What is the role of pronunciation in communication?

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morgancam eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Pronunciation, which refers to the way a word is spoken, contributes to how an individual is understood by the listener. Pronunciation of a word can differ depending on local/regional dialects. For example, someone with a British English accent may pronounce tomato as "toe-mah-toe" while someone with an American English accent may pronounce tomato as "toe-may-toe". Both of these pronunciations are correct, and the ability to understand these pronunciations can sometimes require a person to be familiar with the regional/local dialect of the speaker. If two people who are speaking the same language are having difficulty understanding each other, than slow and clear pronunciation of a word can aid in mutual understanding. Additionally, in some dialects, a word may not sound as if it is being fully pronounced by a listener who is unfamiliar to that dialect. Therefore, pronouncing the full word when misunderstanding is occurring can also aid in the listener being able to better process the word.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Although pronunciation is not crucial to actual understanding, it is important to clear communication.  People can understand strong accents and mispronunciation most of the time, but it takes added concentration and effort that makes it difficult to catch nuances in the conversation or keep a conversation going for an extended period of time. 

Mispronunciation or unclear pronunciation can also result in confusion and miscommunication if there are words that when pronounced differently have different meanings.  The key is to speak slowly and clearly so that both sides can understand.  Keeping conversations short and simple when one person has trouble pronouncing words can also help.

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