One of the biggest challenges people face as learners of a second language has to do with pronunciation. The key to overcome any language related challenge is practice. “Practice makes perfect” is often said. Therefore we have compiled some tips and links to help you practice and improve your pronunciation:
I. Listen to English songs: While English songs aren’t always perfectly enunciated (sometimes pronunciation is sacrificed for the rhythm) , slow paced songs make the best example of enunciation. This way you won’t only practice pronunciation but also your listening skills! Try “Seasons of love” from the Musical Rent.
II. Practice tongue twisters: These aren’t just for children! Tongue twisters have long helped Second language learners to “loosen their tongue”, try it! For example:
1. She sells seashells by the seashore.
2. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
3. Betty Botter bought some butter
But she said the butter’s bitter
If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter
But a bit of better butter will make my batter better
So ‘twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter
4. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood
As a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
5. Susie works in a shoeshine shop. Where she shines she sits, and where she sits she shines.
III. Record yourself: this may seem and perhaps make you feel a bit silly, but it is true we aren’t able to hear our own pronunciation mistakes when speaking. So recording gives you the opportunity to listen intently and identify your own mistakes.
IV. Listen pronunciation podcasts such as English pronunciation pod, The American English pronunciation podcast.
V. Watch some pronunciation videos, like The BBC’s series The sound of English, or Rachel’s English or the English Language Club both available on YouTube or go on some websites for pronunciation such as Iowa university’s “The sound of speech” or Forvo which is a pronunciation dictionary created by a community of speakers of a wide variety of languages.
Now it is your turn to practice and you’ll see the improvement in no time!