[VIDEO] Watch this video as I share some great ways that you can easily integrate pronunciation practice into your daily routines! You can be speaking clearly and confidently much faster than you think!
This is probably the most common question I’m asked by my clients, and one of the hardest to answer. It’s a frustrating problem for learners because even if you learn how to articulate every English sound correctly, you still won’t necessarily pronounce an entire word correctly on the first try. You need to know which letters make which sounds, and unfortunately in English, certain combinations of letters can make a number of different sounds. My answer to this question used to be to “look it up”. In other words, go to an online dictionary like dictionary.com and press the little speaker icon to hear the word pronounced. I grew up with my mom saying this to me, and I think this answer bugged my clients Read More
When I was learning Danish I was excited to discover a treasure trove of dusty children’s books in the back corner of my in-laws’ closet. They were familiar stories that I remembered from childhood, and my husband and I quickly developed an evening ritual of reading the books together. He would read one page as I would focus on how he spoke the language. Then I would do my best to read the next page while he corrected my pronunciation. 9 years later, I now sit with my 3-year-old daughter reading her books in English while my husband reads to her in Danish. She has her favorite 3 books which get read over and over again to the point that she now has them memorized. Read More
I’m often asked whether how quickly we speak influences how well others understand us. If you speak clearly, speed shouldn’t be the reason why people misunderstand. But the problem is, as you speed up, it gets harder for you to speak clearly. If you drop your word endings and everything mumbles together, people might have a hard time understanding you. But, if you’re able to maintain crisp enunciation despite your quick pace, your listeners shouldn’t have a problem. More important than your speed is how you choose to group (or ‘chunk’) your words. Make sure that your pauses, no matter how short, are in logical places. You should pause according to your punctuation, after phrases and clauses or in order to emphasize important points. So Read More
Are people having trouble understanding you when you speak, but you’re not really sure why? The hardest part about improving your English pronunciation is figuring out what you might be doing wrong. Here are the top 5 reasons why people might be misunderstanding you, and some quick tips for how to fix each of these issues. 1. Stressing individual words incorrectly If you usually speak with native English speakers, this will be the number one reason why they misunderstand you. It’s very hard for native English speakers to ‘translate’ a word spoken as ‘caLENdar’ to the way they would pronounce it, ‘CALendar’. Non-native English speakers don’t have as much of a problem with this, and will probably still understand what you’re trying to say. Quick Read More
Minimal pairs are words that are identical except for the one sound you want to practice. For example, if you have trouble with the sounds /r/ and /l/ you might practice reading a list of words like read/lead, road/load, fry/fly, fright/flight, crutch/clutch and so on. Slowly say these words out loud and really focus on the sounds and the way you use your voice. Here are some helpful hints to practicing minimal pairs: – Say the words in a mirror. Exaggerate your facial expressions. Watch your tongue, lips and jaw, and note the differences when you make the sounds. Don’t worry if you look a little strange at first! As your mouth learns how to make the sounds correctly, you won’t have to make such Read More
Tongue twisters are a challenging and fun way to practice pronunciation and increase the clarity of your speech. It may just seem like play, but many stage actors, speakers and voice-over artists will attest to the power of warming up their lips, tongue and jaw by practicing these tricky twisters! Here are just a few examples. Practice the tongue twisters that include sounds that are hard for you to pronounce. Start slowly, and then try to gradually speed up and add repetitions. i & ee: -I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit. s & sh: -Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore. -Shy Shelly says she shall sew sheets. l & r: -Red lorry, yellow lorry, Read More