AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION COURSE - 4 TOP TIPS
By Georgie Harding – Founder & Head Speech Pathologist
4 top tips for choosing an Australian English Pronunciation Course
If you’re seeking an Australian English pronunciation course you have lots of options available. I’ve designed and built many Australian English pronunciation training programs – face-to-face, small group, large group, workshops and online in video and audio – and there are some important factors you should think about before choosing a course to improve your Australian English Pronunciation.
A good Australian English Pronunciation course should help you correct the areas of English pronunciation that someone from your first language needs to improve, and second, it should give you the ability to develop a more local, more Australian sound – if that’s one of your personal goals.
In this article I’ll outline what learning options you have, what features to look for and what sort of results you should expect.
After reading this article you should be in a better position to make the best choice to achieve your pronunciation goals.
1. Identify Your Goals. Think about your goals beforehand. What are you aiming for? Do you just want clearer more confident spoken English so people understand you easily all the time? Or do you want to sound more like a local Aussie? Or maybe both.
2. Decide On The Type Of Training. What would fit best with your busy schedule – face to face, an online course or a combination? What are the pros and cons of both and how will they suit you.
3. Check The Content. What exactly will your training cover, and WHY, what practice resources will you be given and how much practice you will need to do. You want to avoid general training that works through areas quickly. You need to go for effective and targetted to make noticeable improvements. Changing speaking habits takes regular, focused practice with quality resources.
4. Get To Know Your Teacher. You want to be sure that your teacher has experience working with speakers of your first language. Call them to discuss your personal goals, watch training videos on their youtube channel and try some of their free training resources. These will help you get a feel for if they are the best fit for you.
Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
1. Identify Goals. Do I want to be clearer or sound more Australian?
Before you start, identify if you want to sound clearer when you speak English or if you want to develop Australian English Pronunciation as well. This will help your teacher decide what sounds and areas to work on with you. Which one applies to you?
Speaking English More Clearly Is My Main Goal
You want to speak clearer English that is easily understood by others, all the time. At the moment, people sometimes don’t understand your English clearly, they sometimes ask you to repeat or you get the feeling they have missed what you’ve said. You want to feel more confident with your spoken English.
I’ve spent 15 years as an English pronunciation teacher in Australia and most of my students have fallen into this category. They want to speak clearer English for working or studying in an English speaking countries. They don’t necessarily want Australian English pronunciation, they just want to be clear and easily understood by others.
For many students, when learning English in their home country, the focus was on reading and writing – not on speaking and pronunciation. So when they came to work and live in Australia, they felt like their spoken English wasn’t up to scratch (this means ‘wasn’t up to the level required). They felt frustrated with their spoken English, lacked confidence with it and felt like it was holding them back.
Developing clear English so listeners can understand them easily, has far reaching social and professional benefits.
Sounding More Like A Local Is The Main Goal.
I’ve worked with many people who have lived in Australian for years and are tired of people asking them where they are from and when they arrived. They feel like a local Australian so they want to speak with Australian English pronunciation or in other words, with an Australian accent.
Most people who have this goal tend to be mostly clear to listeners. People understand them easily but they want to sound more local. Sounding more like a native Australian English speaker is certainly achievable.
Some students say to me that they want to sound exactly like a local. If this is your goal, we need to manage your expectations. You can certainly develop a more Australian sound in your English – but – if your goal is to sound like a native Australian – this is a challenging, perhaps an even impossible goal.
Unless you’re under 15, it’s unlikely you’ll sound like you grew up in Sydney. That’s simply because it’s extremely hard to completely change or remove an overseas accent once you get beyond the age of a teenager.
The great news is that you can certainly reduce your accent to sound more local! This takes dedication – but it’s important for me to be honest and let you know that it’s unlikely you’ll completely remove it.
Many people consider an accent to be a really important part of who they are and they’re proud of it. So most people don’t want to remove their it altogether and sound completely Australian.
Australia is one of the most multicultural societies in the world and hopefully your experience has been that people are friendly and welcoming.
Now let’s look at what to look for in a course.
Speak To Us About Your Australian Pronunciation Goals
2. What Type Of Training? Online vs Face to Face – What’s The Best Option?
There are a few things to think about here. With the recent changes to everyone’s lives due to covid 19, many people are realising the benefits of online learning.
There is really one question to ask and that is: which method with enable you to practice the most often. The major factor influencing how much people improve is how often they engage with their training. In other words – how often you practice.
If you are someone who simply won’t do any practice unless you are in front of a teacher then you know online training is not for you. But if you are someone who will work well with accessing videos and audio files to practice when you’re out and about or at home, then I strongly recommend you consider online training.
A benefit of learning Australian English Pronunciation Online is that you can access it anytime and fit in practice around your busy schedule. I have provided both face to face Australian English Pronunciation training and online programs and in my experience, online gets the best results.
Why? Because the professionals taking online training fit in more regular practice than when people have one appointment once a week or once a fortnight. They can practice and improve with their training anytime, on the train, walking at lunchtime, while they’re cooking dinner. Anytime that suits and they can repeat videos they found particularly challenging.
At Speech Active, we find that our specialised online training combined with a 30 minute phone session gets the best results. In the phone session, we are able to give feedback, highlight priorities and ensure that students get the most from their online course. They can add extra phone sessions at any stage during their course.
There are a lot of online courses out there, only a limited number of those are Australian English Pronunciation Course.
When looking into online training options it’s important to consider only the ones that provide in depth teaching and adequate practice on each area or sound. This should include at least 1 – 2 hours of practice on each sound and area that you need to change. There are only a few quality courses that will provide the level of depth and practice that you need to successfully make changes.
Face to face training provides you with the opportunity for immediate feedback BUT this comes with a catch. One of the biggest mistakes I see is that people rely on the teacher to give them feedback instead of developing the required self monitoring themselves. So if you go for 1:1 sessions, make sure you are monitoring and actively checking your speech as you train.
You will also need to ensure that you have resources to practice with in between your 1:1 lessons. In my experience, many 1:1 teachers do not provide students with audio and video to practice with in between their lessons. Meaning that students don’t practice between sessions or practice sounds incorrectly between sessions.
So, if you choose face-to-face training make sure you 1] actively listen and build self monitoring skills yourself and 2] are provided with audio and or video to practice with in between lessons.
Recent research has identified that outcomes for online learning can be better than and comparable to face to face training. This is often because it’s simply more accessible, often more applicable, you often have access to more practice materials and it’s usually more affordable too.
Consider which style will best suit your lifestyle – Australian English Pronunciation Online, 1:1 or a combination – and go from there.
3. Check The Content.
Features Of The Best Australian English Pronunciation Courses
It can be quite overwhelming when trying to find the training that best suits you and your lifestyle. Here’s some information on what quality training looks like.
Most busy professionals living in Australia want a course that is:
Flexible. We’re all busy! The biggest factor affecting how well you’ll improve your spoken English is how much you practice. People who engage with their training often, get better results than people engaging with their training once a week. You need to think about how accessible your practice resources and training will be for you.
Active. Yes – you need a course that gets you actively practicing – every day! The more speaking practice the better. This will give you important practice at using your new skills and will help you transfer your new skills into your everyday speaking in the Australian workplace and social situations.
Tailored. Make sure your training is specifically for speakers of your first language. Different speakers of different languages have very different training needs when it comes to pronunciation. Call the teacher for some discussion of your goals and for some feedback. You’ll very quickly get a good feel about whether or not the teacher knows and understands the problems relevant to speakers of your first language.
Professional Level. Many courses are simply too basic and too general. You’re using English everyday at a professional level, so you need an advanced English pronunciation for people living in Australia. You do not want a course for people with basic English or who have only been using English for a few years. You need training materials that are relevant to your everyday conversations at work and with your colleagues, clients, patients and friends.
What Should Be Covered In Australian English Pronunciation Training?
Quality Australian English Pronunciation Training for non-native speakers should cover, at a minimum, the following areas:
Syllable Stress and Rhythm – The syllables we emphasise in English play a very important role in how easily others understand you. Australians and other native speakers expect certain syllables to be stressed and when these aren’t – it can make words unclear to them. Problems with word stress such as flat or incorrect stress placement can make your English unclear.
Volume, rate and mouth position – these are foundations for clear English. Fast speech, low volume or the wrong mouth position can really hold you back.
Australian English Vowels – English has vowel sounds that many other languages don’t have. We have a lot of double vowels and long vowels that are often challenging for non-native speakers. Revise all the vowels in English. A good course should guide you through mastering these important vowels and give you the practice you need to successfully adopt these new sounds into your Australian English pronunciation. There are some Australian English vowel sounds that are used more commonly in Australian English pronunciation than other types of English.
Consonant sounds – As a non-native English speaker, it’s likely that you’ll have some difficulties with pronouncing some consonant sounds. Pronouncing consonant sounds clearly at the ends of your words is challenging for many ESL speakers. English has many consonant clusters (this is when there are 2 or more consonants in a row) and this is important for pronouncing past tense endings and other grammar markers. Visit here to Practice Consonant Clusters.
Expressions & Idioms: A good course should assist you with understanding often used expressions and idioms. For example, expressions such as ‘it’s got legs’ or ‘to beat around the bush’ are used very often in English conversations and things like business meetings and interviews.
You don’t need to use English idioms and expressions but you do need to understand them. Practice materials that revolve around the workplace, small talk and meetings and presentation and interviews are also helpful. Most English speaking workplaces have very similar expectations so a lot of this type of practice will be relevant to most English speaking situations.
The Key Elements Of The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet): A good Australian pronunciation course for ESL speakers should include some use of the IPA or International Phonetic Alphabet to explain correct pronunciation. The IPA is the most valuable way of explaining how to pronounce a word. You don’t need to learn every symbol but there are certainly some key elements that you will need to know to develop more Australian English pronunciation.
4. Get To Know Your Teacher. What Makes A Great Australian English Pronunciation Teacher?
The best way to check that your teacher or trainer knows what they are talking about is to call them and speak to them. Your teacher should have lots of experience with teaching speakers of your first language and a good reputation. Asking to see references or reviews from other students based in Australian is a good idea too.
A good quality English pronunciation course should ideally be created by someone with formal training; someone trained in the way people make sounds and what is required to successfully change them.
I recommend training created by a Speech Pathologist or someone who has formal training in teaching English pronunciation such as an ESL tutor who has a special interest in pronunciation skill development.
Some programs have been put together by a team. Speech Active’s training for example has been created by a team of Speech Pathologists, ESL tutors and e-Learning Specialists.
If you would like to speak to Georgie about Speech Active training and how it can help you, please call her on +61 411 295 828 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start Australian English Pronunciation Practice Today
Get started improving your Australian English Pronunciation practice today with Georgie.
– Free English Pronunciation Video Course – 5 emails of videos and tips to start improving. This is a great introduction to Australian English Pronunciation.
– Youtube – English Pronunciation Videos. Check these out for more Australian English Pronunciation practice.
– English Word Stress Exercises Videos – Improve Your English Word Stress for better Australian English pronunciation.
–English Vowels And Consonant Sounds – Revise All The Sounds In English. Hear all the vowels in an Australian style to start your Australian English pronunciation practice.
What does success look like for you?
It can help to picture yourself at the end of the course; which of these categories would you like to be in?
Sounds More Local – I now sound like I’ve been in Australia for many years. People aren’t surprised now when I say I’ve lived here for over 10 years. I feel more local and this makes me feel more comfortable here and gives me greater confidence.
Clearer And More Confident – I feel much more confident. People understand me easily now and on the odd occasion when they don’t – I know exactly how to fix the issue. I feel more confident speaking up in meetings and social situations.
Clear To all Listeners – Before the course I could tell people struggled to understand me easily. People would sometimes ask me to repeat or I got the feeling they had missed some of what I said. Now I rarely have to repeat myself and I feel much more confident in all interactions.
Defining what you want to achieve will help you choose a course and also gives you the chance to ask the right questions before you enroll.
Australian English Pronunciation Online Course With Phone Support
Speech Active provides English Pronunciation services to professionals based in Australia and overseas.
We have put a seriously huge amount of time into making our award winning courses, the best that they can be.
See our full list of tailored English Pronunciation Courses.
See what other students say: English Pronunciation Course Reviews
Our course content is tailored for speakers of your first language. We offer a combination of Australian English Pronunciation online training and 1:1 phone or zoom or skype training.
Our students achieve outstanding results in terms of clarity, confidence and sounding more like a local.
Questions Often Asked By People Looking For Australian English Pronunciation
Is it important to sound like a native English speaker?
No of course not. For employment purposes, it is important to speak English that is clear and easy for listeners to understand. The reality is, unfortunately, that is your English is unclear, it is likely to hold you back in job interviews and from communicating effectively at work.
People can still have a stong overseas / foreign accent be clear and easy to understand. The great news is that people are getting better at understanding different speech styles and a wider range of pronunciation styles.
For meidcal professionals, it is more important to be clear and easy For those people working with older people or those in the country sounding more like a local can be important. Many of the doctors I work with explain that older people can find heavily accented pronunciation more difficult to comprehend and it makes doing their job harder.
How Much Practice Is Required To Improve My Australian English pronunciation?
There are a few factors to consider here when developing more Australian sounding pronunciation. Factors such as your ability to hear differences between sounds, your awareness of your own pronunciation and your ability to control the sounds you make – all play a very important role in how much you’ll improve.
For most people, 15 minutes practice each day is ideal. Remember that to develop pronunciation that sounds more like a local Australian you need to change habits that you’ve had for many years. This takes time and effort!
Be very wary of training that promises changes within a week or even a month – they’re really aren’t any magical ways to change speaking habits quickly.
How long will I take to improve?
This really depends on how often you practice. Generally, with most courses, people should start to notice changes after 2 – 3 weeks and within a couple of months you should see much greater change.
How Long Should An Australian English Pronunciation Course Be?
It’s much better to spend quality time and make real changes than whizz through a course only skimming the surface and not making real and lasting improvements.
Most pronunciation courses will be around 3 – 4 months. This can seem like a long time, but remember that it takes time to change and improve each area. You don’t want to work on too many areas at the same time as this is too overwhelming.
Australian English Pronunciation Course – Top Tips
Georgie Harding has assisted thousands of people from all over the world with improving their clarity and spoken English skills. A Speech Pathology degree (BAppSc(SpPath) and CELTA qualifications and over 15 years of experience providing 1:1, group and online training make Georgie a leader in her field.
Georgie is the creator the world’s leading English Pronunciation online courses that are tailored to the language background of the student and presents regularly at Universities.
If you’ve ever met Georgie or completed her award winning courses you’ll know how passionate she is about helping people move forward with better spoken English and more confidence.
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