I was recently coaching a woman from the Czech Republic who lives in England and works as a healthy and safety officer. She’s spoken English for over 20 years and has lived in England for most of her life, but struggles with pronunciation. Language is pretty important in her job and communication as well as clear pronunciation of legal and technical terms are vital.
So, we were exploring what's called the GOAT vowel sound (as in ‘home’, ‘so’ and ‘don’t’). This particular sound is know as a diphthong (comprising two sounds) and she was struggling with its pronunciation. We made a lot of progress in the session, and she felt much more confident with it.
In our next session I asked, ‘how did you get on this week?’ to which she replied, ‘quite well actually, I was able to catch some words that are pronounced with the GOAT vowel sound and was able to really focus on them throughout the week’. She looked very excited and also empowered.
I had an actual image of her reaching up into the air (or maybe even up into her head before she spoke) and physically catching the words. And this is exactly how she felt, that she had grabbed just a handful of everyday words that she uses on a daily basis, and put all of her focus on them. Evidently, this way, she felt more in control of her pronunciation and therefore more confident in speaking. And every time those words came up, she felt one step ahead!
So, I'd invite you to catch some words that you use all-day-long, check out their pronunciation (type in the words to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary online and it’ll give you audio and the phonetic transcription of thousands of words and feel more confident when you speak.
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