Others may understand you better if your pronunciation is clear. Here are four tips for improving your English pronunciation.
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Carlos has learned a lot of vocabulary and grammar, but sometimes others do not understand him.
When he speaks to them, they look confused. When he speaks on the phone, there is a long silence. The other person does not know what to say because she does not understand Carlos.
Has this happened to you? The problem is with pronunciation. A common reason for unclear pronunciation is that students learn only from books or from English teachers who are not native English speakers.
You can do at least 4 things to improve your English pronunciation.
Hear native English speakers as they speak. Listen to the sounds and the stress patterns. And listen a lot.
Watch videos of English speakers online and on your television. Download speeches, podcasts, and conversations, and listen to them on your portable audio player . . .
- while you are in the car
- while you exercise
- or while you are working around the house.
As you listen to a native English speaker, repeat what you hear. Try to sound the same. Use the same sounds and stress patterns.
3. Learn the sounds.
English has some sounds that many other languages do not have. Learn what those sounds are, and work on pronouncing them correctly.
When you listen, watch the mouth: the lips, the teeth, and the tongue, or as much of the tongue as you can see. All of these parts of the mouth create the sounds of any language.
Drawings of the mouth can show you the position of the lips, the teeth, and the tongue for certain sounds. In your mind, connect the sounds with the position of these parts of the mouth.
4. Learn the stress patterns.
Stress can appear within words. If a word has more than one syllable, find out which syllable is stressed. In English, syllables with a long vowel often have more stress than syllables with a short vowel. So in the word reader, the first syllable read is stressed.
Stress can also appear within sentences. For example, English stresses content words like nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and main verbs. The English language does not stress function words like prepositions, conjunctions, helping verbs, determiners, and pronouns.
So consider this sentence: "Carlos has learned a lot of vocabulary and grammar." The sentence stresses the main verb learned and the nouns: Carlos, lot, vocabulary, grammar. The sentence does not stress the determiner a, the preposition of and the conjunction and.
Listen, practice, learn the sounds, and learn the stress patterns.
If you follow these four tips, you will have a good start to improving your English pronunciation.