Setting out to improve English pronunciation is an overwhelming task if you don’t know where to begin. There are abundant ways to sound like you’ve been speaking English for a long time. You can start fitting into conversations more easily and more regularly by following some simple, yet effective, techniques. Bear in mind that it will take roughly three to six months to notice a real change in your pronunciation.
Use media to improve English pronunciation
You have a number of options from which to choose. The most obvious way is to watch and pay close attention to English movies or TV shows. Listen to how vowels and consonants are pronounced. Which syllables are stressed? How does the actor’s mouth formation appear while speaking? Here’s an interesting short video that can serve as a starting point for your further research:
Children’s TV shows are slow and simple, and thus perfect for learning English phonemes and word blending. Another tip is to watch movies with the subtitles switched on to get an idea of which words don’t follow the rules of phonetics.
Movies, TV and news broadcasts will also introduce commonly used phrases and terms and usually a bit of slang. Don’t forget commercials, another great way to study and perfect English pronunciation. Remember to listen to the delivery of the message rather than the content. Clarity and speed are very important to recognize, so take note of them.
Reading English books, magazines and newspapers will also be of help. Again, children’s books, being simple and clear, will have easy vowel patterns that can be committed to memory. A smart idea is to read aloud every day from whichever source you choose. Even better is to record yourself speaking and pronouncing the written words. You can then go back and critique yourself. This will give you a good idea of where you need more practice to improve English pronunciation. Recording your voice is a good confidence booster and valuable tool for mistake recognition.
Don’t be ashamed to talk
Engaging in conversation with native English speakers is the best way to improve English pronunciation. At first you may be shy, but the more you practice, the sooner you will feel at ease, not to mention more like an English speaker. Encourage your English peers to correct your speech when necessary. Make sure to always speak at a comfortable pace so your pronunciation is clear.
Find someone else who is also practicing English and partner up. Read to each other. Make up fake scenarios and dialogues so the conversations stay fun. An on-line English course could be of great use as well. Many of these courses give you the opportunity to practice with other people from around the world, not just a native English teacher. On-line classes give you the comforts of your own surroundings and are not as invasive as face-to-face.
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Use a dictionary and look up the phonetic spelling and pronunciation of words; create word lists for later use after you have looked them up; use a thesaurus to broaden your vocabulary and improve English pronunciation at the same time. Always think in English and do not translate back into another tongue. This serves to keep you in one frame of mind and not to jumble sentence structure.
As you can see, there are so many ways to learn correct English pronunciation. Try one or all of them. Find the one(s) that suit you best and stick with it (them). Don’t be afraid of sounding silly. Anyone that has ever tried to speak a foreign language knows that it takes a lot of work and dedication.
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