Accurate pronunciation is often seen as the ‘icing on the cake’ and something that many students begin to think about developing only when they reach an advanced level of learning.
Of course pronunciation is important at all levels in order to be understood and get the correct message over to our listeners. I once had a student who couldn’t make the difference between ‘soup’ and ‘soap’ with very interesting consequences!! However, an accent on English can be both attractive (French for example) and not really a big deal if it doesn’t affect communication.
Notwithstanding attractiveness, there are advantages to developing a more ‘native’ pronunciation. It improves our overall competence, it’s easier on the ear of our listeners and it helps us reach our overall aim of fluency and language competency.
It is good to visit pronunciation ‘rules’ from time to time, get out the phonemic chart and stand in front of the mirror!
Recording your voice also helps to bring home the reality of how we sound when we speak! Sometimes a shock, but always a good place to begin!
Below is a very quick and dirty guide to the rules for two-syllable words.
Words with 2 syllables
We usually stress the first syllable in nouns and adjectives: ( _ .)
Equal there are some exceptions: hotel
With verbs it is often the second syllable: (. _ )
Export (note all these verbs change their stress to the first syllable as nouns)