Developing proper English pronunciation is an integral part of becoming a proficient speaker. And while your pronunciation doesn’t have to be flawless, you do want to be able to convey your ideas and needs clearly. This is a challenging piece of the language-learning puzzle for many students, particularly because many English language sounds are not present in other languages. But, mastering proper pronunciation isn’t impossible. Here are a few tips to help you practice.
British English or American English?
Both British English and American English are considered standard dialects of the language. And while speakers of both accents are mutually intelligible, their various pronunciations sound quite different. Before you begin your English study, determine which variation you want to learn, and stick to it to develop a uniform vocabulary. Jumping between the two dialects would be very confusing both for you and your listeners.
Listen to the Spoken Word
You can become more familiar with proper English pronunciation by listening. Stream music stations that play songs in English, or listen to podcasts and news stories in English. Even if you don’t pick up on every word, you will acclimate your ear to sound patterns that are commonly used in the language.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
You will train the muscles in your mouth to articulate new sounds through frequent practice. At first, you may need to speak slowly and over-articulate to get your mouth accustomed to forming unfamiliar sound patterns. Don’t be afraid to sound a bit silly! You can even record yourself pronouncing new words, and then compare your pronunciation with that of a native speaker to see how closely they match.
Learn Vocabulary Phrases
Concentrate on phrases and patterns of speech rather than isolated vocabulary words. Learning to pronounce words in the context of a sentence helps you develop an appropriate intonation and rhythm, which are both just as much a part of proper English pronunciation as individual syllable pronunciation.
With a little patience and practice, you can speak English like a native speaker!