ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION EXERCISES
By Georgie Harding – Founder & Head Speech Pathologist
Excellent English Pronunciation Exercises For Speakers Of Your First Language.
Before starting English pronunciation training it really helps to have a good idea of what areas of English pronunciation speakers of your first language find challenging.
We have put together a series of fantastic tools and resources to help you.
How do English Pronunciation Exercises help? English language learners use English Pronunciation Exercises to improve their English pronunciation. These exercises develop areas of pronunciation like vowel sounds, consonant sounds and word stress and involve practicing words and phrases out loud. Try these English Pronunciation Exercises.
How To Improve With English Pronunciation Exercises
When you are working to improve your English pronunciation, English accent and spoken English – it is the ‘doing’ that is most important!
No matter how much you read English, watch English movies, listen to lessons on English pronunciation – the thing that really makes a difference and will help you improve the most is how much English you speak!
That is why improving with good English Pronunciation Exercises are essential.
1. Focus on Your Mouth
When you speak at the moment, you probably give very little thought to how your mouth moves when you speak.
You wouldn’t even notice that your tongue taps behind your top front teeth when you make /t/ in the word ‘time’ and you wouldn’t even notice that you let air rush over your tongue when you make ‘sh’ in ‘push’ and ‘shops’.
This is because it all happens automatically! And that’s the way it’s supposed to happen. When you speak, your focus is usually on your meaning, not on your pronunciation. There’s only so much work out brain can do…..
BUT! When someone is mispronouncing a sound and they decide they want to change their pronunciation of that sound for clearer English, they need to become actively focused on how their mouth is moving to make sounds. To change a sound in English – you need the pronunciation of that sound to go from being automatic to conscious.
Basically, we are re-training the brain and muscles to make new sounds. After practising successfully and putting in time and effort, it will go back to being automatic again!
The best English Pronunciation Exercises will:
1. Teach you the new sound position and help you make the new sound correctly
2. Give you the practice you need to make the new sound correctly in words, as opposed to sentences. You need to get it right in single words first. Making a new sound in a single word is easier than in a phrase.
For example, if you are working to correct your ‘th’, you need to master the mouth position first, then get it right in words (like method and bath) and then build up to practice in full sentences. I see many students who have skipped these levels – it’s like going from crawling to running! You need the steps in between to get good control – if you skip them, you’ll make errors.
3. Teach you to recognise when you make the sound correctly and when you mispronounce it. This is a crucial step! I can’t tell you how many people miss this step. Too many students I meet with have relied on a teacher to do this for them in the past. This has made their training ineffective. If you can’t recognise by yourself when you make the sound correctly or incorrectly then you won’t be able to get the control needed to change it. This is all about CONTROL!!!
4. Give you the practice you need to master the new sound in phrases and sentences
5. Give you the practise needed to transfer your new sounds to your everyday speaking. Doing English pronunciation exercises is so different to speaking with your boss! That’s why practice is SO important. English pronunciation exercises should help you move through the stages of mastering a sound. A good English pronunciation course will help you level up your skills in a systematic and logical way. And of course give you LOADS of practise for transferring your skills to your everyday life.
Practising your new words in sentences and phrases that you’ll use everyday in professional and social interactions will help you transfer your new skills. It will help you be more successful at using your new ways of speaking.
2. Focus on Your Stress & Rhythm
The best English Pronunciation Exercises for clearer English will give you practise with word stress and rhythm in English. After all, this is one of the key, most important factors affecting how clear a person’s English is.
Many non-native speakers use word stress that is more like the stress in their first language. This can make their English unclear.
For examples, many speakers of Asian languages use stress that is flatter and more even than English native speakers.
A speaker of French often puts the stress on the final syllable of words or phrases because this is the stress and rhythm that is used in French.
You can greatly improve the sound of your English with English Pronunciation Exercises that focus on word stress and rhythm in English.
See English Word Stress Exercises to improve your word stress with English Pronunciation Exercises, videos and voice recorders.
3. Practice Out Loud
You can’t learn to play the piano through watching a piano concert. Similarly, you can’t learn to pronounce English just through listening to other people speaking and not speaking much yourself.
Not getting enough speaking practice is one of the major barriers that people from non-English speaking backgrounds face.
So many people say “My work is on the computer all day. I usually communicate with my colleagues through email so I don’t get much practise speaking at all” or “I spend most of my day at Uni in lectures, I don’t really speak much English at all, except a few times a week to my tutors and classmates”.
If you aren’t speaking English at home you need to actively focusing on speaking more English. You need to find opportunities to speak more English on a daily basis.
The great news is, that you don’t need other people to get speaking practice. You can speak out loud to yourself – yes – this is a powerful way to practice and improve.
See this video on – Speaking More English Everyday. It will give you loads of ideas for speaking more English throughout your day, everyday.
Once you start doing it, it will get easier and your confidence will grow.
English Pronunciation Exercises like the ones listed at the top of this page give you practice, actively speaking out loud. Think of it like going to the gym – for your mouth!
A Voice Recorder is an excellent tool to use to improve your pronunciation. When you record your speech, pay careful attention to the sound you are practising. Then play the recording and check the target sound carefully. You may need to play it a few times. See more on how to using voice recorders to improve your pronunciation here.
4. Practice Often – It Must Be Regular
Mouth gym – that’s what this is all about. We are literally, building up your muscle skill for making new English sounds.
Just like the gym, going once a week doesn’t get great results, it needs to be regular. To get great results with English Pronunciation Exercises, you should be doing them daily.
For best results, aim to practice for 15 minutes a day. If you want to do more, that’s great. The key though is to remember to ACTIVELY LISTEN and ACTIVELY FEEL the sounds and positions you make with your mouth.
Sometimes, people do half an hour, or an hour of practise but they have stopped focusing, and are simply repeating what has been said without checking or being mindful of their pronunciation. This is time wasted and will not help them improve their pronunciation and the sound of their English accent.
When should you practise? In the morning is a great time as it will get your mouth muscles warmed up and moving well for clear English for the rest of the day.
If you can’t manage it in the morning – anytime is a good time. Even a few minutes here and there throughout your day will help.
Every minute helps! Yes, that’s right EVERY MINUTE!!!! One is better than none : )
Remember, focusing on your English pronunciation exercises once a week is not enough to make improvements – nothing will change! Even twice a week won’t help much. You really need to aim to practice daily, and if not daily, at least every 2nd day!
Remember you don’t need to sit in front of your computer to practice. Quite the opposite is true. You can practice anytime – with any English, at home or in the office, walking to the train station – literally any time is a great time!
Here are some ideas for making up your own English Pronunciation Exercises for home or at work:
If you have 5 minutes before a colleagues arrives in the meeting room, read the agenda out loud to yourself, focusing on your pronunciation. Think about where the word stress is in each multi-syllable word. Practise reading out loud, focusing on the sounds outlined as problems for speakers of your first language in the link at the top of this page.
If you are waiting at the lights in your car, talk out loud about what you did that day, focusing on your pronunciation.
When you are making dinner or in the shower, role play a recent discussion you had with a colleague or a friend, focusing on your pronunciation.
Anytime is a good time – every minute helps. Think about your usual daily routine and write down 3 times when you could spend a few minutes on English pronunciation exercises at home or at the office.
It is much more important to practise for 5 – 15 minutes every day than doing 1 hour once a week.
To improve your pronunciation you need to move your focus to your mouth!
Advanced English Pronunciation Exercises
Many professionals looking to improve their English clarity with English pronunciation exercises need advanced level training.
Professionals like this have been speaking English for a long time and their level of English comprehension and vocabulary etc are high level.
Do I need Advanced English Pronunciation Exercises? Professionals from non English speaking backgrounds who are fluent in English and use English at work need advanced English Pronunciation Exercises. These exercises will cover areas of pronunciation such as word stress, weak vowels, diphthong vowels and consonant sounds.
Remember to click on the links at the top of the page to find out what areas of English pronunciation are most challenging for speakers of your first language. Complete the English Pronunciation Exercises with audio and video to start improving today.
Speech Active Founder
Georgie has spent over 15 years providing English pronunciation training to wonderful people from all over the planet.
She understands the effort people have put in to mastering English and the challenges and frustrations that they face on a daily basis.
If you would like to speak to Georgie about her award winning English Pronunciation Courses and how they can help you achieve your English speaking goals you can call her on 0411 295 828.
Other articles in our English Pronunciation blog that might interest you are:
6 Essential Steps – How To Improve English Pronunciation
How Long Will It Take To Change My Accent & Pronunciation?
Checklist for Choosing English Pronunciation / Accent Reduction Training
Why We Should Stop Using The Term ‘Accent Reduction’.
If you’re wanting to get serious about improving English Pronunciation and English accent, we’re here to help you do it.
With the help of one of our tailored Speech Active Courses, we will guide you through systematically improving all key areas of your pronunciation and spoken English, so you can speak English with more confidence.
Call us to find out more on +61 411 295 828 or chat with us on our website.
We’d love to hear from you and help you improve with expert comprehensive English Pronunciation Training that is tailored specifically for speakers of your first language.
Click on your first language in the list below for English pronunciation exercises specifically for speakers of your first language. Find out what the top pronunciation problem areas are for speakers of your first language, listen to the audio files, watch the videos and use the voice recorders to record your own speech.
English Pronunciation for Japanese Speakers (Accent Reduction for Japanese Speakers)
Find out the 8 top pronunciation areas that Japanese speakers find challenging. Listen to audio files and video of Japanese speakers making errors with /l/, /v/, /oʊ/ and word stress. Practise exercises out loud with the voice recorder to improve your own pronunciation.
English Pronunciation for Russian Speakers (Accent Reduction for Russian Speakers)
Russian speakers love these exercises! Learn about the top 8 typical pronunciation problem areas for Russian speakers. Listen to the audio, watch the video, complete the exercises to improve /v/, /oʊ/ and English word stress and use the voice recorder to practise and improve.
We are adding to this list all the time. If your first language is not on the list above, keep checking in as it will be coming soon : )
English Pronunciation Exercises are all about getting your mouth moving for clearer English.
Focus on your mouth movements. The way you move your mouth to makes sounds is what makes your English clear or unclear. Getting control of your mouth movements and adjusting some of those sounds and speech patterns is the aim of the game.
Get Active – Get Results.
VIDEO & AUDIO
See and copy your teacher as you learn new mouth positions, sounds and rhythms.
Improve with Listen-And-Repeat Audio files in between video lessons.
Practice online anytime.
Recording tools to check your progress.
Zoom Session for 1:1 feedback. Add extra zoom sessions anytime.
Your course is tailored for speakers of your first language.
In your 1:1 zoom session you’ll prioritise areas, get 1:1 feedback and Georgie will ensure you get the absolute most from your course.
Ready to go when you are – 40+ video modules in an easy-to-follow, flexible schedule.
2 years access.
Audio practice files are yours to keep.
English Pronunciation Exercises
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.
Linkedin: Georgie Harding
Facebook: Speech Active
Twitter: Speech Active
☑ By signing up you are agreeing to receive further information and tips from Speech Active.