation
shows which country or which part of a country or
which social class they come from.
Mind you, the things
I've said so far don't mean that you can pronounce
English in any way you please. No. You shouldn't let
your English sound like French or Hindi or Japanese
or Arabic. Your English must sound like English itself.
Yes, it should have a lot of 'Englishness' to it.
The Fluentzy books help you here.
You see, though English is pronounced
differently by different groups of people, there are
certain features that are common to fluent
English speech of all different accents. These common
factors do two things: First, they give Englishness
to your English and make your English sound differently
from all other languages. Second, they help
add to your fluency.
And so, the Fluentzy system
deals with these core aspects thoroughly and extensively.
And the Fluentzy books train you intensively
in them. And note this: There's nothing complicated
or difficult about learning these aspects or about
putting them to practical use. And they do not need
any involved demonstration. You can supplement your
learning by watching talks, interviews and commentaries
on the BBC, CNN, Star TV and other English channels,
and by listening to radio programmes broadcast by
the BBC and others. You'll also benefit a lot if you
watch English films and English TV serials. Of course,
at first, it won't be easy for you to follow and understand
the spoken content - especially, when you watch films
and serials. That's why you should learn fluency techniques
first. Once you learn fluency techniques and
how spontaneous speech is composed, you'll find that
your listening skill has become sharper.
with an accent full of "Englishness"
Don't be under the impression
that a sizeable percentage of English-speaking people
speak English with an accent that approaches the BBC
accent. No, they don't. Only a minute percentage
of people do that. An extremely small percentage -
so small as to be insignificant.
In fact, there's a tendency among
the present younger generation (even in England) to
reject the BBC accent - because they consider
it as being associated with the 'Establishment'. Why,
even the BBC themselves have relaxed their attitude
towards pronunciation. Things have changed so much
that many of the BBC announcers now have accents that
are non-British and that are markedly different from
the traditional BBC accent.
So remember this: Just because your
accent is different from that you hear on the BBC
or the CNN or from the accent that you hear some foreigners
speak with, you needn't try to change it. No.
Then what accent should you speak
English with? Surely it must be one that can be understood
by people who live and work with you as well as
by people of English-speaking countries. An accent
that makes your English sound like English itself
- rather than like your mother tongue. This is the
sort of accent that the Fluentzy system helps
you speak with. And it'll instantly be recognized
as the accent of an English-educated speaker anywhere
in the world — and it'll have international prestige.
Now if your aim is to achieve a particular
accent like the London accent or the New York accent,
understand that the Fluentzy books do not deal
with Regional Accents. If you want to develop a particular
Regional Accent, you'll have to go and live in that
region for several years. And you'll also have to
spend years training in a language laboratory under
the personal supervision of experts in that
accent. Yes, years. But even then, adults whose
native language is not English can almost never
acquire that very accent with 100% perfection. Almost
Please understand this. This is a
fact, and not an opinion. An unvarnished, plain fact.
Mind you, children alone have the ability to
imitate the sounds of a foreign language like English
perfectly. Children alone. That too, till they're
10 years old. But once they're past 10 years of age,
even children begin to lose this ability quickly.