Choosing the Order of Study
Question: When you study pronunciation, should you study everything or only the sounds you need? And in what order?
Here are a couple methods. Choose the one that seems right for you.
1. The Results-Oriented Approach. Learn important sounds first. I use this method with professionals who benefit from setting goals or who have upcoming presentations or interviews and the need for quick results. Choose 3 sounds or sets of sounds that are most important and work on mastering them in the first month or two. You will start getting compliments pretty fast, and these will motivate you. Then work on your next set of important sounds, and after that, study the other sounds in the course with a slower approach. Common examples: many students start with T, O and A, then move on to R, U, and I. Also, TH and V are often studied. Everyone is different; choose the sounds that are most necessary for you.
2. The Long-term Approach. Go through the complete course in order. With this method, you will gain a solid understanding of all major pronunciation sounds. I often use this method with professionals who favor a slow, relaxed schedule. Many people arrive at the first lesson saying, I have been speaking this way for 5, 10 or 20 years. I know I am not going to change my speech quickly. Or they say, I have to meet a lot of goals and deadlines at work, so I want to study, but I also want to relax and avoid pressure. These are two great reasons to choose a long-term approach of daily, systematic practice. Now you do not need to put extra energy into choosing which sounds to study and what order to study them in, you will just go through the course slowly and methodically.
Ultimately, both approaches work, and I have seen many people succeed using each of these methods. One is not really better than the other. It is just a matter of your current life or work situation, and which mindset works better for you at this time.
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