Why is pronunciation important?
If you are a beginner and you have a small vocabulary, but great pronunciation, then you can communicate simply but successfully.
On the other hand, if you have advanced grammar and vocabulary but your pronunciation is BAD… then other people won’t understand what you say!
This is embarrassing and it’s a serious blow to your confidence.
If you have good pronunciation in English, you can be confident that whatever you say, you will be understood.
Pronunciation Tip #1: Practice minimal pairs
“Minimal pairs” are two words that are different by only one sound.
Some of these sounds may not exist in your native language, so it may be difficult to make the difference. Lots of practice is needed!
Listen to these pairs and repeat them:
- it / eat
- share / chair
- wait / wet
- bad / bed
- ice / eyes
- right / light
- free / three
- they / day
Pronunciation Tip #2:
Pay attention to word & sentence stress
Individual English words have a “strong” syllable, for example:
- Eng lish – stress on the first syllable
- im prove – stress on the second syllable
If you get the word stress wrong, the word can sound completely different and impossible to understand! Also, for some English words, their meaning changes when the stress is different:
- ob ject (noun) = a thing, an item
- ob ject (verb) = to disagree, to speak up against an idea
In natural spoken English, complete sentences also have stress. We don’t say each word in the sentence equally, like a robot!
Consider this sentence:
“Last Saturday, I went to a party on the beach with my friends.“
When spoken naturally, the stress is on the words Saturday, went, party, beach, and friends.
Pronunciation Tip #3:
Practice “linking” your words together
Many English learners pronounce each word clearly and distinctly, trying get the pronunciation perfect – but native English speakers don’t do this.
Natural spoken English contains links and reductions.
The words get “connected” together, and some sounds change and disappear when spoken at normal speed.
We don’t pronounce every individual word clearly. Here are some examples:
“How are you feeling today?”
Sounds like: “Howrya feelin’ today?”
“I’m going to have lunch.”
Sounds like: “I’m gonna-avlunch.”
Mastering these “links” and “reductions” will help your English sound more continuous and natural.
Pronunciation Tip #4: Use the “shadowing” technique
What’s the shadowing technique? It works like this:
1) Get an audio recording + transcript of a native speaker talking at normal speed.
2) Listen to the first sentence (or phrase) of the audio, then pause it and try to repeat it exactly, imitating the native speaker’s rhythm and the “flow” of the words
3) Continue – listen, pause, repeat after each phrase
4) If you can also try to do this without looking at the text, it will be even more effective.
Why does this work? Because it helps you learn the correct pronunciation with your EARS (hearing and imitating), not with your EYES (seeing the word and reading it aloud).
You’re practicing the “music” of English without interference from seeing the written form of the word – as you know, many English words are written differently from the way they are pronounced.
This technique is the closest way possible for training your pronunciation in the same way that native English-speaking children learn to talk!
Pronunciation Tip #5: LOTS of practice makes perfect!
The key to improving your pronunciation in English is lots of practice – just like physical exercise makes your body stronger, pronunciation practice trains your mouth to speak English correctly.
Remember that you are “re-training” the muscles of your lips, mouth, and tongue to make different sounds, after many years of speaking your native language.
This takes time and MANY repetitions!
Where can you find hundreds of pronunciation exercises that will help you master all the sounds of English?
The American English Pronunciation Course here at Espresso English will help you reach your goal of speaking clear, correct, and confident English.
In the pronunciation course, you will learn…
- All the sounds of American English, with lots of practice exercises
- How to make the difference between similar sounds, and eliminate pronunciation errors
- How to speak faster and more naturally
- Exactly how you can improve even further, with a personal evaluation of YOUR pronunciation by an Espresso English teacher
…and you can also add the Shadowing with Shayna course for even more practice!
Are you ready to start speaking English more clearly and confidently – today?
Student Story: Márcia
I’m from Brazil but I live in the U.S. since 2009, married to an American citizen. When I came here, my English was poor, just for survival. I improved a little bit, but my pronunciation was terrible and I had lots of difficulty understanding spoken English. “The American English Pronunciation Course” was exactly what I needed.
Shayna is an excellent teacher, she give you all the tips, she knows the difficulty the person has. In 30 days my pronunciation improved fast, my English is much better and I’m feeling more confident. Everybody noticed my performance.
Thank you Shayna for helping me learn better English.
– Márcia H., Brazil (now living in U.S.)
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
I know you’ll love this course and you’ll learn a lot from it – but if you’re not satisfied, just e-mail me within 7 days of purchase and I’ll send you a refund within 24 hours.