3 Pro-Tips to Improve Pronunciation Free and Adjust Accent
Have you faced a situation like this:
You speak with a native English speaker who cannot seem to understand anything you say.
You think you speak very clearly, not too fast, not too slow, just at the right pace.
But the native speaker just asks you to repeat everything because he can’t understand your accent.
We have all been there, right?
This is something that is very common to most non native English speakers who travel to English speaking countries.
You could be attending a business conference or traveling to one of your client offices.
Or you could be a foreign student who had scored well at TOEFL and GRE.
Whatever your credentials are in English, if others can’t understand your accent, it will make you frustrated and helpless.
This is where a clear pronunciation and accent is extremely valuable.
These pro tips will help you improve pronunciation FREE.
Improving Accent is a huge challenge
For most English learners, the biggest challenge to improving English speaking is improving pronunciation and accent.
Pronunciation is one of the hardest skills to improve in ANY language you are learning because it is a performance skill.
It is something that you have to practice regularly.
The Best Way to improve pronunciation FREE
Also, changing or adjusting pronunciation as an adult is not easy.
It is not easy but you can follow certain strategies to improve significantly.
Today, we are going to discuss 3 simple and FREE things that you can do to improve your pronunciation.
Remember, you don’t have to take any fancy accent reduction course or hire a speech therapists to improve your pronunciation. Those will only make you feel even worse!
You don’t need an accent trainer with a background in phonology to adjust accent and improve pronunciation.
Your tutor does not need to explain exactly how sounds are made.
Traditional English teachers “teach” tongue placement, voiced and unvoiced consonants, whether the mouth is tensed or lax, etc.
They also use diagrams to help the student see what their mouth should look like to create the correct sounds.
Please DON’T waste your time with teachers like this!
Pronunciation improvements don’t have to be this complex and technical.
You can make simple adjustments to your accent and improve pronunciation free most of the time.
The key is to make small improvements to the way you pronounce words and to make it a habit to closely monitor yourself.
Record your voice and compare
One of the first things I suggest to English students is to record conversations you have.
For example, you can be calling your Internet Cable company – record what you say on your smartphone or your laptop.
Play it back a few times. Now compare, your pronunciation to a native English speaker on YouTube.
Having a benchmark is the first step to improve pronunciation FREE.
This will allow you to identify the main words/sounds you are pronouncing different that native speakers.
This will be your baseline for your own accent improvement-training program. And remember, the key is deliberate practice.
Familiarize yourself with certain sounds in English pronunciation that are difficult for you.
For example, focus on a particular sound like R or V that stands out.
Then try to pronounce the vowel and consonant sounds together, before practicing the word, and finally the sentence.
Deliberate speaking practice is the most crucial point of learning English as it fosters familiarity and confidence.
Learn more about Spoken English Practice
Understand the subtle differences of Accent
Let’s move to our second pro tip on how to improve pronunciation free at home.
The key to reducing your accent or improving your pronunciation lies in the details.
For example, take the word “Garage”.
If you were brought up learning British English (most English learners in South Asia end up learning British English, growing up), you will pronounce this word as GARE-idge.
However, if you ever move to the US, you will hear Americans pronounce the same word as ga-RAHJ.
The difference is quite subtle, but most American English speakers who are not familiar with accents around the world will not understand you right away if you pronounce it the British way.
With a little adjustment in pronunciation, you can save yourself a lot of frustration.
But first ask yourself this important question.
What type of Accent do you want?
This is an important question you should need to address.
There are many types of English spoken across the world but there are 3 main types that students want to learn:
This is English that is spoken in the US.
If you watch Hollywood movies or American talks shows you will hear American English.
If you are unsure whether someone is speaking American English or British English pay close attention to how they pronounce the middle of the words between the vowels.
American English speakers pronounce the “t” as a “d” sounds when in the middle of words between vowels.
Here is full detailed free guide to American accents and how to master them.
These are the smartest sounding accents!
I’m kidding of course.
If you someone like Emma Watson or Russell Brand speak, you hear a clear British Accent
In our view, a neutral accent is the most universal type of accent you can get.
This is an accent that does not sound either British or American.
Rather it is a clear, easy to understand accent.
If you work with clients or colleagues from around the world, a neutral accent might be what you need. Sign up below for a trial lesson and we will help you get the perfect Neutral English accent that will enable you to speak English clearly and fluently.
The Best Way to get a Neutral Accent
By the way, while we are talking about how to improve pronunciation free, do you have our Free eBook on how to improve English speaking in 7 days?
Free eBook – How to Improve English Speaking in 7 Days
This Free 32 page eBook is based on the Spoken English Practice method
This is the fastest way to improve English speaking fluency.
How can students learn the Accent that they want?
Students need speaking practice the most, regardless of what type of accent they decide to learn.
Language is not real unless you can orally use it. Students can only improve pronunciations and fluency if they are ready to speak English.
Clear pronunciation of vocabulary will help students to build up their language and confidence to speak about topics.
In the Spoken English Practice classes, our teachers model corrections by repeating phrases when they hear continual errors,
But they are also mindful of keeping the conversation moving as over correcting makes students afraid to speak.
Sometimes teachers will use drilling techniques, but very carefully.
This is informed by understanding the types of errors students from different countries make, for example, many Chinese and Vietnamese students do not pronounce final ‘s’ sounds as this does not happen in their own languages.
Pay really close attention to Native English Speakers.
The number one tip to improve pronunciation free is practice.
You probably already know this but let me repeat – if you want to be fluent in English, you have to practice with Native English Speakers. Period.
There is no short cut or alternative.
While textbooks can help learn the basics, these skills cannot be mastered without frequent conversational use.
When you do have conversations with Native English speakers, pay really close attention to how they stress certain sounds.
For example, pay close attention to how they pronounce the “R” sound.
Go back your original voice recording. Is it as delicate as the way they say the “R” sound? Or look back at the “V” and “W” sounds. Or how the “T” sounds are pronounced at the back end of a word like “can’t”
Another example is words with the “A” sound. Words such as “bath”, “ask”, “laugh”, “class”, “chance”.
Pay close attention to where the sound is stressed. There is a very clear distinction in the way these words are pronounced in American English vs. British English.
These are small improvements you can make own your own, with a little bit of hard work and persistence. That said, if you feel like you need to find a Native English Teacher to practice these techniques with, just let us know.