Pronunciation tips from our language trainers

David WoodBlog, Language Training

We love sharing tips to help improve your English. Here Alex and Sarah share some of their favourites for improving your English pronunciation.

1) Phonemics

If you’d like to improve your pronunciation, download a good phonemic chart. We like this one from One Stop English, which you can download at your own discretion. This chart shows you how the English sounds match the phonemic symbols which are used in dictionaries.

We suggest you play the sounds and practise saying them out loud. Do this over and over again to perfect your pronunciation, and we suggest you also record yourself and play it back to hear how you sound.

Many dictionaries use phonemic symbols, and so learning the symbols and sounds will enable you to know how a word should be pronounced. The Collins English online dictionary gives you both the phonemic symbols and a pronunciation recording.

2) Watch mouth movements

Another great way to improve your pronunciation is to watch the mouth movements of native speakers of English.

You will notice that their mouths make different movements to the natural movements in your language. Watch and copy their mouth movements, this will automatically improve your pronunciation. At the end of a day of speaking English, you should notice your mouth muscles have had a good workout! You’ll be using different muscles to those you use when you speak your own language.

You could also watch your new mouth movements in the mirror at home. Watch yourself making the right mouth movements. The more you practice the more natural it will feel.

3) Hone your listening skills

Listen to native speakers whenever possible.

Listen to the news on the internet from the BBC or CNN or similar English speaking news sites, and watch TV programmes and movies in English whenever you can. Notice the stress and intonation patterns in the speech. You could also ask your native speaking colleagues and friends if you could record your conversations with them, so you can listen back to them in your own time.

4) Musical lyrics

Listen to songs in English and sing along (you can do this in the shower, or in the car!).

5) Slow down

Remember to slow down. There is no need to rush your speech, take your time and take pleasure in pronouncing words clearly, and mimicking the stress and intonation patterns of native speakers.

Above all else, have fun. If you don’t know how a word should be pronounced, just give it a go. We are pretty sure you will make yourself understood most of the time.

If we can be of further help about any pronunciation issues, please get in touch, we’d be delighted to assist.

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