Easy Ways To Improve Your English Pronunciation

Students of English are often self-conscious of their own accents and this can make them feel shy and inhibited when speaking. It is true that it is harder for adults to pick up a new accent, but the good news is that you don't have to sound like a native speaker, you just need to speak clearly enough to be understood.

Before you can produce clear English speech, it is necessary to be attuned to the sounds of English, so you should try to listen to as much English as you can.

There are lots of components that go towards making up the sounds of English:  as well as individual sounds, represented by the letters of the alphabet, it is important to be aware of other features of pronunciation: word and sentence stress (which syllables and words are emphasised), intonation (how the voice goes up and down in pitch) and linking (how words are joined together in spoken English).  

There are lots of things you can do to help yourself to learn.  Here are some of them:

- If you live in an English-speaking country, listen to conversations that are happening all around you, when you're on public transport, in the shops, restaurants and pubs and other public places.

- Listen to podcasts, radio, TV, films etc.  This will really help all aspects of your English including your vocabulary and grammar too.

- When you listen, remember to pay attention to the word and sentence stress, intonation and linking too.

- Try to mimic native speakers and exaggerate their pronunciation, however funny this may sound to you. As well as listening to them, pay attention to the way they move their mouths and be aware of the position of your own mouth, tongue and teeth as you make the sounds.

- Listen to songs, find the words online and sing along to your favourite ones. This is another excellent and fun way of also improving your English all round and will help you to memorise chunks of language.

- Use the phonemic chart to help you to identify the sounds of English. There are several free apps which you can download onto your phone to practise with.

- Listen to a podcast or audio book where you can see the words written down while you listen. Pause and try to repeat as closely as you can. Record yourself doing this if possible.

- Get a good self-help book, such as English Pronunciation in Use, published by CUP

- Best of all, get a native-speaker level teacher, who can give you individual guidance for your specific needs and support and encourage you to do well!

Jean D Elocution/ Accent Reduction Tutor (North West London)

About The Author

I am a DELTA qualified teacher of English language, highly experienced with all ages and levels. I am patient and friendly, love languages and like to inspire my students to learn. I'd love to help you to achieve your goals.

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