3 unexpected English pronunciation difficulties for learners

 English pronunciation

Despite the fact that many second language learners become great speakers of English at the end of their course, some might find it difficult to master the correct English pronunciation.

For non-native speakers of English, factors such as accent and interference could cause difficulties for them in English pronunciation matters. With the right instructions and student’s attention to, these problems can be solved.

Overcoming English pronunciation barriers 

In some cases, the English learners become victims of English pronunciation difficulties, which can lead to their frustration with speaking. In order to overcome these barriers, the students need to identify the source of their problems and then find the best solution for their issues.

Learning English pronunciation correctly may be difficult at first. Learners can only improve their speaking skills with right instructions and practice. Some of the most common aspects that cause pronunciation difficulties for English learners, relate to the pronunciation of the letters “th”, “s” and “z”, and silent letters.


 English pronunciation

One confusing English pronunciation is related to the “th” sound in words. This type of letter combination can be found in the three different forms.  [θ] as in “thick”, [ð] as in “this”, and [t] as in “Thailand”.

One helpful instruction can be teaching the students that pronouncing “th” as [t], is the least common type of pronunciation for this combination.

In order to learn “th” pronunciation as [θ], the English instructors can inform the students that the easiest way to pronounce this combination is through placing their tongue between their teeth.  Making sure that the air of their oral cavity is passing through the gap between their teeth and tongue is also an important fact.

“S” and “Z”

Another common English pronunciation mistake by the language learners relates to the use of “s” and “z” in words. This situation is usually found among the Spanish speaking students of English.

For instance, “z” in the word “zapatos”, which is the Spanish word for “shoes”, is pronounced as [s]; while “s” is sometimes pronounced as [z] in that language. Therefore, it is important that the teacher informs the students about the differences between English and Spanish pronunciation.

The best method the students can use, is learning the process of assimilation and dissimilation in English. How it alters the pronunciation of these letters such as “s” in the word “easy” into “z” is a significant fact.    

Silent letters

 English pronunciation

At last, for the students who don’t know much about the presence of silent letters in English, pronouncing all of the letters of the words may seem like an easier solution in their speech.

Yet, pronouncing words like that is not accepted. When talking to a native English speaker, it is important that the learner knows about the fact that some letters are omitted or ignored in English pronunciation.

To explain this rule in a tangible way for the students, the teacher can write each of the new words on the board and cross every silent letter as he/she reads the word for the class. This will give a more visual understanding of silent letters and their presence in English words.


the main impact on the pronunciation of English words, could be the learner’s own native language. But, English pronunciation can be effected by the learner’s own studies, no matter their background. Also, the instructions given by the teacher has also a dominant influence on the learners’ pronunciation.

There are various types of pronunciation mistakes, as mentioned. They are all are common among the students who are learning English as their second language. In brief, by the right guidelines the students can learn to pronounce the English words correctly


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