Your level of English is good. You speak with accurate grammar, a wide vocabulary and you read & hear well. But there’s one area that you may not have focussed on. 

How your English sounds. 

Are you using the full range of English sounds (45 in total) when you speak? Are you placing stress in the right places in sentences? Are you using English intonation or that of your first language?

In other words, is your spoken English clear?

Not sure? Let’s find out:

there are 4 key areas to pronunciation:

i) Vowel Sounds

English has a lot of vowel sounds – 19 in total, using 12 positions in the mouth (jaw/lips/tongue). Some of these sounds are quite similar, but not the same – compare the sounds in SIT/SEAT, BUN/BAN/BARN and GOOD/FOOD – they should all be different. If your first language has fewer vowel sounds, you might make some vowels sound the same. 

There are three free introduction classes in Central London every week – book your place here.

ii) Consonant Sounds

Some English consonant sounds are tricky – it depends on your first language, but many learners mispronounce ‘th’ sounds, /r/ and /h/. There are also strange silent letters and joining sounds that are not clear on the written page but can be learnt with rules. 

iii) Stress

The key to stress is finding the main syllable in any sentence (or unit of speech). English is a ‘stress-time’ language, so all the other sounds squash into place around this main stress, with many of them becoming weak. Choosing the main stress is easy with a few key rules, and here’s a tip – it’s normally towards the end. 

iv) Intonation

Intonation is the way your voice rises and falls as you speak. English uses a lot of falling ↘ patterns and a wide pitch range. Incorporating this into your speech can give more clarity and emotion, and avoid sounding bored or uninterested. 

If you’ve never studied these areas in English lessons, you may be able to dramatically improve your speech by learning some simple techniques like mouth positioning, voicing, the rules of stress, and controlling pitch.

It’s easy to start learning at Pronunciation Studio, with one of the following:

  • [thrive_2step id=’12867′]Sign up by e-mail[/thrive_2step] (free) to receive our ebook + audio ‘The 45 Sounds of English’.
  • Take a taster class in London (free) – there are 3/week – view here.

We’ve helped over 10,000 learners from all over the world to speak clear and confident English. Our team are IPA certified speech specialists with many years of experience in the classroom.

Speak Soon
Pronunciation Studio