How can I pronounce English well

This will help you improve your English pronunciation effortlessly and sound like a native speaker

Whether you are already fluent in English or are just starting to learn English, you face the same problem - pronunciation. Sometimes it takes me more than six months and sometimes just a few weeks to help students perfect their English pronunciation. It always depends on how quickly the students learn and how quickly the mouth muscles get used to the new language. For this reason, beginners in particular should do half an hour of pronunciation practice every day. These can best be integrated into everyday speaking exercises. Those looking to improve their pronunciation face an even greater challenge. The reason is that you first have to admit that you have always pronounced certain words incorrectly and then you have to get used to the new pronunciation. This will slow down your flow of speech significantly at first, but in the end you will see the results you want.

So how do you improve your English pronunciation to sound like a native speaker? Here are a few tips based on my own experience.

 

Start small - practice difficult consonants and vowels

There are more than 24 consonant sounds in English, but only nine - th / θ /, / ð /, s, z, v, w, r, p, l, ng - / ŋ /, cause problems. Once you have mastered these sounds, vowels become like / æ /, / ʌ /, / ə / (black), / ɜ: /, / ʊ / look like a no-brainer. But do you know the difference between a short one / e /, a stretched / æ /, an unstressed one / ə /, and a long one / ɜ: /? If you still have doubts, please watch the video below:

You can also check out the following series of exercises for the short one / e / and the stretched / æ /. The channel is specifically designed to help students learn the American pronunciation they want:

And here are more videos about the lute / ɜ: / and / ə / to practice:

If you want an overview of all American accent rules, you can either choose a specific course, such as that from Udemy, or you can start studying with an American teacher. He can help you to practice the rules and he can adapt to your individual learning pace. For free resources, I recommend similar video channels or websites. For example, you can find a large number of English pronunciation rules for beginners in Tim’s Pronunciation Workshop on the BBC Learning English page.

The best exercise for consonant sounds like / θ / or / ð / are first tongue exercises. If you work with a teacher, you've probably already been shown how to place your tongue between your teeth and, with a soft smile, words like thing, that, there, this, through, thought, them, etc. pronounce. To practice your English pronunciation without a teacher, I recommend the following tutorial videos:

To the sound / θ / to practice:

To the sound / ð / to practice:

And here is an example to finally understand what your mouth should look like when you sculpt these sounds:

To get used to air being forced through your mouth along your tongue, I always encourage my students to imagine that you are an animal: a snake for the sound / θ / and a bee for the sound / ð /.

Repeat the words separately, then together with other words until you get used to the pronunciation. Only then do you start with tongue twisters.

Continuous practice with tongue twisters

There are tons of free resources (as mentioned above) that you can use to improve your English pronunciation. This allows your muscles to get used to the new language. It's almost like exercising in the gym: keep practicing the same sound until your tongue and cheeks start to hurt.

However, you should always make sure that your lips and tongue are in the correct position to make all of these sounds.

For the / w / Sound, for example, you have to make your lips round, like a small circle. For the / v / Loudly, however, your lips should be as flat as possible.

Here's another tongue twister to practice both sounds:

My tip for the voiceless plosive / p / Loud is my favorite tongue twister Peter Piper (see below).

Another good exercise is as follows: hold a piece of paper in front of your mouth, close your mouth a little, and then blow out of your mouth / p / According to. If you do this exercise correctly, the leaf will move a bit. Do not repeat this exercise too often and control your breathing so that you do not start coughing or gasping for air.

Peter Piper

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Another recommendation for learning tongue twisters: Start speaking more slowly than you normally speak, as you will find it difficult to repeat the same sound that many times at the beginning. Incidentally, even native speakers often find the pronunciation of tongue twisters difficult the first time.

So don't be too strict with yourself and remember to always take enough breaks. Apart from that, you can always insert these weak sounds in between after complex grammar, reading or writing exercises.

Also read our related article "As you can imagine in English”For more information on improving your general language skills.

Six Best Practices for Learning English Pronunciation

If you're looking for ways to completely mimic a native speaker pronunciation, forget about it. The reason is that even the most talented teachers or students are unable to imitate the sounds of those who were born and raised with this language. Now you might be wondering, "Then why should I bother at all?"

Forget that thought, however, because near-perfect pronunciation can not only help you communicate adequately with native speakers, it can also help you spot the worst-pronounced words.

Hence, you should repeat the above tongue twisters at least every two days. At the same time, it is important to do as many phonetic exercises as possible.

Below are some of the most proven ways to practice English pronunciation:

  • Practice new words in front of the mirror.

The pronunciation of words in front of the mirror will help you to recognize weaknesses in your mouth movement and thus to correct them. Correct your mouth movement while listening to the correct pronunciation repeatedly. You will get used to the way you sound, rather than stopping every time you wonder if you pronounced a word correctly.

  • Read aloud and record yourself.

You should read any new text aloud until you have a good understanding of what your American or British pronunciation sounds like. If there is an additional voiceover to the text - even better! You should then record yourself reading aloud at least three times and then compare the recording with the voiceover. This is a lot of work, of course, but if you want to master English pronunciation then this exercise will definitely help you.

  • Listen to audio dialogues and take notes.

This exercise can be time consuming if you start with long stories. If you concentrate on short dialogues instead, you can focus on smaller language units. Then when you feel ready, listen to a clip from your favorite audio book and write down everything you hear. This exercise is called the “perceptual exercise” and it helps you recognize individual words in your sequence. The more you repeat this exercise, the easier it will be for you to recognize new words.

  • Watch good old movies.

You should focus on those films where the actors needed to pronounce the words of their monologues correctly. For this you can, for example, look at one of my favorite IMDb lists and choose a romantic film or an action film for a cozy evening at home. Of course, if you'd rather see the new Marvel movie instead, you can do that as well. Learning English should always be fun and will give you more motivation to do the aforementioned exercises as well.

  • Talk to native speakers.

To speed up the whole process, among the many teachers on Preply you can find a native speaker who can help you improve your English pronunciation. There may also be individuals in social media groups or forums with whom you can communicate. However, before joining a conversation, it is a good idea to do some research on the topic so that you can talk about interesting ideas.

  • Start the day with news and repeat the titles.

This exercise can get boring quickly if you only read the same media source over and over again; so I recommend that you compile a list of good newspapers. On my list are: Engadget, TechCrunch, Gizmodo, CNET, Mashable, etc.

Final thoughts

The previous recommendations will only work if you combine them with one another. You shouldn't just struggle with tongue twisters or just improve your listening skills. To improve your English pronunciation, take a complex approach and include reading, writing, listening, and speaking exercises. All of these exercises will guide you to the correct pronunciation.

Would you like to receive the latest updates on our learning tips? Click to sign up for our blog with best practices and recommendations from teachers.

Whether you are already fluent in English or are just starting to learn English, you face the same problem - pronunciation. Sometimes it takes me more than six months and sometimes just a few weeks to help students perfect their English pronunciation. It always depends on how quickly the students learn and how quickly the mouth muscles get used to the new language. This is why beginners in particular should do half an hour of pronunciation practice every day. These can best be integrated into everyday speaking exercises. Those looking to improve their pronunciation face an even greater challenge. The reason is that you first have to admit that you have always pronounced certain words incorrectly and then you have to get used to the new pronunciation. This will slow down your flow of speech significantly at first, but in the end you will see the results you want.

So how do you improve your English pronunciation to sound like a native speaker? Here are a few tips based on my own experience.

 

Start small - practice difficult consonants and vowels

There are more than 24 consonant sounds in English, but only nine - th / θ /, / ð /, s, z, v, w, r, p, l, ng - / ŋ /, cause problems. Once you have mastered these sounds, vowels become like / æ /, / ʌ /, / ə / (black), / ɜ: /, / ʊ / look like a no-brainer. But do you know the difference between a short one / e /, a stretched / æ /, an unstressed one / ə /, and a long one / ɜ: /? If you still have doubts, please watch the video below:

You can also check out the following series of exercises for the short one / e / and the stretched / æ /. The channel is specifically designed to help students learn the American pronunciation they want:

And here are more videos about the lute / ɜ: / and / ə / to practice:

If you want an overview of all American accent rules, you can either choose a specific course, such as that from Udemy, or you can start studying with an American teacher. He can help you to practice the rules and he can adapt to your individual learning pace. For free resources, I recommend similar video channels or websites. For example, you can find a large number of English pronunciation rules for beginners in Tim’s Pronunciation Workshop on the BBC Learning English page.

The best exercise for consonant sounds like / θ / or / ð / are first tongue exercises. If you work with a teacher, you've probably already been shown how to place your tongue between your teeth and, with a soft smile, words like thing, that, there, this, through, thought, them, etc. pronounce. To practice your English pronunciation without a teacher, I recommend the following tutorial videos:

To the sound / θ / to practice:

To the sound / ð / to practice:

And here is an example to finally understand what your mouth should look like when you sculpt these sounds:

To get used to air being forced through your mouth along your tongue, I always encourage my students to imagine that you are animals: a snake for the sound / θ / and a bee for the sound / ð /.

Repeat the words separately, then together with other words until you get used to the pronunciation. Only then do you start with tongue twisters.

Continuous practice with tongue twisters

There are tons of free resources (as mentioned above) that you can use to improve your English pronunciation. This allows your muscles to get used to the new language. It's almost like exercising in the gym: keep practicing the same sound until your tongue and cheeks start to hurt.

However, you should always make sure that your lips and tongue are in the correct position to make all of these sounds.

For the / w / Sound, for example, you have to make your lips round, like a small circle. For the / v / Loudly, however, your lips should be as flat as possible.

Here's another tongue twister to practice both sounds:

My tip for the voiceless plosive / p / Loud is my favorite tongue twister Peter Piper (see below).

Another good exercise is as follows: hold a piece of paper in front of your mouth, close your mouth a little, and then blow the out of your mouth / p / According to. If you do this exercise correctly, the leaf will move a bit. Do not repeat this exercise too often and control your breathing so that you do not start coughing or gasping for air.

Peter Piper

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Another recommendation for learning tongue twisters: start speaking more slowly than you normally speak, as you will find it difficult to repeat the same sound so many times at the beginning. Incidentally, even native speakers often find the pronunciation of tongue twisters difficult the first time.

So don't be too strict with yourself and remember to always take enough breaks. Apart from that, you can always insert these weak sounds in between after complex grammar, reading or writing exercises.

Also read our related article "As you can imagine in English”For more information on improving your general language skills.

Six Best Practices for Learning English Pronunciation

If you're looking for ways to completely mimic a native speaker pronunciation, forget about it. The reason is that even the most talented teachers or students are unable to imitate the sounds of those who were born and raised with this language. Now you might be wondering, "Then why should I bother at all?"

Forget that thought, however, because near-perfect pronunciation can not only help you communicate adequately with native speakers, it can also help you spot the worst-pronounced words.

Hence, you should repeat the above tongue twisters at least every two days. At the same time, it is important to do as many phonetic exercises as possible.

Below are some of the most proven ways to practice English pronunciation:

  • Practice new words in front of the mirror.

The pronunciation of words in front of the mirror will help you to recognize weaknesses in your mouth movement and thus to correct them. Correct your mouth movement while listening to the correct pronunciation repeatedly. You will get used to the way you sound, rather than stopping every time you wonder if you pronounced a word correctly.

  • Read aloud and record yourself.

You should read any new text aloud until you have a good understanding of what your American or British pronunciation sounds like. If there is an additional voiceover to the text - even better! You should then record yourself reading aloud at least three times and then compare the recording with the voiceover. This is a lot of work, of course, but if you want to master English pronunciation then this exercise will definitely help you.

  • Listen to audio dialogues and take notes.

This exercise can be time consuming if you start with long stories. If you concentrate on short dialogues instead, you can focus on smaller language units. Then when you feel ready, listen to a clip from your favorite audio book and write down everything you hear. This exercise is called the “perceptual exercise” and it helps you recognize individual words in your sequence. The more you repeat this exercise, the easier it will be for you to recognize new words.

  • Watch good old movies.

You should focus on those films where the actors needed to pronounce the words of their monologues correctly. For this you can, for example, look at one of my favorite IMDb lists and choose a romantic film or an action film for a cozy evening at home. Of course, if you'd rather see the new Marvel movie instead, you can do that as well. Learning English should always be fun and will give you more motivation to do the aforementioned exercises as well.

  • Talk to native speakers.

To speed up the whole process, among the many teachers on Preply you can find a native speaker who can help you improve your English pronunciation. There may also be individuals in social media groups or forums with whom you can communicate. However, before joining a conversation, it is a good idea to do some research on the topic so that you can talk about interesting ideas.

  • Start the day with news and repeat the titles.

This exercise can get boring quickly if you only read the same media source over and over again; so I recommend that you compile a list of good newspapers. On my list are: Engadget, TechCrunch, Gizmodo, CNET, Mashable, etc.

Final thoughts

The previous recommendations will only work if you combine them with one another. You shouldn't just struggle with tongue twisters or just improve your listening skills. To improve your English pronunciation, take a complex approach and include reading, writing, listening, and speaking exercises. All of these exercises will guide you to the correct pronunciation.

Would you like to receive the latest updates on our learning tips? Click to sign up for our blog with best practices and recommendations from teachers.