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Phonetics and pronunciation are often left out of teachers' lessons either because the teacher is not comfortable explaining the material, or they think it is pedantic and abstract. That said, understanding the way sounds are physically made is important for conveying meaning, because words can easily be confused by listeners. A classic example is the \"R\" and \"L\" split in English, which does not occur in Korean. Koreans have an approximate sound that is basically between \"R\" and \"L\" and the range of the motion for the tongue is more limited in Korean, so many students develop poor pronunciation if it is not corrected early. Young learners can adapt through drilling and exercises in manipulating their tongues to make the proper sound.
Intonation and stress are also important, not just for achieving a more natural sound, but often for conveying meaning. While intonation is typically not too hard for students to grasp, I had not really thought much about teaching individual stress to students. Stress is important when two people are talking, because a lot of extra meaning and nuance can be achieved by stressing just one word in a sentence. This is another area where pronunciation drills can be helpful.