Accurate pronunciation is an important part of learning any language, and especially when you’re learning English. Speaking with the correct pronunciation can have a big impact on whether or not people understand what you are saying. The challenging thing about pronunciation is that it is a physical skill that needs to be practiced, in addition, to learning the words. The way you pronounce words in your L1 will impact the way you pronounce words in your L2.
- Slow down! It is important to speak at a comfortable rate (not too fast/not too slowly). This will give you the time you need to think about the correct way to say the word with the proper endings and stress on syllables.
- Visualize it! Close your eyes and think about how you need to make a sound before saying it. Picture the positioning of your mouth and face. Think about the shape you need to make inside your mouth if you want to make the sound correctly.
- Listen to yourself! Try recording your speech with your smartphone or PC and making a note of specific areas you need to improve on.
- Get physical! Pronunciation is a physical skill. You’re teaching your mouth a new way to move and using different muscles. Focus on difficult sounds each day. Check out Rachel’s English as it provides over 500 free videos to help non-native speakers improve their spoken English and listening comprehension.
- Watch yourself! Look at yourself in a mirror. Check the placement of your tongue, lips, and shape of your mouth when you make certain sounds. Compare what you see with a video of a native-speaker saying the same thing. Check out EnglishAnyone
- Copy the experts! There’s no replacement for learning pronunciation from native-speakers. Listen to radio programs, watch television and movies in English. Repeat what you’re hearing – even if you don’t know what the words mean. NETFLIX. Have you ever thought about how certain words are pronounced differently with an American English, British English or Australian English accent? You can use YouGlish.com to hear those words pronounced in different ways in context.
- Practice English alone! Practice, practice, practice. Pronunciation problems persist because we’re afraid to make mistakes. Practice meeting someone for the first time, ordering at a restaurant, asking for directions by yourself. Don’t be shy.
- Practice with a language buddy! Getting feedback from a native speaker is important. Go for coffee, take a walk, or find a buddy online to practice your English.
- Pay attention to intonation and stress! Intonation (the rise and fall of the voice) and stress (sounds in words and some words in sentences are pronounced louder than others). Read poems, speeches and songs aloud, concentrating on the word stress and intonation. HowJsay and Forvo are excellent pronunciation websites where you can type a word and then you can listen to the correct pronunciation.