7 Secret Pronunciation Rules Your Teachers Never Taught You (but You Should Teach Your ESL Students)
English spelling is at best confusing and at worst a hot mess.
It is no wonder so many ESL students struggle with making the connection between written words in English and how they are pronounced. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I am a big proponent of teaching the phonetic alphabet to ESL students, primarily because I think it makes a big difference in their ability to achieve accurate pronunciation. But sometimes the phonetic alphabet is not an option. You might have ESL students who are casually studying the language and do not want to cover any material so academic. You might opt out of teaching the phonetic alphabet because you just have too many other things to do. Or it might be some other reason. After all, how many dictionaries use the phonetic alphabet when listing the pronunciation for an entry? Whatever your reason for not using the phonetic alphabet, there is good news. As unpredictable as English spelling and pronunciation may seem at times, there are some rules that your students can follow when they encounter unfamiliar words. Here are seven simple spelling and pronunciation connections you can share with your students to help them achieve accurate pronunciation.
Ultimately, English is a complicated language with complicated rules of spelling and pronunciation. These rules, while generally true, do have exceptions. When you teach them to your students, be sure that they know these rules are not hard and fast and that exceptions can be found to each of them. They may choose to use these rules to pronounce words they have never seen before, or they may use the rules to determine the spelling of an unfamiliar word they have heard pronounced. What matters most, however, is that these rules give your students a place to start when they encounter a word that they do not know how to pronounce.