You may know the grammar rules to perfection, have a broad and wide-ranging vocabulary, but not have the nerve to speak English. This is often due to lack of confidence brought on by poor pronunciation. To overcome this barrier, it’s critical to improve your English pronunciation. Read about our best tips to get there! Since the topic isn’t particularly entertaining on first glance, we’ve thrown in a couple videos and even a short quiz. Enjoy!
Pronounciation or accent, what’s the difference?
Accent is typically a geographic marker. Meaning that the way you pronounce sounds is characteristic of a country or region.
Pronunciation, on the other hand, is about speaking with the correct phonetics and the right stress.
There is no right or wrong accent, however, there can be good and bad pronunciations of a word.
So it makes no difference whether you decide to speak English with a British, American or Scottish accent
(notoriously tough), or even whether you keep your French accent.
The main thing is to learn how to pronounce the words in such a way that you can make yourself understood.
That’ s why we compiled a list of tips for you to start practicing your English pronunciation as of today.
Learn the pronunciation of new words
Familiarise yourself with the international phonetic alphabet
In English, and many other languages too, you can’ t guess the pronunciation of a word from its spelling. Between the silent letters, the accentuated ones and other linguistic ‘quirks’, this is far too difficult.
A foolproof way to learn a new word in English properly is to study its pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet. When you read a newspaper article, for instance, and come across an unfamiliar word, check its pronunciation in the dictionary (in addition to its definition).
🎲 Quick quiz: can you guess the words below from their phonetic transcription? Answers are given at the end of the article.
Use Google Translate
For those who find learning phonetic characters too tedious, there are other tools available to help improve word pronunciation in English. One of these is Google’s translation software.
All you have to do is type a word into the translation tool and click on the built-in speaker to find out how it’s pronounced. This is a relatively unknown yet very useful feature!
The only downside is that the voice that reads the words is a little too robotic for our taste. At 1to1PROGRESS, there is nothing we like better than real trainers to help learners improve their pronunciation in English.
Improve your overall English pronunciation
Practice listening and repetition
Listening to the pronunciation of words on Google Translation is good; attempting to repeat them is better! Yep, the best way to improve your pronunciation in English is to practise. And nothing is better than repetition.
This allows your mouth to control the movements you need to make to pronounce sounds accurately. Through repetition, the muscle memory will allow you to pronounce the word in question more easily. Don’t hesitate to over-articulate until the way you pronounce the word in English comes naturally to you.
You could also do this with your favourite songs, cult movie lines, or repeat what your favourite show host says.
We do not always notice our own pronunciation as we speak. You can gain some perspective by recording yourself and listening to yourself again later. You will be able to identify the problematic phonemes more easily and work on them harder.
The following are three English examples of sounds that don’t exist in French and can prove difficult to pronounce for French-speakers:
- the [ɹ] or English « r » which
has nothing to do with
the French « r »;
- the [θ] or « th » as in thanks,
which French-speakers tend
to say like a « t »;
- the [ð] or renowned « th » as in the, which they often pronounce
like a « z ».
Work on pronunciation and confidence with a native speaker.
As we mentioned earlier, confidence is also a key factor in your fluency and ease when it comes to speaking the English language. If you are still afraid to jump into the deep end by talking to English-speaking friends or acquaintances, practice with a trainer.
He’ ll be best suited to help you overcome language barriers and make you a pronunciation champion. At the end of the day, helping you progress in English is his job! By working on your diction with an English teacher, you benefit from hearing the correct pronunciation of words, being able to repeat them and receiving direct advice.
At 1to1PROGRESS, all our trainers are native speakers in the language they teach. So you can count on them to help you in all aspects of the learning process, including improving your English pronunciation. Are you ready to speak English with ease and fluency?
Well, we couldn’t possibly allow you to leave without a little challenge… Can pronounce this tongue twister without stumbling? Good luck!
quiz answers : 1. dictionary ; 2. apple ; 3. cloud.