On learning English

with love, by @Fanderous

Have you noticed that

years of English-learning

countless exams taken

have little helped bettering

your pronunciation


How to handle it?

Should I follow the phonetic notations? 

For those learners with weaker pronunciation capability, to understand phonetic notations leads to a better mastering of the pronunciations. Undoubtedly, pronouncing an English word by following its phonetic notation does work, and that does help quite much –– it always gives you a good start and never lets you down.  

To advance, however, practicing would matter more. At this stage, you would be supposed to collect as many samples and examples of pronunciations from different sources (termed "authentic materials") as you could, and carefully listen, compare, and distinguish –– you would probably often find that there are nuances amongst the pronunciations of certain words from different sources. Then, you may start to feel the differences, subtle or significant; and sense their usage with putting them back to the context background –– immediately you find the patterns of inflections (or, find your preferred pronouncing way), you would become self-contained enough on your pronunciation and, no longer suitable to keep sticking tightly to the phonetic notations –– languages develop, so should your pronunciation. 

As a beginner of a second language, it is quite common that you are apt to look listening down. Throughout the learning progress, you should always keep listening to the conversations in movies, referring to Forvo, and absorbing and assimilating different pronunciations; you should also constantly build and upgrade your personal understanding on the dynamic standard of the pronunciations of words; and you should also intentionally test if your pronunciation suffices the continuation of the conversation in that language. The moment you are able to distinguish and explain the nuance(s) between one same word in different contexts is when your listening are as keen enough as you need it to be to support your learning reliably, and when you should start articulating to practice and imitate. ​

In respect of the use of liaison, elision, and other tricks to make your pronunciation sound more natural (to native speakers); and the applying of techniques or gimmicks such as palatalisation and glottalisation, are all icing on the cake –– after all, most learners share the same initial intention of learning a foreign language –– to communicate –– they definitely need to learn how to wield and maintain it. Correspondingly, if you cannot find a promising provision of an environment where you are able to, and have to, use that language in a extremely high frequency, you should better reinforce your knowledge alternatively to avoid from the loss of learning efficiency caused by the Diminishing Marginal Utility. 

Video Tutorials: so kind, so one-of-a-kind

No reasons, good quality for all seasons

(Narrative in Chinese Mandarin Only)


You have perhaps encountered one of us before. 



A self-starter in learning English. Beyond her practice, Fanderous is also a fan of many things. 



Language and typography enthusiast, natural mentor with teaching acumen. Latin and Greek learner.

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