تاريخ التسجيل: Apr 2010
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If you are an ESL student and wish to communicate effectively in English for work, study, or travel, there are several things you need to improve, like listening, reading and writing. However, speaking is probably the hardest skill an ESL student will master. A lot of things go into effective spoken communication, one of which is your pronunciation.
Firstly, don’t confuse accent with pronunciation. There is always a correct pronunciation to be learned; this doesn’t vary from person to person. However, what does vary is the speaker’s accent, the distinctive way you express yourself orally, mainly composed of certain vowel or consonants sounds that you carry from your mother tongue. The goal is not to eliminate the accent, which is impossible, but rather reduce it. And the best way to reduce your accent is to practice correct pronunciation through exercises and activities that target this goal. Here are 7 tips that will help you reduce your accent:
1) Slow down
Probably the first thing you should focus on is speaking slowly. When you make a conscious effort to speak slowly, you not only speak more clearly to those who are listening, but also take the time to pronounce syllables, as well as vowel and consonants sounds as they should be pronounced.
2) Don’t forget the ending
Most foreign speakers of English don’t pronounce de “-ed” in past participles of regular verbs, and sometimes they neglect to pronounce the final “s” in plurals. Remember that the “-ed” in past participles may have three different pronunciations. Get yourself a good dictionary with phonetic symbols to know how each verb is pronounced.
3) Put yourself on tape
No matter how painful it may be for you to hear your own voice, it is essential that you record yourself and try to identify your pronunciation mistakes. Compare the way you pronounce a word to the way a native speaker says it.
Listen to tapes, CDs, native speakers, TV and try to imitate the way they pronounce some words. Watch the way native speakers shape their mouths as they say some words. Look into a mirror if you have to.
5) Control the troublemakers
Keep a list of words you commonly have trouble with, for example, words that start with the “th” sound, like “three”, “thousand”, “thigh”; differentiate them from other sounds like “three” and “tree”; “thousand” and “those”.
6) Pick one sound to center your efforts on each week
One week, you may choose to practice the “r” sound. Pick a newspaper or magazine article, print a blog post or web page, and then circle all of the words you find with this sound. Say them out loud. Use a dictionary if you don’t know how to pronounce a word correctly.
7) Use online resources
There are lots of great online dictionaries where you can hear the word you search for. Try for example this great online dictionary at wordreference.com. You even have the option to hear the word pronounced in American or British English.
So you see, there are several things you can do to reduce your accent, speak more clearly, and make yourself better understood. Just remember, practice makes perfect, so you must be willing to commit to working on your pronunciation at least a little each day. This effort combined with what you learn from your ESL program will get you speaking like a local in no time!
If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention www.englishlci.com as the original source).
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