Unfortunately, proper English pronunciation is uncommon even among foreign language teachers. This is due to the initially poor choice of teaching methods. Many people still prefer the grammar-translation system, which is mechanical memorizing words and learning the rules. In fact, to train English pronunciation of must from the very beginning of acquaintance with a foreign language. Otherwise, to correct entrenched errors will be difficult.
Recommendations for beginners
1. The main thing – the regularity of classes. You don’t have to spend every day few hours to the study of phonetics and practical exercises. Giving lessons at least half an hour a day, soon you will notice positive results.
2. Do not limit yourself to textbooks and computer resources. Try to approach the task creatively. Many experts say that even singing in a foreign language helps improve English pronunciation.
3. Use the voice recorder. Listening to short texts written by native speakers, try to repeat it as accurately as possible. It is necessary to improve intonation, which differs greatly from the Russian. Do this simple exercise at least a couple times a week.
4. Watch movies and TV shows. Listen how the man pronounces the consonants and vowels, some syllables stand out in his speech. Also pay attention to what form does the mouth of the presenter or actor in the conversation or monologue.
5. Listen to the radio. A benchmark of quality English pronunciation is undoubtedly the BBC.
6. If possible, make sure to attract to employment of a family member or friend. This will allow you not only to practice the skills of oral speech, but also to spot mistakes in pronunciation.
7. Practice in front of a mirror. While you study phonetics, you’ll understand that the pronunciation of seemingly identical Russian and English languages sounds totally different. You will have to constantly monitor the position of the lips and tongue.
8. Use some proven sources of information. Be sure to mix and match textbooks and Internet resources, communication with real people and video tutorials. Also you may be interested in tongue twisters that help develop essential speech rate without loss of quality.
9. Select only one variant of pronunciation. There are many variants of English: American, English, Australian and so on. From the point of view of «correctness», the optimal solution can be considered the English of Oxford and Cambridge. Detailed study of one accent, go on to the next. At the same time explore a few options not worth it.
10. Read aloud. Particularly useful in this regard, a variety of dialogs (allow you to train intonation).
11. Pay attention to the stress. Note that the English pronunciation may imply the presence of 2 stressed syllables in the same word.
12. When learning new words and memorize them immediately with correct pronunciation and accent. In no case do not try to write the pronunciation in Russian letters: this step will make all your efforts futile.
13. Learn to write the transcription. Many textbooks come with audio course with phonetic dictations. Don’t neglect that monotonous, but incredibly useful exercise: work on mistakes will help you learn not only to speak beautifully, but also to better understand the interlocutor. You will no longer confuse words that are pronounced almost the same.
Is it possible to improve English pronunciation, generally without any cost? Yes. For that on the Internet there are useful websites which help to solve the problem completely free of charge and no less effective. We have selected the most effective and up to date resources:
- http://www.englishcentral.com – a great site that has hundreds of useful videos with native speakers. Some of them are dedicated to the explanation of certain aspects of pronunciation, others are created in order that you repeated them after the speaker. Informative, colourful and not boring.
- http://www.learnenglish.de there are basic information about the pronunciation of words in the English language. Also attention is paid to particularly complex sounds. Visitors can write a dictation, listen and repeat the tongue Twister or a poem.
- http://sozoexchange.com – with the help of this resource you will not only improve English pronunciation, but will also expand your vocabulary. Bearer of the language explain the meaning of words and details tell you how they are pronounced correctly. A considerable database of information will be useful even to advanced people.
- http://www.englishclub.com useful foreign resources, which will be interesting for those who wish to improve English pronunciation in a short time. Information on the site is designed more for beginners. The tables and accompanying images can significantly facilitate the learning process.
- http://www.soundsofenglish.org — an interesting website for students and teachers. Here are detailed information about the correct pronunciation of sounds, intonation of sentences, the accent. Also in a separate section you can find interesting games and exercises for practicing the acquired knowledge.
- http://esl.about.com — there are diverse verbal exercises designed for all levels of proficiency.
To improve English pronunciation only with the help of various websites, interesting videos and socializing with other people will not work: you need a system that is the basis for the study of the subject. The presence of textbooks is necessary. Most of the books from the list available on the Internet:
- English Pronunciation in Use (Sylvie Donna, Jonathan Marks) is quite a popular course to improve pronunciation. A collection of tutorials designed for people with different levels of foreign language proficiency. The authors acquaint the reader with the basics of phonetics, gradually bringing it to the subtleties of the issue. All the books are complemented by audio.
- Ship or Sheep, Tree or Three (Ann Barker). These two books have the same structure, only Ship or Sheep is considered a textbook for more advanced students (beginning with Intermediate). The tutorial is accompanied by a constant listening to the audio. Using these books you can not only put the correct pronunciation, but also to write phonetic dictation, to pronounce the dialogues, improve pronunciation. The manual is broken into many subtopics. As experience shows, diligently exercises of this course helps to overcome even serious errors in pronunciation.
- Timesaver Pronunciation Activities (Bill Bowler). A good book for those who wish to make learning phonics fun. An unusual approach of the author allows you to convert the boring rules in a fun quiz, crossword, games, all kinds of exercises. This guide will certainly appeal to beginners and those who know English on an average level.
- Elements of Pronunciation (Colin Mortimer). This tutorial is designed for more advanced students. Aid you will be able to analyze the most complex aspects of pronunciation and eliminate existing errors. The book is accompanied by a set of literate dialogues for a comprehensive study of the subject. Much attention is paid to stress and intonation.
- Test Your Pronunciation – a collection of various tests compiled by Peter Watcyn-Jones. This book is definitely recommended to use in between learning the difficult rules and theory. Depending on the level of their knowledge you will be able to choose the right guide. It is not necessary to take the book only if you started studying the language recently. Each of them contains about 60 tests, many of which are recorded on the disc. Each text is laid out in such a way that the student could not only test knowledge, but to systematize diverse information. This book is a most important task: helping to establish a strong link between the spelling and pronunciation of different sounds. Another plus – most creative.
Practice is the key to a good result
Of course, only the lessons and exercises will not give the desired result: you should regularly practice. For this, we recommend:
- To find a community wanting to improve English pronunciation online. On foreign websites regularly organizes such groups.
- Go to totalingua.com. It is a social network to search for the interlocutor to improve pronunciation skills. Free system allows not only to work the knowledge into practice but also have fun. Similar opportunities are offered on lingcom.ru.
- www.interpals.net in this social network to communicate with the people interested in language exchange. The resource has a good reputation. A conversation with a native speaker – an opportunity which in no case should not be missed.
Thus, to improve their pronunciation in just a couple of months of regular exercise. Try not too rush, it is much easier and better to remember small amounts of information. And remember: the end result depends largely on the organization of educational activities.