Pronunciation is the way in which a word is spoken. This may refer to sequences of sounds used in speaking a given word (“correct pronunciation”), or simply the way a particular individual speaks a word.
A word can be spoken in different ways by various individuals or groups, depending on many factors, such as: the duration of the cultural exposure of their childhood, the location of their current residence, speech or voice disorders, their ethnic group, their social class, or their education.
Three simple techniques that Genlish Team ensures you follow to improve pronunciation are:
Speak Slow, not Fast
Speaking slow is very important to be understood and convey what you want clearly. It is very common for people to think that speaking fast will actually help them sound smarter and more fluent—but that is not true.
Speaking fast will actually increase your pronunciation mistakes, decrease clarity, and will leave your listeners confused. Slowing down helps you pronounce English sounds better.
Open your Mouth
Correct English Pronunciation requires you to open your mouth. This is very important to pronounce English sounds correctly and will also help to increase your clarity when speaking English. You will sound clear and will be understood much better by those around you.
Be Loud when you Speak
Lack of confidence in your English communication usually goes hand in hand with speaking very softly at a low volume. This will make you sound muffled, confusing, and like you are mumbling. So speak louder so that others can actually hear what you are saying.
If you do not feel confident in your spoken English, or if you’re too scared of making mistakes when you speak English, then this will surely help you. Speaking softly will make you be understood even less than speaking louder and making mistakes.
Along with the above factors, another key factor to get right pronunciation or accent is STRESS. To get correct pronunciation we need to put different degrees of emphasis on the words and syllables in the sentences.
To communicate clearly when you are speaking in English, it’s important to stress the correct syllables in each word. This is called word stress, which means pronouncing one syllable of a multisyllabic word with greater emphasis (stress) than the other syllables in the word.
A word might have one syllable (like “ass” or “fan”) or more, such as “no – tice” (two syllables), “com –pa – ny” (three syllables), “ne – ce – ssa – ry” (four syllables), etc.
Practice the following activities keeping in mind the above techniques:
Talk to Yourself
Whenever you’re at home (or alone somewhere else) you can practice your English with yourself. If you’re already thinking in English, try speaking your thoughts out loud. Read out loud, too. Practice is practice, and even if you don’t have anyone to correct your mistakes, just the act of speaking out loud will help you become more confident.
When you try this approach, you learn by yourself to use the vocabulary that you’ve learned; you can prepare some topics beforehand for future conversations as well, and at the same time you are working on your pronunciation.
Use a Mirror
Set aside five minutes of your time every day to stand in front of the mirror and talk to yourself. If you find five minutes too long, start with a minute and slowly extend the duration as you progress.
You can start by telling yourself how your day was and what you were up to. Pause and think about what you want to say and continue talking for the time you have set aside. If it helps, you can write down short sentences or words on a piece of paper before you starting talking. Refer to the paper to use the words and sentences when you need to.
Also read: Fix English speaking embarrassment
Focus on pronunciation
While speaking with yourself or while doing mirror activity, focus on pronunciation of the word. Ensure that you stress on right syllable and not on grammar. This may mean that your sentences won’t be grammatically perfect, but it’s okay.
If you focus on pronunciation instead of correct grammar, you’ll still be understood and you’ll sound better. You can correct the grammar of the sentences later as you learn them better.
Try some tongue twisters
Tongue twisters are series of words that are difficult to say quickly. The purpose of Tongue Twisters is to speak the English language to perfection.
The subtle changes in the spellings make the words mean different, look different, and definitely pronounced different.
“Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers…”
“She picked sea shells on the sea shore…”
Tongue twisters are a good way to perfect the pronunciations of words.
Listen and Repeat
Watch English shows. Choose a short part of a show and repeat it line by line.
Try to match the tone, speed and even the accent (if you can). It doesn’t matter if you miss a few words, the important thing is to keep talking.
Also read: Make English Learning Interesting
Sing along to English songs
Singing along to your favorite English songs will help you become more fluent. To pronounce words clearly in English, you need to exercise the muscles used to make each sound.
We can do this through speaking but when we sing, we need to make each sound a lot clearer and louder. This gives the muscles in your mouth a real workout.
Pronunciation is as important to learning English as vocabulary and grammar. The above tips and techniques will surely help you to master your pronunciation skills.