- The importance of correctly pronouncing English
- Tips for perfect English pronunciation
- Repeat out loud
- Accent and intonation
- Talk to a native speaker
- Phonetic symbols for consonants
- Phonetic symbols for vowels and diphthongs
- English pronunciation exercises
- How to improve your English with General English
You understand why it is important to study English, and you are trying to learn it. You are struggling with grammar and endless lists of words, exercises, books but, I'm sorry to tell you, you forget something: the pronunciation! To speak English correctly, you need to have good pronunciation: if no one understands you when you talk, you risk frustrating all your efforts.
In this article, we will talk about:
The importance of pronouncing English correctly
Tips for perfect English pronunciation
Phonetic symbols for consonants, vowels, and diphthongs
Pronunciation exercises in English
How to improve your English with General English (GA)
Don't worry, and this handy guide will help you learn how to improve your English pronunciation quickly and easily! Let's go!
First of all, it is right to understand why it is so important to pronounce English correctly. It is not enough to know English grammar and words to say that you can speak the language. Pronunciation is essential for two main reasons: to understand and to be understood.
If you can't recognize the sounds of English, you risk not understanding anything when you talk to someone or when you watch a video or film or listen to a song in English. Likewise, when you speak or read aloud, you risk not being understood by your interlocutor if your pronunciation leaves something to be desired.
So, suppose you want to learn the pronunciation of numbers, days of the week and months, or other basic words. In that case, it is important to have perfect pronunciation if you wish to sound like a native speaker and master the language perfectly!
In this way, if you go abroad you will be able to communicate effectively and casually with anyone and, if you stay in Italy, it can be used to pass English exams. And, if you decide to get a certification, for a job interview, if you want to work in an international company or watch a film that has not yet been translated into your native language!
Of course, there are many other reasons why perfect pronunciation is important, but I think the above is enough! So if we've convinced you, we can get started!
There are many ways to learn English, but let's see below some specific practical tips to improve your pronunciation!
Listen to native speakers. The best way to have perfect pronunciation is to copy native speakers. It might seem like a trivial piece of advice, but it's not! Listening to native speakers' pronunciation and repeating what they say while trying to imitate them is a great way to perfect your pronunciation!
Listen to podcasts and radio programs, watch films and videos, immerse yourself in English with music. Try to internalize the pronunciation of native speakers and try to imitate it!
Practicing aloud is another "classic" advice, but very useful. It will allow you to practice speaking and hear any mistakes you make (and that you would not notice when reading only in your mind) and try to correct them. Read texts, speak alone, converse with someone paying attention to your pronunciation!
When speaking, don't limit yourself to pronunciation: insist on intonation and accent, to sound even more native! Listen to speakers from various English-speaking countries and mimic their accents. We often underestimate the importance of intonation, which can sometimes make us pass for native speakers if associated with a good accent!
Look at the physical side. The physical aspect is also important when learning the pronunciation of a language other than ours! For example, many sounds in English are produced by positioning the tongue and teeth in certain ways rather than others, often very different from those you use in your native language.
When exercising, pay attention and notice if you are using your mouth correctly. Many videos on YouTube tell you how! Speak slowly at the beginning to focus on all aspects of pronunciation!
Conversing with a native English speaker will help you in every sense: you will listen to the proper pronunciation, get used to the sound of the language, and have the opportunity to have yourself corrected if you make a mistake!
Don't be shy. Look for English people who live in your area or find one on language exchange sites like Conversation Exchange.
Knowing the correct pronunciation of the English alphabet is essential since sometimes the letters are not pronounced in the same way they are spelled.
b : boy – baby – herb
tʃ : chips – catch – picture
d : donkey – crowdy – toad
dʒ : jam – danger – fudge
f : full – laugh – phonetics
g : green – hug – league
h : house – hungry – who
k : key – car – luck
j : yes – onion – view
l : light – smelly – feel
m : man – tummy – lamb
n : no – funny – knife
ŋ : sing – uncle – angry
p : pen – hopping – jump
r : right – berry – wrong
t : table – little – watched
θ : thick – healthy – teeth
ð : mother – this – with
s : see – city – notice
ʃ : shop – nation – special
ʒ : television – visual – leisure
v : video – move – of
w : win – where – one
z : zebra – cosy – has
iː : keep – bean – mean
ɪ : ship – busy – printed
ʊ : could – put
uː : moon – crew – to
ɪə : ear – here – pioneer
eɪ : jail – say – main
e : bed – mad – said
ə : about – police – the
ɜː : bird – hurt – work
ɔː : door – walk – saw
ʊə : your – dure – tourist
ɔɪ : boy – point – oil
əʊ : coat – low – sock
æ : apple – cat – mad
ʌ : up – money – cut
ɑː : car – taxi
ɒ : not – what – because
eə : hair – careful – there
aɪ : by – try – mine
aʊ : now – our – mouse
How to improve your pronunciation through practical exercises? Let's see together some functional activities that you can start doing right now! First of all, you can practice with YouTube videos like this one, in which native speakers speak, to hear and repeat the correct pronunciation of each sound.
This way, you will be sure to learn the correct pronunciation! Online you can find many exercises to test your knowledge, in which audio tracks are played with words, and you will have to transcribe them correctly. You can find some here.
Once you have memorized all the phonetic symbols, you can test yourself with exercises like this one, in which by reading the phonetic transcription, you will have to go back to the English word. For example: / trænzˈmɪʃən / = transmission. You can find many such exercises online!
Other methods to train are: reading texts aloud and then listening to a native speaker who reads them, to verify that you have good pronunciation, conversing with a native English who corrects you and helps you improve, watching many films, TV series, videos, documentaries, listening to radio and podcasts (possibly varying the type of accent and therefore also the origin of the speakers), listening to songs, and so on.
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