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Learning the “ABC’s”

Level: Beginner (usually – see note below)

Skill: Reading and Writing

Purpose: The purpose of the ABC technique is to become familiar with the alphabet of the new language you are learning. The goal is to be able to recognize, name, and write the letters.

Note: Some languages have a complex writing system that may take longer to master. Chinese characters, for example, are a lifelong learning challenge. Some alphabets, like the Thai alphabet are often not completely learned during the beginning stage. But many alphabets, even those which don’t use Roman letters, can be learned fairly quickly.

What to do:

In general it is best to learn an alphabet in connection with words you have learned to recognize. Then you can learn the equivalent of  “A, as in ‘apple’”. Some people prefer to learn the names of letters and how to pronounce them at the very beginning. Bear in mind that in most languages a letter will be pronounced differently in different positions in the word. One thing to be careful about is not to let the writing system influence the way you pronounce a word. That is called a reading pronunciation and you want to avoid it.

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