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Learning English

Preface (Draft 1)

Copyright:Prohibited republication
Corrector's skills: Native, Perfect, Fluent, Advanced
Tags: English literature
Language: English
Progress: processing: 0, ready corrections: 0, remains corrections: 1

Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Out of my deep love for the English language, I started conducting some research related to pronunciation in 2011 when I was a sophomore and studying computer science at the University of Sindh. Although Functional English was my minor, I always prioritized English as my major! During the programming classes in the labs, all of my classmates wrote C++ and Java codes, but I was trying to figure out the horrible symbols of International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

When I would be in the hostel, I often practiced sounds in front of the mirror to check if I made the necessary mouth positions correctly. My roommates often laughed at me when I repeatedly made strange sounds. The voiced “th” and voiceless “th” sounds especially gave them much amusement. It took me two years to master the IPA sounds, intonation patterns, and linking rules.

I am a non-native speaker, but I can speak clear English without causing native speakers any confusion. I am not boastful of my spoken skills; I say this because I want to assure you that you too can change your pronunciation.

Accent reduction is an achievable goal. It is a learnable skill, so you can definitely master it. It depends on your mind and drive to learn. Some people may achieve it in less time, and for others it might take longer.

In my teaching career, I have often heard students complaining that native speakers speak too fast. I tell them that I used to think that way too, until I learned what they do when they speak. In this book, I will tell you what it is that native speakers do when they speak. This book covers almost all the topics which are very essential to be able to speak like native speakers and to understand them.

How can you learn to speak like a native? Once in my Psychology class, the professor defined “learning” as “a permanent change.” Reducing your accent means making a permanent change in yourself. To make this change, you need to know the rules and apply them. Learning is a life-long process; we learn new things every day.

My educational background was not in linguistics; I studied Computer Science for a BS degree and English literature for an MA. However, I gained much knowledge about phonetics on my own, surfing the net. Thanks to the Internet, learning almost any subject is much easier. Not only did I surf websites, I contacted many native speakers, teachers, and students. Besides that, I used many software tools, books, videos and audio files to help change my accent. I paid close attention to native speakers’ connected speech while I watched movies and listened to songs and the news. I will demonstrate to you everything that I have learned about American and British English pronunciation over the years in this book. It is a guide to help you speak English like native speakers and help you understand them easily.

You might never be able to speak 100% like native speakers; and that’s okay. Neither do I. Your accent is your identity. Native speakers love to speak to non-native speakers as long as the communication is clear, no matter what accent.

I hope after knowing the secrets that I will reveal to you, you will be able to understand English movies, songs, and news much better. To tell you the truth, the English language has opened new doors of the world for me. Apart from teaching, I have written short stories, novels, and poems in English. The international community has appreciated my work greatly. It is all because of the English language. Finally, I would say that language learning is a life-long goal; keep on learning.

Happy studies!

Rizwan Ahmed Memon
Village Akil, Larkana, Sindh, Pakistan

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