Improving your English Pronunciation

Thank you guys for the support on the last post how to use passive voice. I received a lot of positive e-mails for this post.

Many members told that they have problem on english while speaking. So I thought of posting today related to pronunciation.

First of all, don't worry about not having a native-English accent. It's important to be able to speak clearly, so that people can understand you. However, it's almost impossible to sound exactly like a native English speaker if you are learning English as an adult in a non-English speaking country.

However, there are many things that you can do to improve your pronunciation and your speaking skills.

1. Listen to spoken English as often as possible.

Listen to how speakers pronounce various words and phrases and "model" your pronunciation on what you hear.

2. Learn the phonetic alphabet.

Use the phonetic alphabet page (at the beginning of most good dictionaries) as a guide to pronouncing new words.

3. Don't forget to learn the word stress of a new word.

Every English word has its own stress, or intonation. For example, the word "believe" has two syllables (be and lieve), but only the second syllable is stressed. We say be'lieve and not 'be lieve. Your dictionary will show the syllable stress by an apostrophe (') before the syllable to be stressed.

Word stress is important. In fact, it is more likely that someone misunderstands you because of wrong word stress than because of the wrong pronunciation of a sound.

4. Work out which sounds cause you most problems in English.

Depending on what your first language is, you may have problems with certain sounds. For example, French speakers have difficulties with "th"; speakers of Mandarin have difficulties with "r" or "l", and Arabic speakers have difficulties with "p" and "b".

5. Practise the sounds you find difficult.

A useful exercise is a "minimal pair" exercise. For example, if you have difficulty distinguishing between "p" and "b", try practising pairs of words which are the same except for the sound "p" and "b":

For example, "pair" and "bear"; "pond" and "bond"; "pie" and "buy" etc.

6. Be aware of intonation and sentence stress.

Not all words in a sentence have equal stress, and generally only the "information" words (nouns and verbs) are stressed.

'Where's the 'pen I 'gave you?

'Where's the 'red 'pen I 'gave you?

Where's the 'red and 'blue 'pen I 'gave you 'yesterday?

The unstressed words (such as "the", "I", "you" and "and") don't carry as much "weight" as the stressed words. They become much smaller in length, and are almost abbreviated. For example, "and" becomes "un".

Changing stress

Sentence stress isn't "fixed" like word stress. In fact, you can stress words that are normally unstressed in order to highlight different meanings.

For example:

I 'love you. (Love, rather than just like.)
'I love you. (With the stress on I to highlight that it's me rather than another person who loves you.)
I love 'you. (And nobody else.)

Intonation

There are a couple of easy to remember rules about intonation. Usually our voices go up at the end of the sentence to show a question, and down at the end to show a statement.

Intonation is also important in "tag questions":

You know him, don't you? (With rising intonation on "don't you?" to show it's a question)
You know him, don't you. (With falling intonation on "don't you" to show it's a statement you expect the other person to agree with.)

7. Learn to recognise spelling patterns.

For example, "tion" on the end of a word is pronounced "shun", while "sion" can be pronounced "zhun". There are often many ways to pronounce a particular spelling pattern, but it certainly helps to know what the variations are. For example, the pattern "ough" can be pronounced "uff" as in "enough" and "tough", or "or" as in "ought" and "bought" or "oh" as in "although" and "dough".

8. Don't rush.

If you speak too fast, the danger is that you could skip over some words, fail to pronounce them completely, or mix them up. If you speak too slowly, you might end up sounding unnatural. But it's better to speak slowly and clearly than too quickly.

Comments are welcome.

94 Responses to “Improving your English Pronunciation”

  • By chandra on Jun 11, 2008

    it very excellent

  • By chandra on Jun 11, 2008

    it is very excellent

  • By sunil kumar on Jun 11, 2008

    nice to learn

  • By kumarswamy on Jun 11, 2008

    i fell it was tremendous and realy good

  • By Lal Sahab on Jun 11, 2008

    I learned today new thing in pronunciation. It’s realy very helpful . thanks a lot

  • By Rajshri Singh on Jun 11, 2008

    The text were nice to read, but along with it video of it would have more helpful.

    Thanks,

  • By Neha on Jun 11, 2008

    it will provide right direction…….
    thxns

  • By alex on Jun 11, 2008

    itz nice n useful

  • By VANI on Jun 11, 2008

    thanxs a lot! its really good!

  • By prakash on Jun 12, 2008

    carry n the good work

  • By gowrish on Jun 12, 2008

    Thanks for sharing

  • By Pravin on Jun 12, 2008

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  • By * Chand on Jun 12, 2008

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  • By Devendra on Jun 12, 2008

    How to improve written and oral communaction.

  • By Atul Dwivedi on Jun 12, 2008

    Thank for this chapter. This is good as like previous chapter. my request is plz give some idia for making spelling of any word……..

  • By Sujata Rajanalli on Jun 12, 2008

    Thanks a lot, I have learnt so many things. Still i want to improve.

  • By Simran on Jun 12, 2008

    very useful and important article. Thanx

  • By Neha on Jun 12, 2008

    its really gud nd helpful
    even if u kno these things stills u get to lern smthing new

  • By Srinivasa Reddy on Jun 12, 2008

    its very useful to learn how to speak & develope our communication skills
    thank u very much sir keep sending see u

  • By manasa t m on Jun 12, 2008

    its very useful thank u very much…

  • By kasthuri on Jun 12, 2008

    thank you

  • By Sumalatha on Jun 12, 2008

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  • Good IDEA

  • Good IDEA & best way of sharing the Knowledge go Ahead
    TNQ

  • By SANTOSH GUPTA on Jun 12, 2008

    Hi plz. gives ,how i speak english?

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  • By shivakumar on Jun 12, 2008

    Thanks lot…

  • By manasa on Jun 12, 2008

    it is very nice and a good oppurtunity for the freshers who r going to attend the interviews .thanks a lot

  • By john njoroge on Jun 12, 2008

    Thanks for your assistance please.Keep improving on my English.

  • By chitra on Jun 12, 2008

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  • By vinod on Jun 12, 2008

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  • By pranesh on Jun 12, 2008

    thank you u r really very super……..
    but i am having shy to speak english on stage
    how can i speak english without shy on stage?

    thanks

  • By ramesh on Jun 12, 2008

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  • By eziuche on Jun 12, 2008

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  • By sagar on Jun 12, 2008

    thanks a lot but i want more tips about to speak fluent

  • By henna on Jun 13, 2008

    these are very useful and i need more on this issue
    thanks………

  • By Pramod Sharma on Jun 13, 2008

    Today i got decent knowledge on how to speak english
    by the article you had written . That will really help me to further improve my english speaking skills and i will follow your instuctions

  • By GOPAL SINDHE on Jun 13, 2008

    thank you very much

  • By Fredrick Nishel on Jun 13, 2008

    Good Job! this would help many who are struggling to get the hang of this wonderful language.

    God Bless

  • By kaushal kumar jha on Jun 13, 2008

    thanking u for such help………..
    can u send some information about how to speak by some talking stories………..

  • By Anuj Duggal on Jun 13, 2008

    good talk of the claer english done.
    main stress on the selective words can really change the meaning of what we want to say clearly.

  • By arun kumar on Jun 13, 2008

    i have problem to spoken english, how to improve it………

  • By shiva on Jun 13, 2008

    really am very much satisfied

  • By ravi on Jun 13, 2008

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  • By ravi on Jun 13, 2008

    how to speck English poperly

  • By ravi on Jun 13, 2008

    how to write without mistecks

  • By Sbo on Jun 13, 2008

    It very useful and helpfull

  • By Devashish on Jun 13, 2008

    This will help in improving everyone. These are the basics which everyone forget

  • By banupriya on Jun 13, 2008

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    techpreparation helping lot to students

  • how to know words that r used in enlish.daily thhousands of enlish words r used how to remeber them

  • By shahad on Jun 13, 2008

    i want to improve speaking

  • By v.indravathi on Jun 14, 2008

    This is useful to all i want to improve speaking Pls maintain this

  • By Malar .AT. on Jun 14, 2008

    Thank you very much for your ideas.. They are really fantastic.

  • By Mukund Joshi on Jun 14, 2008

    It really works…….
    Please guide me about US way of speaking english

  • By vishal on Jun 14, 2008

    excellent

  • By saroj verma on Jun 14, 2008

    your work is very excellent……
    but plz you add some practice excercise …..

    information………
    because i want to prepare the some compitative exam..

  • By dilsath on Jun 14, 2008

    it’s useful msg!!!

  • By dilsath on Jun 14, 2008

    please send more tips!!1

  • it makes our eng. speaking clear & effective.
    it’s very useful…

  • By bulbul on Jun 15, 2008

    thanks alots…..expecting more.

  • By vis on Jun 16, 2008

    It is very informative.

  • By Clara on Jun 16, 2008

    I think it’s good, but an audio in addition to it would make it even better.

  • By mary-an on Jun 17, 2008

    i want to practice listening using an audio

  • By mary-an on Jun 17, 2008

    thanks

  • By aruna on Jun 19, 2008

    its very useful to all,especially for the people who want to speak english fluently.thanks alot

  • By HASAN RAZA on Jun 20, 2008

    Today’s topic was very good.

  • By sandeep on Jun 20, 2008

    I m very glad to learn it
    thank u very much.

  • By shweta gupta on Jun 22, 2008

    thanks i don’t have enough confidence

  • By M.KARTHIK on Jun 24, 2008

    “a good example is twice better than a good advice”, you are not only explaining it instead providing with an appropriate example.This gives us an fruitful knoledge,thanks a lot.

  • By phani on Jun 25, 2008

    it’s Good….
    providing some more examples(or related sites) would have been more helpful for us….

  • By Sathish M.R on Jun 26, 2008

    hai thanks very much it is good article to learn…
    pls continue it…..

  • By Miles Arce on Jul 1, 2008

    I think it will more effective if i heard your voice while pronouncing those word.but well i’ve learn much thanks…

  • By arul on Jul 8, 2008

    iam very happy to hear from you. your suggestions are very useful for me and sure it will improve my spoken english. thanks a lot to TechPrepration

  • By pravin on Jul 9, 2008

    useful to me, i will learn more

  • By sunil varma on Jul 23, 2008

    it is very easy process to learn english it is useful to me

  • By reshma on Jul 25, 2008

    thank you.It is very useful to me.

  • it is very useful to me…………..thank youuuuuuuuu

  • it’s very nice to go through ur words sir, keep on encouraging………..

  • By kiran dabral on Aug 12, 2008

    It’s a magnificient matter which u provide us.Really it will provide a great help.Please provide us benefecial articles about the language & send us regular messages on our id’s.
    The initiative you are taking is very much praising.It’s superb and i am thankful for that.

  • By nagaraj on Aug 22, 2008

    thanxs for the tips n good continue n better to remember the best

  • By nagaraj on Aug 22, 2008

    thanxs for the tips n good to continue n better to remember the best

  • By ajay mehta on Aug 26, 2008

    u made speaking a fun ,really game like , waooooo!

  • By Mahavir prasad on Aug 28, 2008

    i really found this article helpful ever since.

  • By swati on Aug 30, 2008

    i need mor tips on pronouncition

  • By devi on Aug 31, 2008

    First try to read the words in dictionary which have pronouncation .

  • By shishir on Jan 12, 2009

    It’s very useful tips but I need more if possible please send me.

  • By jael on Jan 20, 2009

    its very nice….excellent……can you send my email more practicing and example of improving in english pronounciation?……newei thanks….

  • By jael on Jan 20, 2009

    its very nice….excellent……can you send my email more practicing and example of improving in English pronunciation?……newei thanks….

  • By ASHOK SHARMA on Sep 21, 2009

    its very useful to all,especially for the people who want to speak english fluently.thanks alot

  • By Anush on Sep 30, 2009

    the thing was informative n a good one…..

  • By suman on Dec 2, 2009

    very nice to learn.

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