At Pronunciation Studio we have seen thousands of students with the same aim – improve their clarity and control in English pronunciation. But which students make the most progress? Here we have compiled the top 5 tips that work:
1. Use a Mirror
Good pronunciation is about moving your articulators (lips, tongue & jaw) correctly. It is hugely beneficial to watch yourself doing this so that your awareness improves. Your lips will round when you say ‘chip’, your teeth will move off your lip when you say ‘right’, and of course your tongue may appear when you say ‘teeth’!
2. Record & Listen to Yourself
‘When I practice at home, how do I know I am doing it correctly?’ is one of the most common questions we hear in class. The answer is that developing your ear to recognise your mistakes is one of the key skills you need to acquire – the best way to do that is to record yourself – compare it to the original recording – how is it different?
3. Slow Down!
The best way to speak clearly is not to speak fast. You can speak English fast when you have mastered weak forms, joining and using tone units, but before using these skills correctly, speaking fast will simply make it harder for people to understand you. Slow down and choose the words you want to stress, it will make a world of difference for the listener.
4. Practise Little, Often & Everywhere.
Unlike learning grammar or vocabulary where there is a right and wrong answer, pronunciation is a physical skill and it will gradually get better as your mouth improves its strength and your ear improves accuracy so the best approach is to practice regularly in small chunks – 10 to 30 minutes every day is ideal. Practise at home, on the train, in the park – don’t worry if people think you’re crazy, the reward is worth it!
5. Love IPA
One thing that unites all of the students who reach a really high level of control over their pronunciation is that they learnt to use IPA and then applied it. English has 45 sounds (depending on the origin of the speaker) but only 26 letters to represent them. This causes huge problems in the relationship between spelling and sound – IPA is the best way to solve this for learners.
Share your tips!
Please send any tips that have helped you to improve your pronunciation to firstname.lastname@example.org – we will publish any good ones and give a free online class to any we publish.