Do you think your English pronunciation still leaves much to be desired even after many years of learning the language? Do people sometimes ask you to repeat something even in case your grammar and vocabulary are OK? If so, don’t be frustrated. You are not the only one who faces this challenge. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to improve your pronunciation. Keep reading to know what it is…
Each and every learner dreams to sound like a native speaker. However, good pronunciation must be one of the most difficult skills to develop. The culprit of it must be the mother tongue of a learner as some languages lack some English sounds (e.g. there is no [θ] and [ð] in Russian or [l] and [v] in Japanese). Thus, problems of different learners differ.
Luckily, these days you can improve your pronunciation greatly. There are many fascinating ways of working on this skill and you don’t even have to leave your house for that. Just remember to follow a few important rules, keep your attitude positive and mix different ways to see what works best for you.
1. Listen, repeat and record
Those who have an ear for music might have an advantage over those who don’t if it comes to foreign language pronunciation. Such people find copying intonation and particular sounds much easier than their tone-deaf counterparts. They just have to do this activity regularly and then enjoy the fruits of their work. The same rule applies to those learners who are bad at copying sounds and intonation. The only difference is that it might take longer. Both groups of learners should try recording their pronunciation endeavours in order to compare the original recording (use the piece which is in line with your English level) with their one. Do it on a regular basis working on different texts and situations and soon you will make progress.
2. Watch your tongue
When it comes to pronunciation, you should do it in the literal sense of the word. Experiment, be attentive to the sensations you have and try to remember the feeling you get when you are making the right sound. Books on English pronunciation might help you as well because they outline the right position of your tongue while making certain sounds, provide ample recordings and exercises.
3. Have a partner
Pronunciation is closely connected with speaking and speaking – with communication. It takes at least two to communicate, so if you have a partner to practice with or, which is even better, a teacher who can correct your mistakes, it will make the process much easier and more effective.
4. Practice tongue twisters
Tongue twister is a phrase or a sentence of words which are difficult to pronounce, especially rapidly. Tongue twisters can help improve pronunciation a lot because they focus on a particular problem sound and make your speech apparatus adjust itself to it. Let’s watch a video on some popular tongue twisters and practice with it:
- She sells seashells by the seashore.
- How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
- Betty Botter bought some butter.
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
- A big black bug bit a big black dog on his big black nose.
- The blue bluebird blinks.
- If you want to buy, buy. If you don’t want to buy, bye-bye!
- Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup.
- Eleven elves licked eleven little liquorice [‘lɪk(ə)rɪs] lollipops.
- Fresh fried fish, fish fresh fried, fried fish fresh, fish fried fresh.
- Friendly fleas and fireflies.
- Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he?
- Greek grapes, Greek grapes, Greek grapes.
- I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
- Kitty caught the kitten in the kitchen.
- Quick kiss, quick kiss, quick kiss.
- Red leather, yellow leather.
- Red lorry, yellow lorry.
- I can think of six thin things, but I can think of six thick things too.
- The big bug bit the little beetle, but the little beetle bit the big bug back.
- Not these things here but those things there.
- Three free throws.
- Toy phone, toy phone, toy phone.
- A tricky, frisky snake with sixty super scaly stripes.
- If two witches were watching two watches, which witch would watch which watch?
- Whether the weather is warm, whether the weather is hot, we have to put up with the weather, whether we like it or not.
- How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
- Zebras zig and zebras zag.
Were you practicing the tongue twisters watching the videos? We hope so because there is no better way to improve your pronunciation than practicing speaking and challenging the problem sounds. Remember that practice makes perfect.