Are Elocution Lessons or Accent Reduction Classes enough for English Pronunciation?
The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors, namely whether there is any first language interference, the presence of speech impairment or a weakness in listening and sub-listening ability. Other key factors are immersion and age.
However, of all the factors affecting the acquisition of near-native English pronunciation, research findings suggest that immersion in the language is the most important.
Why is Immersion Important?
Immersion is important as the learner is acoustically exposed to the speech sounds of English, including the intonation, stress and rhythmical patterns of the language. Therefore, the listening and sub-listening skills of the learner become ‘tuned’ to the special features of English. Moreover, the learner has the opportunity ‘to apply’ or to put into practice the English speech sounds and sentence sounds learned during Elocution Lessons or Accent Reduction Classes with native English speakers. This form of communicative learning aids the development of English pronunciation.
The features of English may be regarded as distinct due to its musical nature. Indeed, an important relationship exists between the vowel sounds of English and speaking Received Pronunciation. Further, recent research findings support the close relationship between language and music with both activities sharing the same area of the brain. It is for this reason why our approach to English Pronunciation, English Elocution or Accent Reduction is from a speech and language science perspective aimed at developing not only English speech sounds, but important intonation, stress and rhythm patterns in our learners’ English pronunciation.
It is an exciting time for us and our learners due to the latest research findings in language, music and the brain.
We would like to close on an appropriate note by sharing with you how one of our learner’s put his English Pronunciation skills into practice. We hope that you will enjoy his first music video – thank you: