Tips to Improve English Pronunciation

Pronouncing every word correctly leads to poor pronunciation.

Good pronunciation comes from stressing the right words – this is because English is a time-stressed language. English is considered a stressed language while many other languages are considered syllabic. In other languages, such as French or Italian, each syllable receives equal importance (there is stress, but each syllable has its own length). English pronunciation focuses on specific stressed words while quickly gliding over the other, nonstressed, words.

When you are developing English and communication skills, pronunciation plays a very important role. A wrong pronunciation can communicate something that you never intended to or may confuse the listener or at times not provide the message with clarity. The biggest reason for this is that many words of the language are not pronounced the same way as they are spelt. Hence, you may have to concentrate on learning the correct pronunciation of words while learning English.

Here are some tips that could help one pronounce English words correctly.

■ Choose a paragraph and read aloud.

■ Choose a paragraph and mark each sentence with a sound script (helpful pronunciation markup).

This will help you read more naturally, and thus pronounce correctly.

■ Choose a few sentences from your reading material and highlight content words. Read these sentences focusing on accenting these content words, while quickly speaking over the structure words.

■ Once you become comfortable reading a single paragraph aloud, read an entire page by reading a paragraph aloud and then reading one silently.

■ Choose some nursery rhymes to practice. They will help you with pronunciation through rhythm.

■ Read a short story or a few paragraphs to a friend who is also studying English.

Compare the differences and discuss what might be the reasons for the differences.

■ Choose a paragraph, short article or newspaper story with new vocabulary. Use the Babylon dictionary or other online pronunciation resource to help you learn the correct pronunciation of these words.

■ Read a play with some friends. Each friend takes a different part. Start with short scenes. Once you are comfortable, read longer pieces together.

Taken from IBN Live: 24.07.11