Jump to content
Linguaholic

How can language learners improve their pronunciation in English?


Recommended Posts

In the process of learning language ( English) you can face to some problems. Even if your  vocabulary and English grammar are perfect, it can still be difficult for people to understand you because of your pronunciation. Learning to pronounce English words correctly  can be one of the hardest parts of learning English. So, what can you suggest in order to improve pronunciation skill?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, Nargis. You're right ..Pronunciation is a very common problem for beginners who learn English language and even for many English-speaking people.. Personally, for making better my pronunciation, l listen to music in English much, read as many articles and books as I can and also the best way to achieve your goal is to pronounce English words many times..However, pronunciation is one of the hardest skills to improve because it is a performance skill. It is something that you have to practice. So I wish you good luck Nargis in improving your pronunciation..I hope my mini-tips above will help you correct bad habits and improve your pronunciation so that you can speak English confidently!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

If the learner is an adult, I suggest learning IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), just the subset of it that English uses. By no means do I suggest excluding other practices, especially lots of listening to native speakers and mimicking. But knowing and consciously checking the tongue positions and articulating places with the help of IPA is an important supplementary method. Most adults don't do this, and they end up with heavy accent the rest of their life.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, yong321 said:

If the learner is an adult, I suggest learning IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), just the subset of it that English uses. By no means do I suggest excluding other practices, especially lots of listening to native speakers and mimicking. But knowing and consciously checking the tongue positions and articulating places with the help of IPA is an important supplementary method. Most adults don't do this, and they end up with heavy accent the rest of their life.

Totally agree. Awesome advice!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading


Hey Nargis,

Reading aloud is the best way to improve your pronunciation, fluency, and confidence. Read aloud from your book, or from an article online, or from an app or online English program that you sign up for. Start with simple practice sentences and go from there. You could try duolingo or EnglishHelper - they’re both excellent for learning English. 

I hope that helps!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Hey Nargis,

I think Pimsleur courses may be very helpful in this case but it's a kind of a "costly" solution. Plus, many language learning apps like Memrise or Rosetta Stone now have a speech recognition system that compares your prononciation with the prononciation of a native speaker. If you fail to produce anything similar, you have to say it again, and again, and again...until it matches. Though, it can be very frustrating :D

You can also find an English speaking blogger or a public figure whose style and prononciation you like. It can be someone like Tim Ferriss or David Allen who give lots of conferences and make lots of podcasts/audiobooks/webinars. And then just listen a lot of this person. Quite often you'll unconsciously adjust your speech to imitate his/her style. And you can learn a lot of new vocabulary this way.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Alina K said:

Hey Nargis,

I think Pimsleur courses may be very helpful in this case but it's a kind of a "costly" solution. Plus, many language learning apps like Memrise or Rosetta Stone now have a speech recognition system that compares your prononciation with the prononciation of a native speaker. If you fail to produce anything similar, you have to say it again, and again, and again...until it matches. Though, it can be very frustrating :D

You can also find an English speaking blogger or a public figure whose style and prononciation you like. It can be someone like Tim Ferriss or David Allen who give lots of conferences and make lots of podcasts/audiobooks/webinars. And then just listen a lot of this person. Quite often you'll unconsciously adjust your speech to imitate his/her style. And you can learn a lot of new vocabulary this way.

Hey Alina

I am curious. What is your opinion on those speech recognition systems? I am not very fond of them. I think there is still a long way to got some more advanced speech recognition systems. On the other hand, when it comes to translations, huge progress has been made recently. The translation software DeepL has been a major breakthrough in translation for sure. I use it at work every day and when translating let's say English to German or German to English it is incredibly good and on point. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first started to use this software. So amazing.

In case you haven't heard about it, you can check it out here DeepL

Best, 

L

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/17/2018 at 9:30 PM, linguaholic said:

Hey Alina

I am curious. What is your opinion on those speech recognition systems? I am not very fond of them. I think there is still a long way to got some more advanced speech recognition systems. On the other hand, when it comes to translations, huge progress has been made recently. The translation software DeepL has been a major breakthrough in translation for sure. I use it at work every day and when translating let's say English to German or German to English it is incredibly good and on point. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first started to use this software. So amazing.

In case you haven't heard about it, you can check it out here DeepL

Best, 

L

Well, speech recognition systems work fairly well for the "standard" varieties of languages. I guess it will take some time to teach AI to recognize deviations from these forms, such as dialects or foreign accents. Here's just a video on the topic: :D

As for me, I still try to have some interesting conversations with my Google assistant in French, but the only progress we've made so far is setting an alarm. So, yeah, there's still a long way to go.

And I have indeed never heard of DeepL before. But I checked it with songs lyrics and it seems to translate them very well...at least in the comparison with the usual Google Translate results :) I can't wait when they add more languages!

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Alina K said:

Well, speech recognition systems work fairly well for the "standard" varieties of languages. I guess it will take some time to teach AI to recognize deviations from these forms, such as dialects or foreign accents. Here's just a video on the topic: :D

As for me, I still try to have some interesting conversations with my Google assistant in French, but the only progress we've made so far is setting an alarm. So, yeah, there's still a long way to go.

And I have indeed never heard of DeepL before. But I checked it with songs lyrics and it seems to translate them very well...at least in the comparison with the usual Google Translate results :) I can't wait when they add more languages!

Thanks, Alina. hehe. I already came across this video earlier on. It is really funny. 

Yes, I am also waiting for DeepL to add more languages. That is gonna be awesome. Really curious how well DeepL will be able to master translations from let's say Chinese into English. That's a big deal. Much more difficult than other combinations like German-English and so on. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, linguaholic said:

Thanks, Alina. hehe. I already came across this video earlier on. It is really funny. 

Yes, I am also waiting for DeepL to add more languages. That is gonna be awesome. Really curious how well DeepL will be able to master translations from let's say Chinese into English. That's a big deal. Much more difficult than other combinations like German-English and so on. 

That's exactly what I meant. German, Dutch and English are basically same language branch. French, Spanish and Italian are pretty close to them as well (at least to English, in terms of vocabulary). Polish stands out, of course... And I honestly don't know what made the DeepL developers think that Polish is easier (?) or more popular (?) than Russian, for example. Latin script?

In any case, just imagine how much data they will have to process and store to launch the explosive combo "English-Chinese". Or, worse, "Russian-Chinese".

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Alina K said:

That's exactly what I meant. German, Dutch and English are basically same language branch. French, Spanish and Italian are pretty close to them as well (at least to English, in terms of vocabulary). Polish stands out, of course... And I honestly don't know what made the DeepL developers think that Polish is easier (?) or more popular (?) than Russian, for example. Latin script?

In any case, just imagine how much data they will have to process and store to launch the explosive combo "English-Chinese". Or, worse, "Russian-Chinese".

However, the interesting thing is that the approach that is used by DeepL is less depending on mere data than it is the case with Google Translate. Google Translate has always been based on a statistical approach. The concept for GT is pretty simple: The more data you have, the better the translations will be. But as DeepL is not based on a statistical approach, there are many other factors that come into play. And this also makes it less dependent on actual corpus data (translations available in a specific language pair). 

I am wondering if GT will still go the "Statistical Approach Route" in the future? Most certainly they are already gearing it towards the approach that is used in Deep L. Maybe they already do that, I don't know. Haven't used GT for a while. Why should I? Have been more than satisfied with DeepL these days :=)

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/21/2018 at 2:54 AM, linguaholic said:

However, the interesting thing is that the approach that is used by DeepL is less depending on mere data than it is the case with Google Translate. Google Translate has always been based on a statistical approach. The concept for GT is pretty simple: The more data you have, the better the translations will be. But as DeepL is not based on a statistical approach, there are many other factors that come into play. And this also makes it less dependent on actual corpus data (translations available in a specific language pair). 

I am wondering if GT will still go the "Statistical Approach Route" in the future? Most certainly they are already gearing it towards the approach that is used in Deep L. Maybe they already do that, I don't know. Haven't used GT for a while. Why should I? Have been more than satisfied with DeepL these days :=)

I think Google have many more resources to develop this kind of product. And they might not even feel the concurrence from the DeepL side... Honestly, first time I've heard about DeepL was just a week ago - from you. And till DeepL develops translation from/to other languages, it won't be in the same row with GT, or Microsoft, or Yandex Translator. DeepL is the first in its own niche, but GT is still no.1 "popular" translator. So they may just develop in parallel. In any case, it will be interesting to see :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/24/2018 at 11:42 PM, Alina K said:

I think Google have many more resources to develop this kind of product. And they might not even feel the concurrence from the DeepL side... Honestly, first time I've heard about DeepL was just a week ago - from you. And till DeepL develops translation from/to other languages, it won't be in the same row with GT, or Microsoft, or Yandex Translator. DeepL is the first in its own niche, but GT is still no.1 "popular" translator. So they may just develop in parallel. In any case, it will be interesting to see :)

I gotta disagree, here :D Google most definitely feels pressure from DeepL. In fact, Google Translate has been in this game for ages, yet DeepL outperforms GT by FAR. Moreover, DeepL apparently has been invented by people of linguee.com (another amazing resource). And linguee.com has been a major platform for translators for a long time already. 

But yes, more language options is definitely an important factor and DeepL will need to work on that. Let's see where it goes. The word about DeepL spreads fast, though. Translate a text twice, once with DeepL and once with Google Translate. And tell me which translation is more accurate. I am sure GT will be able to close the gap eventually, but at the moment, DeepL is just really outperforming GT. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/26/2018 at 12:06 AM, linguaholic said:

I gotta disagree, here :D Google most definitely feels pressure from DeepL. In fact, Google Translate has been in this game for ages, yet DeepL outperforms GT by FAR. Moreover, DeepL apparently has been invented by people of linguee.com (another amazing resource). And linguee.com has been a major platform for translators for a long time already. 

But yes, more language options is definitely an important factor and DeepL will need to work on that. Let's see where it goes. The word about DeepL spreads fast, though. Translate a text twice, once with DeepL and once with Google Translate. And tell me which translation is more accurate. I am sure GT will be able to close the gap eventually, but at the moment, DeepL is just really outperforming GT. 

I know, Google Translate makes me cry too :D 

Just now I try not to use machine translation for sentences and texts. It's probably because of my previous painful experience with the GT of 2008-ish. Translating chunks and individual words in Context Reverso and Linguee (it's amazing resource, 100% agree) works much better for me. With a context, I can at least be sure in translation and usage.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

There a technique called “shadowing” where you do an active listening and speaking exercise. You choose an audio from a native speaker and you repeat every every sentence after the speaker word for word using the same intonation as him/her. At first is a bit hard but with practice you’ll become better until you can almost repeat simultaneously. You will see that with consistency and patience your accent will improve considerably. This blog post about the shadowing techniqur might help you. https://speak-fast-languages.com/blog/1107355/shadowing-technique-imitation

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

The

On 10/17/2018 at 10:53 AM, Gerie0511 said:

There a technique called “shadowing” where you do an active listening and speaking exercise. You choose an audio from a native speaker and you repeat every every sentence after the speaker word for word using the same intonation as him/her. At first is a bit hard but with practice you’ll become better until you can almost repeat simultaneously. You will see that with consistency and patience your accent will improve considerably. This blog post about the shadowing techniqur might help you. https://speak-fast-languages.com/blog/1107355/shadowing-technique-imitation

Agree. The best results comes with watching movies with subtitles. The source of video is most important, because it relates to "motivation" things. There is impossible to repeat right after actors (or other speakers) who you dislike, or even disrespect. Shadowing is a really hard exercise, because it includes coordination between Audio cortex, Motor Cortex, wide set of interpretation patterns, and finally it's related to Lobe parts of the brain, because each "story", or each "personality" has very deep affecting to our behaviour. 

20 minutes video should become a 60 minutes training, and all difficulties, that students can face during this process just show that training is going effectively. Meanwhile, and this is the most important, I guess, the worst scenario for improving pronunciation is a decision to stop paying attention to specific sounds. People, who have been made this mistake wherever in the past, should pass through a long period to "retraining" ignoring patterns in the brain. It relates to the motor cortex first (how you move muscles in your mouth to pronounce words) , but as second, includes  problems in audio cortex too (people just can't hear a difference between closest sounds).

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Dmitry Krutov said:

People, who have been made this mistake wherever in the past, should pass through a long period to "retraining" ignoring patterns in the brain. It relates to the motor cortex first (how you move muscles in your mouth to pronounce words) , but as second, includes  problems in audio cortex too (people just can't hear a difference between closest sounds).

You are right. Our first language determines how we respond to other languages. And as stated we have to learn to reprogram our brain.

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Gerie0511 said:

And as stated we have to learn to reprogram our brain.

Yes, and here we start count discrepancies between classic education and "retraining activity". All classic language educational systems were based on the strong assumption that language "is a knowledge" despite   the fact that this this is a model of human being first.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 weeks later...

Don’t read. Reading will not help your pronunciation. Quite the opposite - reading tends to reinforce bad pronunciation habits as you hear your own incorrect speech over and over again.

LISTEN. Listen to movies and audio books.

There are many audio recordings of the Bible or other books on religious topics, and some are free (if you’re actually interested in those kinds of things). Of course, you need not restrict your listening to religious books. Choose something you like at the appropriate level. You can read along if it’s necessary for comprehension.

Movies are even better, because you will connect the sound of people’s speech to images and situations. In other words, movies are less abstract and more natural for conversation.

You should do about 2 hours of listening per day (if you have time).

After 2–4 months, your language ability will have improved tremendously.

BUT YOU’RE NOT DONE YET!!

Now, having heard and understood the way native speakers make all the sounds of the language, and the way they put them together, you can double the naturalness of your pronunciation with one simple exercise.

Listen to a single sentence. Play that sentence several times just to hear what it sounds like, including pitch and rhythm and all the sounds (remember, sounds are not written letters, but sometimes written letters are good representations of sounds). Then, play the sentence and repeat immediately afterwards, EXACTLY how the speaker said it. Do the same thing 30 times per sentence. 30 minutes to 1 hour per day for 1 or 2 months, in addition to one hour of listening to audio books or watching movies.

Now you’ve spent 3–6 months doing intense listening and speaking activities. People will be utterly amazed by your increased ability to speak and understand, and your ability to be part of conversations. If there is a person who hasn’t seen you during those six months, s/he will wonder how you suddenly improved your speaking so dramatically.

After that, you can try doing reading and speaking exercises. Record yourself speaking sentences or reading paragraphs. Listen to yourself and decide what was good and bad. But then, you must also ask a native speaker what was correct and incorrect. They may be able to help you sort out the finer points of pronunciation. You can even have a native speaker read the same thing and compare your pronunciation.

I wish you the best in your endeavors. Always listen carefully.

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, HelennaQu said:

Don’t read. Reading will not help your pronunciation. Quite the opposite - reading tends to reinforce bad pronunciation habits as you hear your own incorrect speech over and over again.

LISTEN. Listen to movies and audio books.

There are many audio recordings of the Bible or other books on religious topics, and some are free (if you’re actually interested in those kinds of things). Of course, you need not restrict your listening to religious books. Choose something you like at the appropriate level. You can read along if it’s necessary for comprehension.

Movies are even better, because you will connect the sound of people’s speech to images and situations. In other words, movies are less abstract and more natural for conversation.

You should do about 2 hours of listening per day (if you have time).

After 2–4 months, your language ability will have improved tremendously.

BUT YOU’RE NOT DONE YET!!

Now, having heard and understood the way native speakers make all the sounds of the language, and the way they put them together, you can double the naturalness of your pronunciation with one simple exercise.

Listen to a single sentence. Play that sentence several times just to hear what it sounds like, including pitch and rhythm and all the sounds (remember, sounds are not written letters, but sometimes written letters are good representations of sounds). Then, play the sentence and repeat immediately afterwards, EXACTLY how the speaker said it. Do the same thing 30 times per sentence. 30 minutes to 1 hour per day for 1 or 2 months, in addition to one hour of listening to audio books or watching movies.

Now you’ve spent 3–6 months doing intense listening and speaking activities. People will be utterly amazed by your increased ability to speak and understand, and your ability to be part of conversations. If there is a person who hasn’t seen you during those six months, s/he will wonder how you suddenly improved your speaking so dramatically.

After that, you can try doing reading and speaking exercises. Record yourself speaking sentences or reading paragraphs. Listen to yourself and decide what was good and bad. But then, you must also ask a native speaker what was correct and incorrect. They may be able to help you sort out the finer points of pronunciation. You can even have a native speaker read the same thing and compare your pronunciation.

I wish you the best in your endeavors. Always listen carefully.

That is great advice. Thank you Helenna!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Input.

Use the sounds as well but do it under guidance (teacher / language exchange partner) so they can tell you what you're doing wrong and how you can correct it. Once you have got this feedback and know what to do correctly then...

Practise

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

That is a great question!

First of all, you should choose to learn English in America, if possible. Being around native English speakers and hearing the American dialect spoken all around you is the fastest and best way to perfect the pronunciation of the words and phrases you are learning. If relocating to the USA is not a possibility, try listening to American music and watching American movies and television shows. You will have a pretty good grasp of how idioms and phrases are said in common conversation. Although, even native speaking Americans can pronounce things incorrectly, so be careful! 

The fact that you asked this question shows your dedication to learning a new language and that is wonderful! Best of luck to you, Nargis!

- Atlanta English Institute

www.atlantaenglishinstitute.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...