In order to improve your spoken English, it’s not always enough to converse with native speakers. Perfecting your English pronunciation also requires you to break habits through conscious self-correction. Working with a professional teacher is key. However, here are some other techniques and resources you can use to supplement your in-class learning.
Train Your Ears
When you’re not working with your professional teacher, take time to make sure you truly understand the correct way to pronounce English vowels and consonants.
For extra-curricular training, resources like Sounds of Heaven provide clear instructions, examples, and audio recordings of correct English pronunciation, including information on how to use stress and intonation correctly to convey meaning. Spend some time listening to and repeating the correct sounds. Repetition is the key to success.
Practice Speaking With the Pros
When you’re outside of the classroom and can’t find a native speaker, find interesting audio recordings you can practice speaking along with.
One great resource is American Rhetoric. This website collected, recorded, and transcribed 100 of the most important speeches in American History. You can listen to the original speaker and read along with them. Try to match your voice with the voice on the recording to improve your English pronunciation. You might learn some interesting facts about American history and culture while you’re at it.
Record and Listen to Yourself
When learning a new language, we are often not aware of the mistakes we continue to make. Record your own voice and listen to yourself in order to see where you might have room for improvement.
Natural Readers is a free application that allows you to listen to any written text you choose in a natural, English voice. First download the service on your computer, then record yourself listening to the text and repeating the sounds sentence by sentence. When you listen to the recording and compare your voice with the native speaker, you will become aware of any mistakes you might not be hearing yourself make.
It takes time to perfect your spoken English pronunciation but with the help of a good teacher, these resources, and a little determination, you are on your way!