English Pronunciation Tips & English Accent Tips
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Speech. Accent and Pronunciation Tips
Learn the Australian accent. Speak English clearly. See below for resources and great accent and pronunciation tips. Start improving your speech clarity and pronunciation today!
Steps to improve your English pronunciation:
1) Develop your awareness of pronunciation. Listen more carefully to the sounds you are making and the positions you are making with your mouth when you speak or read. Pay more attention to the sounds other people are making and also the positions that they make with their mouths. The first step is AWARENESS, once you are aware then you can start to change and improve your speech.
2) Try to identify what areas of your pronunciation require improvement:
- mouth movement (are you opening your mouth when you speak – see below)
- rate or volume
- syllable stress – word stress and sentence stress
- sounds – vowel sounds (eg. a, e, i ) and consonant sounds (eg. r, sh, l)
3] Practise. Regular practise is required to achieve change.
Speechmatters Commonly Mispronounced Word List
Correct your pronunciation of 30 of the most commonly mispronounced words in English.
Download a list of the most commonly mispronounced English words
Listen – most commonly mispronounced words- PART 1
Listen – most commonly mispronounced words- PART 2
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
Download a chart of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
Listen to the International Phonetic Alphabet for Australian English Vowels
Listen to the International Phonetic Alphabet for Australian English Consonants
English Pronunciation Tips & Accent Tips
Improve your pronunciation and prepare for speech lessons with the pronunciation tips below.
You need to put some time into it. Develop your awareness.
For most people, their speech doesn’t change with out working on it. This explains why many people might have been in an English speaking country for over 10 years and their language skills have improved very much, but they still have similar pronunciation patterns to when they first arrived. Some people wrongly assume that their speech will improve at the same rate as their language and listening skills.
Some people have a “good ear” for language and have a better chance at improving their speech without help. But for many people, unless they focus specifically on particular areas of their speech and work on changing those areas, their speech will stay the same.
We OPEN and MOVE our mouth when we speak English.
Click here and watch a great speaker, Barak Obama speaking (Fast forward the intro to him speaking). He has excellent clear speech and pronunciation. Notice the way he opens his mouth when he is talking. You can often see his tongue. Many Mandarin, Japanese, German and Russian speakers don’t open their mouth when they speak English. This can make their English unclear. We have many open sounds in English and opening your mouth can make a BIG difference in improving your English pronunciation. How much do you move your mouth when you speak English?
Don’t speak too fast or too softly.
Do people ask you to slow down? If you speak English quickly with some incorrect sounds and the wrong stress and rhythm, it can be very difficult for people to understand. Remember that professional and effective English speakers don’t talk very fast. They use pauses and a LOT of syllable stress. Allow your listeners to take in what you are saying, don’t leave them struggling to understand. You can instantly improve the clarity of your speech by slowing down.
If you have difficulty controlling the speed of your speech try to:
– pause more, especially between phrases and sentences.
– use more stress to highlight the key words of your message.
– use gesture to help slow you down.
Listen to HOW people are speaking English (not just what they are saying).
Listen to the rhythm of their speech. Pay attention to the way that the pitch of their voice goes UP and DOWN. English is not flat. The rise and fall of our voice when we talk actually makes our speech clear and easy for our listener to understand. So instead of just listening to ‘what’ people are saying, start to listen to ‘ HOW’ they are saying it. Listen to the syllable stress patterns ie. the UP and DOWN of the pitch of their voice and the sounds they are making.
Identify which sounds are difficult.
Make a list of words that are difficult for you. Think about which sounds are making these words difficult for you. Look for similarities between the words. It is very useful to become familiar with the phonetic symbols or International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) in your dictionary. When you know the phonetic symbols you can use your dictionary to help with your pronunciation.
Record your own speech.
Most people don’t like listening to the sound of their own voice but recording your speech is an excellent way of becoming more aware of the things that are difficult for you. Once you are aware of the areas you are having difficulty with, then you can start to change and improve them. Awareness is the first step!
You can definitely improve you pronunciation and speech clarity but it won’t happen overnight. People sometimes expect instant results and give up too soon. It takes practise and time. You can change the way you sound if you practice and put time and effort into it.