Producing sound and actually being able to say a word perfectly is a real challenge for most non-native speakers. It is understandable that some syllables and sounds don’t exist in our native tongue and that’s completely normal. However, when it comes to speaking English, we should, or must be able to enunciate the words and phrases clearly to sound like a native speaker (or at least neutral) and most especially, to be understood.
It goes without saying that practice, practice, practice is the key to success, but going an extra mile would induce more positive results. These are some exercises you can add:
“Try to record your voice then compare with your dictionary.”
The most tried and true source of information regarding this matter would be a dictionary. Check out the right pronunciation of the word and compare it with yours. Repeat until you sound quite parallel.
“Try tongue twisters to stretch your tongue”
Getting used to babbling tongue twisters such as those above are a great way to get your tongue used to different positions that are required to produce certain sounds such as the most dreaded “r” sound. Furthermore, it also accustoms the oral muscles to speed used in transitioning from one sound to another as in from “L” to “R” in the word “already”.
“Watch English movies and imitate”
Watching movies (and or series) gives us clue on how to actually utter the words, intonation, and stress. Some common expressions are being spoken in movies and it could help a lot to try to mimic the way native speakers converse.
“Sing English songs especially songs with blending.”
People love music whether or not they can sing or not. Singing English songs can help you practice blending and pronunciation. Plus, you can sing in karaoke to practice!
“Don’t be afraid to ask about the right pronunciation.”
Last, but not the least, don’t be afraid to ask! Asking for the right pronunciation is better than wondering and being hesitant to speak of the word.
Bonus: Familiarize yourself with the International Phonetic Alphabet or the IPA symbols. This comes in handy!
**featured image from http://www.fluentu.com