If you are a non-native English speaker, and you really want to speak fluently in English, where do you concentrate the most? Well, for the non-native speakers, the majority focuses on the grammatical structures and the lexicon. However, are there other things that need to be nurtured to enhance your pronunciation skill? Let us assume that you have a slick command in grammar and your vocabulary is also favorable but whenever you speak your listeners often can’t hide their baffled expression. What is it that keeps your listeners confused? This probably happens because of your way of pronunciation, causing your speech to be incomprehensible.
Getting worried? Please, don’t be. This is a common scenario and without any doubt, there are ways to improve pronunciation skill. Now, let’s have a look into 6 effective steps that can advance it.
Step 1: Decide your preferred dialect
Whenever we talk about pronunciation, we tend to associate it with accent. However, both of them have differences. Accent is the way you speak, and it differs regionally. On the other hand, pronunciation is the way you say any word using your mouth. Usually, accents do not carry greater significance. What is recommended for you is to have a good pronunciation that makes your speech understandable to all of your listeners. But if you are keen to speak in two of the globally acknowledged- British or American accents then improving your pronunciation should be the first step.
Step 2: Listen more and more
The more you listen, the better your pronunciation skill will get. Try to make your listening enjoyable. Think about what keeps your interest sustained. You can watch movies, listen to podcasts or tune in your favorite English songs. It will habituate you with new English words, the way these words are being pronounced, the different tones and their impact on pronunciation etc.
Step 3: Know word stressing
Word stressing is one of the most important tools to master accurate pronunciation. Usually, stressing focuses on the syllables of a particular word and how you say the word by shelling out strength on specific syllables. It happens on words that have two or more syllables. For example-Japan, Order, Present etc. these bold and underlined letters indicate that you need to stress them for accurate pronunciation. Notice that each of the bold and underlined letters has a vowel with it. Remember: every stressing happens with the help of a VOWEL.
Step 4: Understand the tone of voice
While listening to any conversational video or audio, try to notice the tone of the speaker in different situations and how this is carrying weight in his/her pronunciation. This is called intonation. It associates emotion with pronunciation to provide rhythm to any speech.
To put it simply, say this sentence: “The movie was good.” in three different ways- 1) A normal statement which implies that you are stating general information, but you are confident about it; 2) An excited statement that connotes you are highly enthusiastic or surprised by the fact; 3) A doubtful statement that indicates you are uncertain about it.
You will see that each of these tones will be different! Every language has this same feature which plays a salient role in pronunciation as well as the stressing of particular words. So, it’s highly effective if you familiarize yourself with it and practice accordingly.
Step 5: Read out loud & record yourself
Whatever you read, read it loudly. You can also record your voice while reading. It will help you to monitor your progress, and you can also uncover the slip-ups. It is quite reasonable to face difficulties in pronouncing tricky words. Do not hesitate.
I understand that recording your own voice, and then, listening to it may sound stodgy. But, it is helpful, and it can generate greater chances of accomplishment.
Step 6: Speak every day
This is the most essential part of your learning process. There can be several pronunciations that involve totally far-off letters that you do not have in your own native language. So, it is evident that the muscles in your mouth, your tongue etc. need to be accustomed to the new changes. Hence, you need to speak every day. The more you speak, the better your pronunciation will flourish. Speak with your friends or anyone who has a similar mindset. This will help you to apply the knowledge that you have acquired from the previous steps.
You can follow almost all these steps in any languages that you want to learn. So, deck out your determination and start your learning journey straightaway!