Producing the sounds correctly in English is one of the most complex parts of the language. If your sounds of words aren’t good, then your level of fluency will be consistently underestimated. Therefore, it is important to improve your sounds.
Ways to improve your Sounds
Below, you can find some of the best ways on how to improve your sounds:
1. Movement of Mouth and Lips
When you speak, you move your mouth. How you move your mouth affects how you pronounce a word.
The first step to correcting your mouth shape is to notice it and pay attention. There are a few ways you can check that your mouth and lips are making the correct shape:
· Use a mirror. This is by far the simplest way to tell what your mouth is doing while you talk.
· Put a finger in front of your – As you speak, don’t move your finger. You should feel your lips moving away from or pushing against your finger.
Watch other people and notice the shape their mouth and lips make when they talk. Try following along with your favorite TV show or movie to improve sounds.
2. Watch movement of Tongue
The main difference between rice and lice is in your tongue. When you speak, you move your tongue to make sounds. You probably didn’t even notice that, since you do it without thinking. To improve your English pronunciation, it’s a good idea to check what your tongue is doing.
Some difficult sounds for non-native speakers to make are the letters “L” and “R,” and the sound “TH.” Pronouncing them correctly is all in the tongue!
· To make the “L” sound, your tongue should touch the back of your front teeth and the top of your mouth, just behind your teeth. Try it now: Say the word “light.” Say it a few times. Feel where your tongue is in your mouth. Make sure it touches the top of your mouth.
· To make the “R” sound, your tongue should not touch the top of your mouth. Pull your tongue back to the middle of your mouth, near where it naturally rests if you weren’t saying anything. As you say the sound, your lips should be a little rounded. Try it now: Say the word “right” a few times. You should feel air blowing between your tongue and the top of your mouth as you speak. You should also feel your lips get a little rounder when you make the sound.
· Now for the “TH” sound. This one may seem strange if you don’t have a similar sound in your native language. To make this sound, put your tongue between your top and bottom teeth. Your tongue should stick out a little between your teeth, and as you push air out of your mouth, let some air escape between your tongue and teeth—that’s what makes the sound. Try it now: Say the word “think.” Repeat it a few times. Make sure you push your tongue between your teeth.
3. Learn to break words into Syllables
Words are made up of syllables, or parts. The word “syllable,” for example, has three syllables: syl-la-ble. Turning words into parts can make them easier to pronounce.
To check how many syllables a word has, place your hand flat just under your chin. Say the word slowly. Each time your chin touches your hand, that’s a syllable. You can even write the word down in parts. Leave a space or draw a line between each syllable. Now try saying the word. Say it slowly and pause after each syllable.
4. Pay attention to intonation and stress
Good pronunciation is more than just mastering individual sounds. It’s also understanding intonation (the rise and fall of the voice) and stress (some sounds in words and some words in sentences are louder or clearer than others). Read poems, speeches and songs aloud, concentrating on the word stress and intonation.
This means some words and sounds are more important than others. You can hear this when you say a word out loud. For example, the word “introduce” is pronounced with a stress at the end, so it sounds like this: “in-tro-DUCE.”
Sometimes where you put the stress in a word can change the word’s meaning. Say this word out loud: “present.” If you said “PREsent,” you are talking about a noun that means either “right this moment” or “a gift.” If you said “preSENT,” you are talking about a verb that means “to give or show.”
There are rules for where the stress goes in each word. Here’s one rule:
· Most two-syllable nouns are stressed on the first syllable, and most two-syllable verbs are stressed on the second syllable.
That’s just like the word “present.” Here’s another example: the noun “ADDress” is the place where you live, and the verb “addRESS” is to speak to someone.
5. Practice Tongue Twisters
Tongue twisters are poems that can be hard to recite because a lot of the sounds are similar like “sh” and “ch,” “t” and “th” or the short and long “e” sounds.
Practicing tongue twisters will help you to distinguish between different sounds and learn how to pronounce them correctly.
6. Practice by speaking
If you don’t speak often, you can become nervous when it’s finally time to open your mouth and say something. Not only do you need English pronunciation practice, but you need to get over your anxiousness so that you feel comfortable speaking in front of others. Nervousness can lead to a lot of mistakes, especially regarding pronunciation. Try making a rule for yourself: You must speak English to yourself at home. To start, try just narrating what you’re doing when you’re cooking dinner or getting ready for bed.
Promise yourself that you’re going to speak aloud for at least a few minutes per day.
However, there are many ways that will help you improve your sounds but try the aforementioned techniques and see which ones work best for you.