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7 Tips for Proper Pronunciation

Do you want to communicate like a native English speaker?

Focus on pronunciation!

The way you pronounce words in English can really affect your communication. There’s no perfect English accent—there are many types of English spoken around the world. But your goal should always be to speak clearly and accurately.

Keep reading for some tips to practice your pronunciation!

1. Read Along With Podcasts

Podcasts can be a great tool for pronunciation practice. For this exercise, you’ll need an English podcast with a script. You can usually find scripts on a podcast’s website. As you listen, read along silently so you can see the words as the speakers say them. Next, try reading the script aloud, imitating the speakers’ accents.

2. Watch Your Mouth  

It’s true that English speakers don’t usually pronounce every syllable of a word. But it’s still important to know and understand proper mouth positions.

When you’re practicing a sound, for example, the English “r,” learn the correct mouth position first. Next, practice the sound in front of the mirror. By doing this, you’ll be able to see if your lips, teeth, and tongue are in position. If they’re not, try again!

3. Slow Down

Do you try to speak quickly so you can sound like a native speaker? You’ll get there, but don’t rush! Start by speaking slowly; make sure you know how to pronounce all the parts of a word—don’t just ignore difficult sounds. Once you know the correct pronunciation and intonation, you can try speeding up. 

4. Read and Record

Pronunciation is something that needs to be practice aloud. How you sound in your head might be different from how you sound to others. 

To really hear yourself, pick a book, blog, or news article, and read it aloud! As you’re reading, record yourself. Doing this will allow you to hear your mistakes and focus on specific sounds to correct.

5. Talk to Yourself

This one might seem a little silly, but you try it out! When you’re alone, just have a little conversation with yourself. This is a useful exercise for a few reasons: You’ll get comfortable with English sounds while improving your fluency, and you don’t have to be shy since there’s no one else around!

Talk about the things you’re doing at the moment, future plans, or whatever you’re thinking about. You could also set a timer for a few minutes at the end of the day and just talk about everything you did that day until the timer stops. 

6. Chat With an App

Try using a dictation app or a speech-to-text app like Google. When you talk into an app like this, you’ll know if you’re mispronouncing something—the app will show you what it thinks you said. This will help you see your mistakes immediately and focus on what you need to correct.

7. Talk to Native Speakers

If you have the chance to talk with a native English speaker, you can listen to their pronunciation and try to imitate them. The native speaker can also help you find and correct mistakes (if you ask them to). But where can you find someone like that? Try joining a meet-up group in your city, meeting a friend on social media who would like to video chat, or getting an online English coach

Conclusion

Clear, accurate pronunciation is an important part of English. To improve your skills, try some of the tips above! Which one is your favourite? 

Andrea is a Gabby Academy coach and education technolgy writer based in Vancouver, Canada.

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