Here are typical questions we are asked on Need and method to Learn Clear Pronunciation:
(feel free to add more questions.. I will answer them as we go)
Why should I worry about my Pronunciation if it is good enough – I can speak out the words with spellings, as I do it in Hindi ?
What is the need. Its fine as long as the other person can understand
What are key Elements of Speaking polished English?
What is the acceptable level for an Engineer or an MBA?
How good or bad is my pronunciation really?
How to Learn the BASICs and get rid of the problems like MTI?
How much practice is required?
What if I still make some ‘Faux pas’?
(Note: Faux pas is a difficult to pronounce french word used in English it means 'false step'. see the pronunciation at the end of this post)
Answer #1: Need of Pronunciation – for English speakers from India.
Pronunciation makes your first impression along with the body-language so its a much needed skill. It takes time to master it and most companies we work for don’t want to invest on improving your voice & accent. Coming from Hindi background which is a phonetic language (you speak what you write) you may need to join a pronunciation class and do a lot of practice on your own. Let’s see the different levels of requirement:
A) Job Interview for – MNC or a large corporate in India- Level 1
Not having clarity of speech and hesitation is the reason sited most-often by HR for rejecting the people in the first round itself.
Minimum ‘Must Have’ for Software professionals BE/BTech , MBAs, Customer Service and other professionals who need to deal with polished English speakers within India are:
- ability to demonstrate that the words often used in this industry are said in an audible voice and pronounced correctly
- the sentences are spoken easily and correctly without any filler sounds, particularly ‘Aa..’ it shows lack of confidence can be mistaken for article ‘a’
- proper use of basic contractions, it’s also the first step towards fluency
- Customer service professionals require near perfection all the above
C) International Travel for Study/Work – Level 2
Minimum requirement if you want to get your Visa Stamped for US, UK, Canada or Australia where English is the native language:
- ability to understand the visa officer without his/her having to repeat and correct understanding of the question asked (generally a native speaker)
- the sentences are spoken with confidence with right word stress and ability to use intonation for everyday expressions
- Say the name of the City/Country with right syllable-stress (else have a lot of money in your bank account 😉 )
- To get good score in IELTS/TOEFL you may need mastery in all the above plus some practice with 1-2 minutes of speech (it may also depend on the mood of your examiner on the test day!)
C) International Call Center Voice Support or a News Reader – Level 3
Minimum requirement for joining an International Call Center Vary from company to company but all of them want NO Mother Tongue Influence MTI or first language influence, other mandatory requirements are:
- clear articulation of all the consonant and vowel sounds particularly vowel shades (long and short vowel sounds),
- ability to clearly produce sounds that don’t exist in the first language,
- right syllable-stress and distinction between homophones as they also come from contractions
- voice production in globally accepted – neutral accent. (even native Americans need to learn it!)
- excellent intonation and voice modulation to talk to the native speaker
We need to do a level assessment as well as understanding of where you wish to use your English. Good elocution at any level -Basic, Intermediate or Advanced takes time to practice in the Language L@b by record/compare tools. We give enough time to Practice as also the learners are given opportunity to use correct pronunciation with real people in the English learning environment. this eases them up and prepares them for real life situations.
As Communication skills trainer, I won’t dare to underestimate the importance of making ‘a good first impression’, as we often say, ‘it lasts for a really long time’.
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PS: Some usage of words in the above post that may sound new and foreign to you…
1. faux pas
Pronounced as: /foʊ ˈpɑ/
noun, a slip or blunder in etiquette, manners, or conduct; an embarrassing social blunder.
Pronounced as: /ɛləˈkjuːʃ(ə)n/
noun, the skill of clear and expressive speech, especially of distinct pronunciation.