Tag Archives: Understand

Why Pronunciation Is Important

No matter which language you wish to learn, you will want to ensure two things:

  1. That you are understood when you speak
  2. That you understand others when they speak


The very foundation of spoken communication is sounds.  So, you first have to realize that the sounds used in your native language are not the same sounds that we use in English.  Some of your sounds may be similar to English sounds, while others will not even be close.


This is especially important to keep in mind with English vowel sounds.  Most other languages have somewhere around 5-10 vowel sounds.  English has 19 basic vowel sounds.  Yes…19 basic vowel sounds.  And, if that were not incredible enough, the full Towajo System also teaches 10 additional sounds for our most advanced students.  This gives our students a total of 29 vowel sounds.  Keep in mind that these are vowel sounds only.  We are not discussing consonants in this articles.


So, this is why significant challenges arise when students attempt to communicate in English using the vowel sounds from their own native language.


Take a look at the words listed below.  Can you correctly pronounce the vowel sounds in each of these word groups?  Can you correctly identify the vowel sounds of these word groups if someone else speaks them?


cup, cop, cap, kept

luck, lock, lack, lept
run, Ron, ran, wrecked

Remember that learning the vowel sounds in English is extremely important to speaking the language well. This video listed above is a prime example of how a single vowel sound can change a word – especially in English. This English teacher (a native Korean speaker) is teaching a lesson on how to ask for “Coke” in a restaurant.  The only problem is that she is pronouncing the word like “cock.”  This is a big problem, folks!


“Cock” usually means “penis” in English.  (On rare occasions it can mean “rooster.”)