SOUNDS

Hello! It’s been sometime since we’ve talked about pronunciation. Well! The best way to learn pronunciations, as I’ve mentioned earlier too, is to learn it by listening to the good users of English. The best way would be to record a short passage read by a person who has the right pronunciation and then imitate the same pronunciations. You could even record your voice and then compare the two pronunciations; this will help you identify the problem areas and work upon them.

Like I’ve mentioned in some of my previous articles that our main problem lies in the pronunciation of vowel sounds — a, e, i, o, u. You will have to learn

several different sounds that the use of these five vowel sounds create. For an example, the vowel ‘a’ creates a number of sounds:

‘a’ as in ‘bad’
‘a’ as in ‘about’
‘a’ as in ‘gape’
‘a’ as in ‘was’

Similarly, the vowel ‘o’ creates some of these sounds:

‘o’ as in owl
‘o’ as in ‘rough’
‘o’ as in ‘got’

Familiarise yourself not just with the vowel sounds but also with the combination of vowels and also the combination of vowels and consonants (letters, other than the vowels).

I’ll take up a few queries now:

Sampada, I guess, you have picked up phrases from newspapers and magazines. Let’s see whether, I’ll be able to solve your queries.

‘On the brink of anonymity’: Brink means ‘edge’, anonymity means ‘to be unknown’. But the words altogether mean someone who, perhaps, was famous and is now about to become almost unknown. Something like a famous film star after a spate of (a number of) flops may go unrecognised by people.

‘It’s all bonhomie and mutual back scratching’: Bonhomie means ‘mutual friendliness’ and ‘geniality’, back scratching means ‘exchanging of favours’. The phrase means that everyone is making merry and exchanging favours.

In one of my articles, the sentences ‘how should you dress, why should you not fast, etc’ should have been written like this:

How you should dress, why you should not fast, etc.

Now observe the placement of the word ‘only’ in the following sentences:

She gave us only a small gift.
She is the only one who gave us a gift.
If only, she had given us a gift.

In the first sentence ‘only’ is used as an adverb, which means merely or exclusively.

In the second sentence ‘only’ is used as an adjective, which means sole, unique.

In the third sentence ‘only’ is used as a conjunction, which means wish that.

Placement of only depends on the meaning that you would like to convey and you’ve got to be careful when using it.

The other day I heard this: “The teachers ‘only’ give us knowledge.”

When actually what the student had probably meant to say was, “‘Only’ teachers give us knowledge.” (At least that’s what I believe!)

The first sentence meant that the teachers give knowledge and nothing else (which maybe true too, for teachers have ‘only’ knowledge to give).

The second sentence means that it is ‘the’ teachers who give us knowledge.

This is it for today.

Have a happy week ahead….

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