Learning a new language is a long, difficult process.
This process can become easier if you set goals. Goals help guide
language learners and give them reasons to continue studying a
language. However, if you set unreasonable goals, then you will
probably become discouraged.
más fácil; set goals: fijas objetivos, estableces metas;
help guide: ayudan a guiar (a los); language learners:
estudiantes de idiomas; give them reasons: les dan motivos;
however: sin embargo; unreasonable goals: objetivos o
metas irracionales (desatinados o ilógicos); then you will
probably become discouraged: lo más probable que es que termines
desalentado o frustrado;
Many English learners set difficult, even unreasonable goals. For
example, here we often
read emails with comments like: "My goal is to sound like a native
speaker..." or "My goal is to lose my accent".
The problem with the goal of sounding like a native speaker is that
it is not a reasonable goal for many people.
even: incluso; to sound like a native: sonar como un
nativo; to lose my accent: perder mi acento (tonillo); the
goal of sounding like: la meta de sonar como;
WHY IT'S DIFFICULT TO SOUND LIKE A NATIVE SPEAKER.
When English learners begin studying English after a certain age,
they are not able to sound exactly like a native English speaker.
That is the opinion of Eli Hinkel, a professor at Seattle Pacific
after a certain age: pasada determinada edad; they are not
able to sound: ya no les es (físicamente) posible sonar;
She says that people who have not reached puberty
still have enough muscle and brain plasticity
to allow their brain to control their mouth muscles. Puberty is the
period of life when a child becomes an adult.
not reached puberty: que no han llegado a la pubertad (entre
los 10 y los 15 años de edad en ambos sexos);
still have enough: todavía tienen suficiente; muscle and
brain plasticity: plasticidad muscular y cerebral; to allow
their brain: lo cual permite a su cerebro; to control their
mouth muscles: controlar los músculos bucales;
After your physical growth has stopped, the brain loses some of its
ability to change the way it controls the muscles of the mouth. This
is what results in an accent, according to Hinkel. In other words,
having an accent is a natural part of the aging process of the brain.
after your physical growth: después de que tu desarrollo físico;
has stopped: se ha detenido; the brain loses some of its
ability: pierde parte de su habilidad; to change the way it
controls: para modificar la forma en que controla; the
muscles of the mouth: la musculatura de la boca; this is what
results in accent: esto es lo que general el acento (tonillo);
the aging process of the brain: el proceso de envejecimiento del
IT'S OK TO HAVE AN ACCENT.
Just because you might not sound like a native speaker does not
mean that you should give up trying to improve your
pronunciation. And just because you have an accent does
not mean that your language skills are poor. Hinkel suggested that
English learners should not be too disheartened about their accents.
you might not sound: el hecho de que te esfuerces por no sonar;
does not mean that: no significa que; you should give up
trying to improve: debería dejar de intentar mejorar; that
your language skills are poor: que tus habilidades lingúisticas
son deficientes; should not be too disheartened about: no
deberían desanimarse por;
"So, there is really no connection between the quality of one's
language and the accent".
there is really no
connection between: realmente no existe relación alguna entre;
the quality of one's language: la calidad del idioma que uno
habla (el nativo);
She adds that there are even benefits to
having an accent. Eli Hinkel is a native Russian speaker. But she
works as a professor in a Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)
program. She believes her accent helps her when she is teaching
that: ella agrega que; there are even benefits: existen
incluso beneficios; her accent helps her when: su acento la
"So I teach MA TESL courses … So, my students think that I really,
really, really know what I'm talking about … accent goes a great
deal toward that".
accent goes a great
deal toward that: el acento apunta mucho en esa dirección;
Another teacher says sounding like a native speaker is not necessary.
Marla Yoshida is a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Teacher at
the University of California, Irvine. She says that improving your
pronunciation is definitely possible – if you choose a reasonable
like: sonar como; definitely possible: sin duda alguna
posible; choose a reasonable goal: fijas una meta razonable;
"You can reach a stage where your pronunciation is easy for people
to understand, where it never causes a problem ... you go into
Starbucks and say your name, and they understand … you know, they
give your order and they understand. So, that's a reasonable goal:
being understood easily. Where sounding like a native speaker is
wonderful if you can do it ... it's not necessary".
reach a stage where:
alcanzar un nivel en el cual; they give you order: te
alcanzan tu pedido; being understood easily: ser entendido
So, what can English learners do to improve the pronunciation? Marla
Yoshida says that, like when you decide to diet, you are more likely
to have success if you set reasonable goals. She suggests working on
specific areas of pronunciation that you can improve, instead of
trying to sound like a native speaker.
working on specific areas: trabajar en áreas específicas (sin
pretender abarcarlo todo);
"Work consciously, if you are an adult, to change the way you
pronounce. It's kind of like a diet. If you set a more reasonable
goal ... then, the diet might succeed. In the same way,
pronunciation ... if you have a more reasonable goal, like ... okay,
first I have trouble with the R and L sounds, so first I'm going try
those. And then, when I'm feeling pretty comfortable with those,
I'll move on to some other sound that causes problems. It takes
time, but it is possible".
conscientemente; it's kind of like a diet: es algo así como
una dieta; might succeed: podría ser exitosa; I have
trouble with the R and L sounds: tengo problemas con los sonidos
R y L; first I'm going try those: primero lo intentaré con
esos; pretty comfortable: muy cómodo o seguro; I'll move
on to: continuaré con; it takes time: lleva, insume
Yoshida added that English learners should understand that improving
their pronunciation can take a long time. She said that learners
should not be tricked by people who claim to be able to help people
get rid of their accents:
can take a long time: puede ocuplar, llevar mucho tiempo;
should not be tricked by: no deberían dejarse embaucar por;
claim to be able: afirman que pueden; get rid of their
accents: deshacerse de sus acentos;
"It is good to realize that it's not a fast process. Everyone has
been speaking their native language for years and years and years.
And it's hard to change. Habits of how you move your mouth are
really hard to change. And, so don't expect miracles. Sometimes,
people see advertisements for software or courses that say 'get rid
of your accent in only five lessons' – or something ... It's not
going to happen! There are no miracles".
to realize that
it's not a fast process: darse cuenta de que no es un proceso
rápido; it's hard to change: es difícil cambiarlo; don't
expect miracles: no esperes milagros;
So, what can you do? Start by setting a reasonable goal. Choose one
or two sounds that are difficult for you to pronounce. Then, work to
improve these sounds. When you have improved, study other sounds.
Progress might be slow for you, but don't give up!
setting: comienza fijándote; progress might be slow: el
progreso puede ser lento; but don't give up!: ¡pero no te des