The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Speaking English with Ease
When you are watching television your goal is to imitate the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation of native speakers, so that your way of speaking is correct and natural. As you watch TV and movies, choose somebody who has your type of voice, communication style, and who you would like to emulate. Try to observe the mouth movements of the speakers. If you don’t know, ask your friends to recommend somebody. You could even memorize parts of movies you like, imitating the actors. Repeat what they are saying, while imitating the intonation and rhythm of their speech.
Slow your speech down
If you speak too quickly, and with the wrong intonation and rhythm, native speakers will have a hard time understanding you. Don’t worry about your listener getting impatient with your slow speech because it is more important that everything you say be understood.
Listen to English Music
Listening to songs will also allow you to focus on your pronunciation and understanding of the English language’s rhythm, tone and beat. Many of the words and sound patterns within a song are repetitive and this makes it easier for them to stick in your mind. Tunes and lyrics will often infiltrate our thoughts and play over and over in our minds. The language used in songs is casual and actually usable, if you pick the right music.
Get in the habit of checking the pronunciation of English words in a dictionary. Try and familiarize yourself with the phonetic symbols of your dictionary. When you’re speaking and you’re not 100% sure how to pronounce something, don’t guess, if possible, check the correct pronunciation before you say it. If not, then at least check it soon afterwards. Look up the correct pronunciation of words that are hard for you to say.
Make a List of Frequently Used Words
This enables you to pronounce difficult words. You can ask someone who speaks the language well to pronounce them for you or you can record these words listen to them and practice saying them. Listen and read at the same time. Keep revising these words unless you learn them by heart.
Pronounce English Words
Recognition is important because it lets you learn the pronunciations of words from spoken English. You can’t learn English pronunciation if you can’t tell the difference between English sounds, just like you can’t learn spelling if you can’t tell the difference between letters. Pay special attention to ‘S’ and ‘ED’ endings. This will help you strengthen the mouth muscles that you use when you speak English.
Record Yourself Speaking
Many people hate to hear the sound of their voice and avoid listening to themselves speak. However, this is a very important exercise because doing it will help you become conscious of the mistakes you are making. As you record yourself, you will force yourself to have a correct pronunciation. You are always your worst critic. When you are ready to speak, just click on the recorder and record your voice. Play it back. Listen it carefully, and try to repeat the sentences out loud a few times, saying them more smoothly and naturally. Then record your voice again and compare it to your first recording.
You can change the way you speak but it won’t happen overnight. People often expect instant results and give up too soon. You can change the way you sound if you are willing to put some effort into it. As with all language study, those who persevere are those who succeed.