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Meaning more important than pronunciatilon

Your non-native English-speaking friend mispronounces words? Or their grammar is a bit wonky? Don’t be tempted to correct them, as you won’t be doing them any favours.

According to Psychology Today, those speaking English as a further language won’t benefit from your counsel – however well meaning – but will become self-conscious and have their confidence bruised, making them less likely to speak freely in English going forward.

It’s also – let’s be honest – a way of leveraging superiority by those who are native speakers. It’s a (sad?) fact that the way someone speaks can immediately pigeon hole them by their listener – and this is true even between native speakers – so just imagine how that is amplified when English is being spoken by someone who didn’t grow up speaking the language. 

As reported by Psychology Today, researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Southern California found – to no one’s surprise – that there’s a correlation between language use and social class. This is carried over to social situations, so that native speakers will often cast someone who doesn’t speak English fluently as being less intelligent or socially inferior. It can be an unconscious bias, but could affect a person’s job prospects and other opportunities.

Rather than picking up on so-called errors, better would be to put energy into understanding the meaning behind the communication and celebrating how much we are all able to impart thoughts and ideas through language.

Image courtesy of StockSnap from Pixabay
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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