Improving Pronunciation

The following from our Linguist Forum may be of interest. One of our learners, Assad, sent an MP3 file of him reading a text. This enabled our tutors to pick out areas to work on and provide the following recommendation on improving pronunciation.

Assad. I have listened to one of your sound files and attach the text with some of the key sounds you need to work on by going to The Linguist PRONOUNCE page.


The hyper relaxed Fockers and the tightly-wound Byrneses are woefully mismatched from the start, and no matter how hard Greg and Pam try, there is just no bringing their families together – which all adds up to a disastrously funny time of ‘getting to know you


1) Your ‘p’s and ‘t’s and ‘b’s need to be more aspirated. Breathe out as you say them.


2) Prounounce the endings of words more clearly. ‘ed’ gre’g’ etc.


3) Pronounce all words clearly. You leave out the odd ‘the’ and slur words together. As a learner you must enunciate even more distinctly than a native speaker. Once you have the pronunciation mastered you can afford to get sloppier, but not at this stage.


4) Wound is pronounced to rhyme with “cow” in this instance. Wound is pronounced to rhyme with “soon” when it means an injury.


5) Practice your intonation on our PRONOUNCE page by listening to sentences, recording your own voice and then comparing.


Spend 20-30 minutes a day on our PRONOUNCE page working on the individual sounds and sentences that are available as individual MP3 files there. Focus on sounds that cause you problems.


Then find a text in The Linguist library whose voice and intonation you like, listen over and over to a short portion of that text, then read the text aloud yourself many times, imitating the speaker. Then record yourself and compare. Learn to pick out the sounds that you are not pronouncing like the speaker. Work on those individual sounds at our PRONOUNCE page. Do this over and over.


Pronunciation improvement requires two things. 1) You must develop the ability to hear the difference between you and the native speaker. 2) You must practice making the sounds. Both take time and improvement is gradual but certainly achievable. Good luck!

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