You’ve spent months, or maybe even years, trying to get native English speaker training. You’ve watched English-speaking movies and memorized funny slang phrases and colloquialisms.
Yet, when speaking, does the pronunciation of English words still mystify you?
If pronunciation is your frustration, read on for four simple ways to improve how you pronounce English.
1. Listening is Key
When conversing in a second language, it’s easy to strategize about what to say next instead of just listening. Or, you may need to translate a word or phrase mentally. Either way, your attention’s divided, and you’re not listening like you should.
Sound familiar? Every second language speaker deals with this. It’s part of the native English speaker training process.
But it also gets in the way of the learning process. The thing is, listening is essential to learning the proper pronunciation of English words. Babies and small children know this.
That’s why they listen attentively and take their time before beginning to talk. They also practice isolated sounds, in order to perfect pronunciation. But for second language learners, the whole business of actually communicating gets in the way of better pronunciation.
What to do? If you don’t feel at ease listening more closely while talking, start watching lots of English-speaking movies and television shows. Besides films and programs, check out our blog for helpful pronunciation tips.
2. Rock Pronunciation
When babies and toddlers learn how to talk, they spend lots of time staring at the mouths of those speaking around them. Why?
They’re actually learning how to speak their native language by reading lips. How cool is that? You know what’s even cooler?
You can–and should–do the same thing! In fact, you did do this as a baby… Time to get back in the habit.
Watch other people as they speak English. Notice how they move their mouths, lips, and tongue. (Seeing tongue placement is difficult, but the mouth and lip movements should give you subtle clues.)
You can do this with a TV show or movie, too. Actively watch how their mouths and lips move.
Can you imitate these movements? Become a careful study of these linguistic movements, and you’ll be amazed by how dramatically your pronunciation of English words improves.
3. Record Yourself
It’s hard to know what you sound like when you’re speaking another language. You may think you’re pronouncing everything well. You may feel frustrated every time you get the dreaded, “Huh? Can you repeat that?”
After all, who better than you to identify just how incorrect you pronounced words at the onset of learning English? But don’t ignore the problem. Fix it by really hearing what your English sounds like.
There’s nothing more illuminating than recording yourself speaking English and playing it back. If you’ve been faithfully watching English-speaking movies and television shows, you know what English sounds like. Now compare your own voice and pronunciation to that standard.
Even better, ask a native English speaker to record themselves saying the same thing and then compare the two. Do you hear where improvements can be made?
Analyze how you can change your mouth, lip, and tongue movements to accommodate the proper sounds. Now, you’re on the road to real, demonstrable progress!
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Yes, you’ve probably heard this a thousand times since beginning to learn English, but it’s true. The more you get out there and practice, the better your English will get. So, make new friends and start conversations!
This can feel intimidating at first, but there are many online resources to help you match up with native speakers if you have trouble finding them locally.
Keep your eyes open, though. Once you start looking for native English speakers, you’ll be surprised by how many new friends you discover in day-to-day life.
The Proper Pronunciation of English Words
Let’s get real. English is not the easiest language to learn. But when you know what to watch out for, your pronunciation of English words will increase the clarity of your spoken communications.
You’ll sound more professional and competent. And you’ll feel confident communicating with other English speakers. So, start listening, refining mouth movements, recording yourself, and practicing.
Interested in learning more about pronunciation and accent training? We’re here to help you excel as an English speaker, so what are you waiting for? Contact us today and begin a new chapter in mastering English!