“ship” (English word) and “sheep” (Spanish sound when spoken)

“kiss” (English word) and “keys” (Spanish sound when spoken)

This is one of the main reasons why you are always corrected on your pronunciation because depending on how you pronounce a word, your answer will either be correct or incorrect, and can make it seem out of context. When we speak, we have to change the shape of your mouth. Try saying the letter ‘a’ then the letter ‘o’. It’s impossible without changing the shape of your mouth. During the Callan class you will be corrected all the time. It’s important to repeat vocabulary as much as possible thus strengthening your ability to speak properly and more fluently. Remember to also use contractions when you speak. It’s how we speak naturally. By process of repetition and correction you eventually realise your own mispronunciation and start to self-correct. Many words have the same spelling but are grammatically different and have a different sound.


“close” (verb) and “close” (adjective)

These words look the same and are spelled the same. However, how we pronounce and use them is important. With the verb “close” ( to shut something) the ‘s’ is pronounced with a ‘z’ sound whereas when we say the adjective “close” (meaning near) the ‘s’ is pronounced with an ‘s’ sound. This is a perfect example of when it is best to pronounce the ‘s’ emphatically when using the word to make its meaning clearer.

There are many additional ways to learn the sound of a word in English, such as a phonetic application for your phone such as ‘Macmillan’ Sounds: Pronunciation App. There are two versions , one which is free and one you can pay for. The free app allows you to see and hear the phonetic alphabet and hear examples whilst also offering a quiz in listening and writing. You can also sometimes see the and hear a word phonetically on Wikipedia.

D. Lindsay

Callan School
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