1. Get Familiar with Different English Accents
There are many different accents among native English speakers. Someone from New York sounds different from someone who grew up in Texas.
And of course, you must have heard the Queen’s English (the standard English of Britain). I’ll tell you right now that not everyone there sounds like their queen. Then there are the Scots, Welsh and Irish who speak English with different accents.
Here’s a fun thing to do. Go to YouTube and search for videos of people trying to do different English accents. Not all are good (or correct) but they’ll give you an idea of how many English accents there are. Here’s a good example you can start with.
2. Done with the fun? Now back to business!
What kind of accent do you want to have? Think about the regions you want to travel to and the cities you’d like to work in. This is pretty important to decide as it will make your study and practice more focused.
Do you want to sound like a New Yorker? That’s fine, but when you look for a TV show to watch, pick “Friends” instead of “Twin Peaks.” Stay focused. With that in mind, let’s move on to improve your pronunciation with the following tips:
3. Imitate Native Pronunciation
Okay, so now you have a basic idea of different English accents. But how do you go about actually learning native pronunciation?
One great place to start is watching and imitating authentic English videos. These will expose you to real English pronunciation and speaking styles. They also give you the chance to study the speakers’ mouth and lip movements so you can imitate them.
After someone speaks, try pausing the video then repeating back what they said. Having subtitles on can be handy to keep track of the words!
There are tutorial videos in the internet that show the English lip and tongue positions for every letter of the alphabet and all the combinations. Watch how your mouth and lips move and see if you make a mistake or struggle with any particular words. Repeat the difficult words until the movements of your mouth feel natural.
I know learning them is tedious, but it’ll help you pronounce words correctly, especially the ones with sounds that don’t exist in your native tongue.
So learn them and practice in front of the mirror. Do it again and again until it becomes muscle memory. You can even try recording yourself to assess your progress!
You can make the process more entertaining by practicing your pronunciation with authentic videos like in our Direct English Live. On this program, you’ll find native English videos, so you can practice imitating actors in the clips, following along with the unique flow of a speech or mimicking the dialogues.
Interactive transcripts, personalized quizzes with speaking questions and other learning features make it possible to use Direct English Live to support your learning as you practice natural speech.