Top 5 ways to improve English pronunciation

Improv­ing one’s Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion can be chal­leng­ing. If you’re an adult who wants to per­fect your pro­nun­ci­a­tion, be kind to your­self. Remem­ber that it took you some time to learn your lan­guage and devel­op the accent you pos­sess, and you may have just dis­cov­ered some sounds you don’t have in your own lan­guage. Plus, although there are only 26 let­ters in the Eng­lish alpha­bet, there are 44 sounds. Before you stop read­ing this blog and just give up, allow me to calm the fear in you. Here are my top 5 ways to improve Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion. They’re very easy and fun, too.

Top 1: You can remem­ber the pro­nun­ci­a­tion of a word by writ­ing anoth­er word that rhymes with the part of the word you often mispronounce.ways to improve English pronunciation

When I was study­ing in Aus­tralia, I noticed my lec­tur­ers kept say­ing organ­i­sa­tion in a dif­fer­ent way. The ‘i’ in the mid­dle of the word organisation is pro­nounced with a long i, not a short i, which is how Amer­i­cans and Cana­di­ans say it. In my desire to remem­ber it, I wrote the word ‘nice’ just above the word ‘organisation’, so every time I looked at it, I was remind­ed of how Aussies pro­nounce it. When you learn a new word, think of a word with a sim­i­lar pro­nun­ci­a­tion in Eng­lish or your lan­guage and do the same.

Top 2: Copy the actors’ pro­nun­ci­a­tion in Eng­lish movies and TV series and pre­sen­ters’ pro­nun­ci­a­tion in Eng­lish podcasts.

You might think it doesn’t work, but it does. As a non-native speak­er myself, I grew up watch­ing Sesame Street, Amer­i­can films and TV series and mim­ic­k­ing the actors. If lis­ten­ing to pod­casts is more of your thing, you can copy the pre­sen­ters’ pro­nun­ci­a­tion instead.

Top 3: Record your voice and com­pare it with a record­ing you can get from rep­utable online dictionaries.

ways to improve English pronunciationSome­times, you don’t know when you’re mis­pro­nounc­ing a word. Repeat­ed­ly say­ing a word isn’t a sure-fire way to improve your pro­nun­ci­a­tion because you may just be repeat­ing the wrong pro­nun­ci­a­tion. In the com­forts of your room, say a word aloud and record it. Then, com­pare it with a record­ing of the same word from online dic­tio­nar­ies like Cam­bridge, Oxford and Mer­ri­am-Web­ster. If they’re not the same, do it again and again, and pos­si­bly again, until you get it right. Once you get it right, mem­o­rise the posi­tion of your tongue and your lips. Keep doing the whole process until you can say the word cor­rect­ly at least five times in a row.

Top 4: Sing along to Eng­lish songs.

Lis­ten to an inter­view with the world-renowned band, The Bea­t­les. Then, lis­ten to one of their hit songs. Notice that their strong British accent van­ish­es when they sing. If you keep singing Eng­lish songs and tak­ing note of how singers pro­nounce words, you can improve your pro­nun­ci­a­tion. If you don’t like singing because you’re tone deaf, remem­ber that you don’t have to be in tune since you’re not audi­tion­ing for Aus­tralian Idol or The Voice.

Top 5: Talk to peo­ple from oth­er coun­tries or native speakers­.way to improve English pronunciation

When you chat with peo­ple in Eng­lish, you’ll know you need to improve your pro­nun­ci­a­tion if they’re hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty under­stand­ing you. The meet­ing of eye­brows matched with a quizzi­cal look is the most telling clue. Sim­ply try to change your pro­nun­ci­a­tion of a par­tic­u­lar word or group of words until they under­stand what you’re try­ing to say.

Chat with native speak­ers and take note of how they pro­nounce words. Try to remem­ber the new pro­nun­ci­a­tions you’ve learnt from your con­ver­sa­tions. If you’re a shy per­son, go to a pub or bar and get a bit of alco­hol in your sys­tem (NOTE: a bit), so you can relax a lit­tle. Join triv­ia com­pe­ti­tions and oth­er activ­i­ties that will require you to com­mu­ni­cate in no oth­er lan­guage but Eng­lish. Have fun, but don’t for­get to lis­ten and take note of their pronunciation.

Improv­ing your Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion will not hap­pen overnight. You need to work very hard. Pick at least 3 of the ways to improve Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion and speak Eng­lish at every oppor­tu­ni­ty you can. You can do it!

If you need some tips to improve your spelling of Eng­lish words, click on this. 🙂