If you cut down on time spent in class on pronunciation you’ll be able to do more of other things and so offer your learners ‘low-cost’ English. In these times of economic crisis, this might seem an attractive idea, but sadly, sooner or later your learners will pay the price for the corners that you cut.
As I drove out to the airport the other day, for example, I came across this:
The author(s) clearly had some English, but not enough, or at least not enough in terms of pronunciation and the vowels in ‘got’ /ɒ/ and ‘goat’ /oʊ/. The Spanish sound nearest to these two English vowels is neither one nor the other. As a result, Spanish-L1 listeners who haven’t been given enough pronunciation practice with the English sounds will often fail to discriminate between them successfully. If this carries over into their writing, ‘coast’ can appear as ‘cost’ or vice versa, as happened with this delightful piece of graffiti.
PS. As you can see from my posts on ‘painball‘ and ‘Eatily‘, I’m fascinated by these learner errors because of the insights they give us into how poor pronunciation can impact on a learner’s use of English. If you have other examples, I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me at email@example.com.