An investigation into the oral production of French by Christchurch third formers
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The best way to make yourself understood in a foreign country is, said Jerome K. Jerome, to "Mispronounce as much as possible and throw in as many mistakes as you can think of.” There may well be an element of truth in this statement, but the practice is, in general, of more use to the humourist than the traveller. Although the effects of mispronunciation are seldom as disastrous as for the Ephramites (Judges 12, 6), inconvenience and embarrassment are two of the least distressing consequences which can be avoided by better pronunciation. Nida's handbook for missionaries gives accounts of both amusing and pitiable errors in communication through mispronunciation. Sten suggests that it may be vanity which makes us want to speak exactly the same as the occupants of another country, but submits that it is a harmless vanity, and that all things being equal, we get on better with a good pronunciation than a bad. Few pronunciation manuals deem it necessary to justify their existence, but Léon in his Introduction à la phonétique corrective states the case neatly: "Une audition et une phonation correctes conditionnent la bonne comprehension orale et facilitent l'expression"