Table of contents:

How to get cool English pronunciation
How to get cool English pronunciation

Bad news: watching TV shows in the original is useless for this. But there are other techniques that will help you get closer to your cherished goal.

How to get cool English pronunciation
How to get cool English pronunciation

When learning languages, not everyone needs work on pronunciation. Because:

  • If you do not take into account the inhabitants of the English-speaking countries (USA, UK, Australia, Canada), then most of the people with whom you will communicate in English speak globish. This is an average version of English for foreigners with a basic set of words and simplified grammar. The emphasis of those using the globish is far from ideal.
  • The most important thing in communication is that the interlocutor understands you. You don't need to have the perfect American accent to convey meaning to the people of the United States. If you are not terribly distorting words (and this is rare), you will be understood.
  • The native speakers themselves speak with different accents. Ideal is British Received Pronunciation, which can be heard on radio and television. It appeared in the 15th century and is considered a sign of a person with a good education, but in Great Britain itself, no more than 3% of the population speaks with such an accent. The States also have their own dialects, and linguists argue which one to take as the standard. Some call the Western dialect the General American. Others argue that GA is the speech of the announcers, represented by the northern type of pronunciation.
  • An accent can be your highlight - in the eyes of wearers, it often adds a special charm. Think of someone for whom Russian is not native and who speaks, softening consonants and putting emphasis in the wrong place. Charming after all.

Of course, having a cool British or American pronunciation has its advantages:

  • You will understand others better - simply because you pronounce it correctly yourself. Yes, that is how it works.
  • You will be better understood - this can be important if you need English for work.
  • You will be taken "for your own."

And here are the main principles of working on pronunciation.

1. Choose an accent

British, like Benedict Cumberbatch, or American, like Leonardo DiCaprio? All your resources for working on pronunciation should correspond to the chosen option: textbooks (yes, they are different), films, YouTube videos.

2. Set a clear goal

What result do you want to achieve? Just set a realistic goal, not "Want the perfect American accent." If you are ready to work only on this for a couple of years, then you can do this. But if you have a couple of months left, the goal is better formulated something like this:

  • I want to work out the basic intonation models and reproduce them automatically.
  • I want to master linked English - how words sound in a sentence.
  • I want to reproduce the difference between long and short i (feel / fiːl / - fill / fɪl /; seat / siːt / - sit / sɪt /) and the like.

3. Take the course

I am in favor of short courses with a clear program. We worked intensively for 3-4 months, got the result, reached a new level. When you work intensively, the effect is better than in a situation where you stretch the same program for a year.

If it is not possible to combine pronunciation classes with the main ones, take an online course on setting an accent, for example, in the summer - during this period, over time, everyone usually has more time to study. You most likely will not get an ideal pronunciation (this requires individual work with a trainer or perfect ear and perseverance), but you will definitely sound much better.

4. Hear pronunciation and read aloud all new words

Reading rules don't work in English. Break and brake are pronounced the same, but cut and put are pronounced differently. If you memorize the wrong transcription, it will be more difficult to relearn.

To find out the correct sound of words in context, you can use the service. It searches for words in speeches and lectures and offers three pronunciations: British, American and Australian.

5. In general, everything that can be read, read aloud

This is an additional way to practice pronunciation - why waste time looking for special texts, if they already exist. What can you read? Yes, everything: texts in a textbook, transcripts for audio and video, subtitles, exercises on grammar and vocabulary, posts of your favorite English-speaking bloggers, news, articles, instructions for foreign goods.

To learn how to pronounce phrases correctly without having to check every word, use. It instantly shows the transcription of the entered text, allows you to listen to it in British or American pronunciation, and also takes into account the weak position of the words. This means that the lexeme is not stressed in the sentence and it may sound completely different from the dictionary. For example, the preposition of is read as / əv / only when pronounced separately. In a phrase like a friend of mine, it will be heard as a very short sound / ə /.

6. Open the transcript of all video and audio

Listening to the announcer and reading the text aloud is one of the key rules when working on pronunciation. It will help to master not isolated words, but material in context (as mentioned above, in a phrase a lexeme may sound completely different). In addition, work out the intonation.

7. Try the shadowing technique

It consists in the fact that you repeat after the announcer not immediately, but after 2-3 seconds. Thanks to this small delay, you hear how the text is read correctly, and you have time to compare the original with your version - did you reproduce the intonation correctly? Have you spoken too quickly? have you made all the pauses? It's not easy, but effective.

8. Find yourself an example to follow

Pick a person whose accent you like and imitate their pronunciation. My ideal when working on an American accent was entrepreneur and blogger Gary Vaynerchuk. He has very bright, sometimes exaggerated intonations that are easy to catch.

9. Use audiobooks

Take a text, turn on an audiobook, listen and read. Convenient - no need to search for transcriptions every time (which cannot be said about videos on YouTube). I loved Crush it! all the same Gary Vaynerchuk - a book about business in social networks, and not a special manual for practicing pronunciation. This is even better: an interesting topic for you, a real one, not an educational text, phrases and words that can be used in live speech.

10. Record yourself on a voice recorder

Write it down, listen, mark mistakes, write it down again. To be honest, I myself have not used this method for a long time when working on an accent - I thought that I heard all the mistakes anyway. Moreover, I thought that my teacher was nagging. And when I wrote down my pronunciation and listened, there was no limit to surprise.

11. Work on one task at a time

Today, for example, work out the difference between short and long i. All attention is only on this. When the sound is delivered without errors in spontaneous speech, you can move on to the next.

12. Write down the words you made a mistake in pronunciation

Most likely, you will get confused in them over and over again. Make two or three sentences with each problematic lexeme (or type the words into the Reverso Context - there will be examples) and re-read them aloud.

13. Google a list of the most commonly misspelled words

And work them out.

14. Don't expect a nice accent if you watch movies and TV shows in the original

It doesn't work that way. No matter how much I sat on the sofa, looking with enthusiasm at the monitor, my pronunciation did not get better.

First, it is important to have an exceptional ear for music. You have to grasp the nuances in order to reproduce them later.

Secondly, you yourself may not hear your mistakes. The instructor will be very helpful here.

Thirdly, if you just watch, then you improve listening - listening comprehension. Obviously, but in order to speak better, one must speak, that is, repeat. Take a small piece and practice it. You can use eJOY Go or Puzzle English - there is just a video for 3-5 minutes.

If you are understood, but it is fundamentally important for you to get as close as possible to the cherished native speaking, remember the main principle: to get good at it, you have to work. At least four times a week for 30 minutes. So that your brain remembers how it needs to be, and the vocal apparatus gets used to articulating correctly.

Popular by topic