I could still remember how my English teacher‘s forehead wrinkled when I read an English poem. She could not understand the thought of the poem, it’s not how I read it, it’s how I pronounced the words, she said.
My three languages are Cebuano, Filipino and English. Cebuano and Filipino are my first languages and English would be my second language. Most words of my native languages are coined from Malaysian, Indonesian and Spanish languages. Thus, my native tongue lacks some of the vowel sounds of English especially the short a sound with IPA symbol / æ/. Sad to say, I wasn’t taught much of perfect vowel pronunciation when I was younger.
Well, I almost flunked my English Oral Communication subject since I have not acquired the perfect pronunciation of some vowel sounds in English. Nobody can perfect the pronunciation in just 6 months. It took me 20 years of speaking my native language thus I was able to pronounce word perfectly. I couldn’t get away from the near-to-flunk experience for English pronunciation since I literally flunked my call center job interview.
It was quite challenging. How come other Filipinos have perfected their vowel pronunciation? I didn’t want to spend money to pay for pronunciation couch. If others can do, I can too (The quote the keeps me going.). What I did was purchased a book titled Pronounce it Perfectly in English.It has 4 Audio CDs that serve as my pronunciation couch. I faced the mirror, followed the diagram in the book showing the lip and mouth formation to produce the correct sound. After studying the technical aspect of sound, I played the audio and mimicked the sounds. I didn’t just learn vowel sounds since the book also teaches how produce consonant sounds, stress and intonation patterns.
Finally, I was able to get a call center job- and that is with the most reputable company. But then, I never stop learning, to sharpen my pronunciation.
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