Can English Language Learners (ELLs) Develop Authentic Pronunciation?

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Teachers should not put too much attention on the accent of English Language Learners.Most experts agree that there exists a “critical period” for developing native-like pronunciation. Once a person is past puberty, it is difficult (but not impossible) to speak an additional language without an accent.

Therefore, teachers need not worry about the pronunciation of younger English Language Learners — they will eventually sound like native English speakers.

English Language Learners, whose first exposure to English, comes in the later teenage years will probably have accents. As long as an accent doesn’t interfere with being understood, there is also no need to worry about it. (Teenagers’ brains are still flexible enough that their accents are often slight.) Some language learners even prefer to keep an accent rather than working to reduce it, as it is part of their identity within their cultural group.

Learn More… Take this course: Teaching English Language Learners

Discuss Here: What are some efforts you have made to help English Language Learners develop authentic pronunciation?

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