8 Tips To Improve Your English Pronunciation

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English as a Second Language

Learning English as a second language can be a fascinating and rewarding experience, which gives you a new lens through which to view the world and opens doors to many new opportunities. However, learning English does come with its own set of challenges! Learning how to correctly pronounce the extensive number of unique sounds in English that you will learn as your vocabulary expands is not easy or automatic for most learners. For example, differentiating between different sounds such a ‘l’ and ‘r’ can be difficult for learners whose mother tongue doesn’t differentiate between the subtle difference of these sounds. Similarly, especially for learners whose first language is Spanish, Portuguese, or a related language, noticing and then reproducing correctly the differences in pronunciation between ‘b’ and ‘v’ can be challenging. The many slight pronunciation changes in the vowel sounds of the English language, that carry with them completely different meanings, such as bet, bit and beat, can be hard for second language learners, especially when speaking at a fast, fluent pace. However, the exciting news for anyone learning English as a second language is that these challenges can be overcome and pronunciation can be mastered! By following the extremely helpful pronunciation tips outlined you will be able to make rapid and measurable progress in terms of improving your English pronunciation. What’s even better is that none of these methods require you to speak directly with a native English speaker, which means you can get started right now!

Tips to Learn the Language

Tip 1 – Start A YouTube Channel Of You Speaking English

One of the fastest ways to improve your English is to get feedback from native speakers on your pronunciation. Starting your own YouTube channel of you speaking in English about a variety of topics and asking for feedback in the comments section is the perfect way to do this. Your videos don’t have to be long and can even be of you talking in English about basic topics, such as what you like to eat and what sports you play. The key is you will quickly receive feedback for free from a variety of native English speakers, which will prove to be incredibly valuable in helping you correct your English pronunciation.

You can also follow YouTube channels which will help you improve your skills, such as Rachel’s English:

Tip 2 – Record And Time Yourself Speaking In English

Recording and then listening and analysing to yourself talking in English seems like fairly standard and helpful advice for improving your pronunciation, right? Well, this time there is a slight twist which makes it an even more powerful method! You should practice recording a passage of speech from a native English speaker and then see if you took the same amount of time to read the passage. Chances are you will be considerably slower than them, which will inevitably affect your English pronunciation. Record and re-record until you can complete the passage in the same amount of time as the native speaker. This will really tighten up your English pronunciation and make it more natural, too.

Tip 3 – Study The Mouths Of Native Speakers

When it comes to pronouncing different sounds in the English language, it is worthwhile studying the mouth movements of native speakers. Look at the position of their mouths and then try to replicate their exact methods by speaking in front of a mirror or camera.

Tip 4 – Immerse Yourself In The Language

One of the keys to achieving accurate English pronunciation is being able to hear clearly exactly how the words sound. This is effortless for a native speaker, but much harder for someone learning English as a second language. Spending as much time as you can each day listening to English through music, podcasts, radio stations and news channels will help immensely in tuning your listening into how the words are actually pronounced.

Tip 5 – Exaggerate The Sounds

When learning how to correctly pronounce unfamiliar sounds, it can be a good idea to start by exaggerating the sounds until you can consistently produce them. Eventually, you will want to stop exaggerating as it can sound awkward to native speakers. However, exaggerating difficult sounds can be an effective method for improving English pronunciation, particularly during the early stages of learning.

Tip 6 – Do More Than Just Read And Listen

A trap which many learners of English fall into, which stops their pronunciation from improving as quickly as it should, is to spend all their study time either reading or listening to English learning materials. It’s important to actively use the language, even if you don’t have a partner to speak with. Read out passages, record audio and even sing in the shower!

Tip 7 – Relax And Be Natural

Sometimes you can actually try too hard to pronounce every syllable and sound perfectly. This can do more harm than good to your pronunciation. Native speakers don’t tense up or fret over every little sound and vowel. Neither should you! Of course, you should strive to pronounce every word correctly. However, you should also be aware of the need to be relaxed in order to avoid tensing up your mouth and vocal cords when speaking.

Tip 8 – Focus On Pronunciation In Chunks

If you are trying to correct 5 or 6 different pronunciation mistakes at once, then your efforts will likely be less effective than they could be. It takes time to master pronouncing all the unique sounds that make up the English language. Try to focus on a couple of key parts of English pronunciation at a time – like ‘th’ and ‘r’ – and focus almost exclusively on them until you’ve mastery before moving onto other sounds.