It is very frustrating when people do not understand what you say. Sometimes you must repeat the word or phrase several times before they finally say, “oh! you mean, …..”. You thought that is what you had said! Pronunciation is very important in language communication, in making it easier for other people to understand you and what you want to say. Here are 5 things that can help you to improve your English pronunciation.
University of Iowa Phonetics Website
Go to THIS WEBSITE if you want to learn American English pronunciation. There are videos that show a picture of how the mouth moves during each sound as well as a close-up video of a person’s mouth making that sound. The site is organized by the names of the sounds, but don’t worry if you don’t know the phonetic names – you can just play around and try out different sounds. It is, of course, more useful if you have a teacher or online coach who can tell you which sound you should practice and help you make sure you are making the sound correctly.
In Person or Online Tutor or Coach
Speaking with a teacher or coach who is a native English speaker is important to learn which sounds you need to focus on and to show you, either in person or through video chat, how to make the sound. This individualized learning is important because each person is unique in the way they create sounds. A coach who is experienced in helping others with pronunciation is recommended. This is a service I offer, and I would be happy to help you improve your pronunciation, but if you already have a teacher or coach, do not be shy in asking for pronunciation help, I am sure they will be happy to help you!
Learn Intonation in the Same Way you Learn a Song
One tip that you do not hear often is to think of learning English intonation by thinking of the language as a song or a piece of music on an instrument. When I was younger I was a member of a choir. To teach us a song the choir leader would sing a line of the song, “la LA la LA LA” and we had to repeat it back, making sure to say, “la LA la LA LA” not “laaaa la LA la LA”. Or think of how sometimes in a concert a musician will get the crowd to sing part of a song by getting the crowd to repeat back, line by line, the song. Find an actor or actress whose accent you like and who you want to sound like. Play ONE line of something they say in a movie. Repeat it and think of the rhythm (like a song) not the words. Repeat it until the rhythm and intonation are the same as the original.
Hold the Sound for More than 3 Seconds, and Repeat
If you have a teacher or coach help you to identify a sound that you need to practice, you must practice only that sound, and hold that sound for more than 3 seconds. You will need a teacher or a native speaker for maximum benefit for this practice, to make sure you are doing it right. Don’t try to say the sound in a word in the beginning, just work on saying the individual sound correctly first. It is very important to do it slowly and hold the sound – you are re-training your body memory and teaching the muscles in your mouth how to move to create the correct sound.
Attend an Intensive Full Immersion English Experience Course
It is so very helpful to have a coach help you learn how to make a sound correctly and the correct rhythm and intonation. If you have that coach with you all day for 10 to 16 days, that is even better. English Experiences is offering a new way to learn English for busy adult professionals who want to improve quickly through full immersion – all day practice with a coach, private coaching and customized small group classes. Pronunciation is one of the areas in which you can see fast results that will take away the frustration of not being understood! Learn more HERE
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