Improve your English pronunciation with these 4 (FREE) methods
By: Ana Jimena Hernandez
Learning a second language is an exciting challenge. It is not only about studying grammar rules or memorizing vocabulary, learning a new language allows us knowing another culture, different communication codes, details of an unknown place, features related to its weather, music or gastronomy.
Learning English requires people to develop skills by reading, writing and speaking. Speaking can be hard because it is an almost automatic process where people don't have time to analyse in detail and therefore is likely to make more mistakes.
Pronunciation is an important aspect of the learning process. Even if the message is understood as expected, there are many details that also have a particular meaning and are implied in the way people pronounce.
Everyone has a different accent, the accent which identifies them, but beyond that, it is possible to educate the ear and improve the pronunciation.
According to David Shariatmadari, an editor and writer for The Guardian "the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary lists 171,476 words as being in common use. But the average person's vocabulary is tens of thousands smaller, and the number of words they use every day smaller still. There are bound to be things we've read or are vaguely familiar with, but not able to pronounce as we are supposed to".
One of the reasons which make pronunciation more difficult is the complexity of the language itself because phonemes often sound different according to the word they are in and that makes pronunciation tough.
For a good pronunciation, you must be willing to work on it intensively. There are many fun ways to do so and here we present three of them:
It is possible to find printed books with an audiobook version. It is a very good tool to practice your listening and pronunciation at the same time. While you are listening to the book, you can pause to repeat what you hear and even recording your own voice to compare and improve your pronunciation. This is also a very good technique to learn new vocabulary.
There must be many songs in English that you already love. There are even more that you will surely discover. The idea is listening to them while singing them along. Search the lyrics of the songs to understand better what they are about and practice during a karaoke night with your friends. It is one of the most fun techniques, and on the internet, you can find a list of very useful songs to achieve the goal.
Speak a lot. Go out for a coffee with your native English speakers’ friends. Enjoy learning with them. Share your doubts with them and be grateful when they correct you - encouraging them to correct you is even more effective! There is no better exercise than practising with native speakers to soften your accent!
4. Watch pronunciation videos online
Youtube is a fantastic source of all kinds of knowledge and tutorials. If you search well, chances are you’ll find incredible short classes that will complement your English course or your hunger for learning another language on your own. A good example is the video series of 1-minute pronunciation tutorials that Discover English has launched to carefully explain how to produce difficult or confusing sounds in English.
People say “if there’s a will, there’s a way”, so no matter your level or your budget, improving your pronunciation is usually more accessible than you think if you make it part of your daily goals!