IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)
Hello everyone! Lately, I have been interested in the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) because I feel like knowing this alphabet/how it works could help me with my pronunciation in my target languages. And it could possible help you as well! I'm not saying that it is necessary to have knowledge of the IPA in order to master/improve your pronunciation but, it could be helpful! (And I do understand that this has more to do with linguistics rather than actual language-learning--but there's no harm in bringing it up, right?) Here are some sources my teacher sent me after we were gushing about how cool the IPA is:
https://linguischtick.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/the-ipa-introduction/ (Note: This is one post of a series!) http://cmed.faculty.ku.edu/ipafolder/ http://fgasper.freeshell.org/latin/ipa.html
I first became interested in this IPA when my teacher lent me her book for language teachers (she is an ESL--English Second Language--teacher)! It's called, "Learner English: A teacher's guide to interference and other problems", Edited by Michael Swan & Bernard Smith [Second Edition]. Here is a part of its introduction: "This book is a practical reference guide for teachers of English as a foreign language. It is meant to help teachers to anticipate the characteristic difficulties of learners of English who speak particular mother tongues, and to understand how these difficulties arise."
I immediately turned to the chapter for Russian Speakers, seeing as my best friend is a native Russian speaker and I am learning Russian and I was curious of these common "difficulties".
I was quickly met with strange words I had not recalled seeing before. "Phonemes", "diphthongs", "triphthongs".... And there was a whole section explaining the way Russian speakers tend to pronounce vowels and consonants in English...using the IPA! I didn't understand it much and was left befuddled. (The truth is, after that, I turned to the "Rhythm and stress" section of the chapter and tested my friend on his amazing English pronunciation just to be amazed at the small intonation differences that I would have never recognized beforehand! Anyway, sorry, getting off-track here....)
But now I have taken it upon myself to learn something about the IPA in order to improve my pronunciation and understanding of it. Maybe you'll be interested in doing so as well!
Good luck in your language studies! (I would also like to sincerely apologize for the sources being so heavily in English. If you are a Spanish speaker looking for some translations, I may be able to help with that! Si usted necesita algunas traducciones en español , por favor pregúnteme)