ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION YOUTUBE
By Georgie Harding – Founder & Head Speech Pathologist
Using Youtube To Improve Your English Pronunciation
Youtube can be a great resource for improving your English pronunciation if it’s used well.
Some students get overwhelmed with content and end up working on the wrong areas – wasting time and picking up bad habits.
In this post I will cover what you need to know to get the best results for studying with Youtube to improve your English pronunciation and to speak English more clearly.
How can I improve my English Pronunciation with Youtube? Youtube has thousands of free helpful pronunciation videos and is an excellent way to improve your English pronunciation. You will have instant access to free videos from quality English pronunciation training experts.
Are you wanting to improve your English pronunciation so you can be clearer to listeners? Or just to speak with more confidence? Either way, improving English pronunciation with youtube is a great option for many people.
Youtube is a great place to start improving your English Pronunciation.
Youtube is free and you can get started straight away with instant access to expert trainers. Many quality English pronunciation training experts have loads of free videos that will help you improve many areas of your English pronunciation.
There are so many videos on youtube that it can be overwhelming. Some people don’t know where to start.
This article will help you get the best from studying with youtube and help you avoid common traps that learners fall in to.
The first trap, is working on the wrong area.
The biggest problem that I see is learners working on the wrong sound.
For example, I met many learners of English who have spent hours improving their ‘th’ sound with English pronunciation youtube videos.
The problem with this is that their English is unclear – they are making errors with word endings, word stress and vowels. These key areas are the reason why their English is unclear so working to improve ‘th’ isn’t improving their clarity at all.
Don’t fall into this common trap, doing a few minutes of research first will save you LOADS of time when improving your English pronunciation with youtube.
So, start here!
Before You Start
Identify The Key Areas You Need To Improve
Before starting you need to find out the top areas of your English pronunciation that you need to improve.
Without doing this, it’s likely you start heading down the wrong path! And you know what’s it like on youtube, this could result in hours of wasted time.
To make sure you learn in an efficient way spend half an hour to an hour identifying what areas of your pronunciation you need to improve to take your English to the next level.
This is the best way to start before you learn anything right? If you’re going to start improving your maths, you need to work out where you are at before you start. If you are going to start learning tennis, you need to work out what level you are at in order to join a class at the right level.
It’s the same with pronunciation, although many people dive in without any idea of what it is that they should be working on.
So, how can you do this? First you need to understand the key areas of pronunciation. Then you need to identify which areas YOU need to improve for clear English.
It’s goal setting really. You need to set your goals in order to know what you are aiming for.
Otherwise, you’ll get sucked into the youtube rabbit hole for hours and you could watch a whole heap of videos on things that may not be relevant to you and your speech.
Understand The Key Areas Of Pronunciation
English pronunciation can be broken up into the following areas:
1. Rate of Speaking
This rate is the speed. So this is how fast or how slow you speak. Do people ever ask you to slow down? Maybe you feel like your English is too slow?
2. Volume of Speaking
This is how loudly or how quietly you speak. Do people ever lean is as if they are having difficulty hearing you, or ask you “Sorry, could you say that more loudly?”
3. General Mouth Position.
This is how your mouth moves when you speak. To speak some languages, the speakers don’t move their mouths very much because the language doesn’t have very open sounds or sound that require much opening and closing of the jaw.
Some languages have more sounds where the lips need to move than others.
English has a lot of sounds that require quite an open jaw position, for example, /a:/, /ɔː/ and /oʊ/. English also has quite a lot of lip movement compared to other languages such as ‘sh’ and /ɜː/.
Some speakers don’t move their mouths and open their jaws enough for clear English.
4. Vowel sounds.
English has 20 different vowels in English. There are 3 types of vowels – short vowels, long vowels and diphthong vowels. Revise English Vowel Sounds IPA.
As a non-native English speakers, it’s likely that you don’t have all these in your first language and this can mean that some of them are difficult for you to pronounce.
5. Consonant sounds.
English has 24 consonant sounds. Revise Consonant Sounds IPA. Good pronunciation of consonants is so important for clear English.
Many English words end in consonant sounds, so pronouncing them clearly at the ends of words is very important. For example, past tense endings and plurals are marked with consonant sounds.
A consonant cluster is when there are 2 or more consonants in a row. For example the /sk/ in ‘desk’ and the /str/ in ‘stream’ and the /kst/ in ‘sixty’.
Some consonant sounds are not so important for clarity, such as ‘th’ and /w/. But other consonants such as /l/, /v/ and ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ are important to get right for clear English.
6. English word stress & emphasis.
Every multi-syllable English word has one stressed syllable. The stressed syllable is slightly stronger and higher in pitch than the other syllables. The up and down of English and the rhythm is made by the stressed and unstressed syllables.
The word stress and rhythm has a big effect on how clear your English is to listeners. If you use flat or incorrect word stress it is difficult for listeners to understand your English easily.
7. English weak vowels.
Vowels in stressed syllables are pronounced fully. Vowels in unstressed syllables are not pronounced fully, they are weaker. Many, but not all weak vowels become the weak vowel schwa /ə/.
Now that you understand the areas of English pronunciation you need to identify which areas you need to improve.
Identify Which Areas You Need To Improve.
Different speakers of different languages have difficulty with certain areas of pronunciation.
For example, many French speakers need to improve their word stress, pronunciation of /h/, and double English vowels. Problem areas for many speakers of Thai are the pronunciation of word endings, consonant clusters and word stress.
To avoid wasting lots of time watching general videos and getting stuck down the ‘youtube rabbit hole’ (in other words, wasting hours going from one video to another!) you need to know what youtubes videos you need to watch from before you jump online.
Visit this page: English Pronunciation Exercises to find out the top English pronunciation problem areas for speakers of your first language.
Have you noticed what sounds or speech patterns are difficult for you in English?
If you don’t know and you really don’t want to do spend any time before your jump into improving pronunciation with youtube videos, that’s OK – I’ll give you some starting points.
Below I have listed the main areas of English pronunciation that most non-native speakers I work with would benefit from improving for clearer English.
These are the areas that affect clarity the most! They are what’s important for many non-native speakers to improve to make their English easier for listeners to understand.
For each area, I’ll give you some pointers on improving with youtube videos and also give a link to an English Pronunciation Youtube video to get you started.
Improve Vowel Sounds with English Pronunciation Youtube Videos
English has 20 vowel sounds. There are short vowels, long vowels and double / diphthong vowels.
As a non-native speaker of English, it’s likely that you’ll be pronouncing some of these differently to native speakers. Sometimes this can result in unclear speech.
The vowels that most non-native speakers would benefit from improving are these three vowels:
– /ou/ like in ‘hope’ & ‘(when you say ‘note’ does it sound more like ‘not’ or ‘nought’?)
– /ei/ like in ‘main’ (when you say a word like ‘rain’, does it sound more like ‘ren’ or ‘ran’?)
– /i:/ like in ‘meet’ -when you say a word like ‘week’, does it sound more like ‘wick’?
So, start with the double / diphthong English vowel /oʊ/.
/oʊ/ is the vowel in ‘hope’ and ‘know’ and ‘home’.
Many non-native speakers do not have the double vowel /oʊ/ in their first language. So they make it more like a single vowel. This makes many words in English unclear.
When you say the word ‘note’, does it sound more like ‘not’ or ‘nought’?
When you say the word ‘coat’ does it sound more like ‘cot’ or ‘caught’?
YouTube Video on /ɔː/, /ɒ/ and /oʊ/
Watch this English Pronunciation, accent reduction youtube video to practice the vowel /oʊ/ and differentiate between the 3 vowels /ɔː/, /ɒ/ and /oʊ/ like in the words ‘caught’, ‘cot’ and ‘coat’.
/ɔː/ is a long single vowel
/ɒ/ is a short vowel
/oʊ/ is a double / diphthong vowel
YouTube Video on /oʊ/ in ‘won’t’
Did you know that many non-native speakers mispronounce the word ‘won’t’.
It should have the double vowel /oʊ/ but many non-native speakers pronounce it with a single vowel.
This makes it sound like ‘want’ instead of ‘won’t’.
Check and correct your pronunciation of ‘won’t’ with the English pronunciation youtube below.
Improve Word Stress With English Pronunciation Youtube Videos
To improve your English pronunciation and English accent – please don’t underestimate how important word stress is.
My students all want to improve English accent for clarity and some of them want to sound more local. Either way, one of the most important things for most of them to focus on is improving their word stress.
Many of them either don’t know what word stress is or they are a little unclear or unsure about it or they don’t realise how important it is for improving English accent.
This is the area that I would put at the top of their priority list! Why? Because it has the biggest affect on how clear their English is to listeners AND because it is so important for sounding more like a native speaker and speaking engaging English.
So, here’s a crash course on English Word Stress (a crash course is another way of saying a quick mini-course!).
In English, every multi-syllable word has one stressed syllable. The stressed syllable has slightly more emphasis and is higher in pitch.
In English, listeners use word stress to help recognise words. We don’t know we are doing this – but research shows that we actually rely on word stress even more than sounds to recognise words.
The problem is that word stress is very difficult for non-native speakers.
Many non-native speakers find making word stress in English very challenging. This is a for a few reasons.
The first being that you can’t tell where the stress should be by looking at the spelling of an English word. You have to learn it through listening and practise.
The 2nd reason is that for many people, they bring the rhythm and stress patterns of their first language into their English. This results in stress patterns and rhythms that are different to what English native speakers are used to.
So, the key problems for non-native speakers are that they are likely to sometimes put the stress on the wrong syllable of words, but an even more common problem is that they use flat stress.
So, from today, you can start to improve your word stress by LISTENING for it!
For people looking to correct English pronunciation youtube and improve their English accent and pronunciation skills with youtube, check out the videos included below as a starting point.
Where is the Word Stress?
In the word ‘teacher’ where is the stressed syllable?
Teacher – Is the word stress TEA-CHER, TEA-cher or tea-CHER.
So, we can rule out the firs one because no English word has flat stress. Every multi-syllable word has one stressed syllable.
You know it’s not the last one because no native speaker says ‘teaCHER’. A French speaker may pronounce it like this though, because many French words have the last syllable stressed, so some French speakers bring this pattern of stress into their English.
It’s TEAcher. With the stress on the 1st syllable. Native speakers from all over the world will pronounce it like this.
Ok, so let’s look at another word. Unlike the word ‘teacher’, the next word is one that non-native speakers often mispronounce.
In the word ‘suburb’ where is the stressed syllable?
Suburb – Is the word stress SU-burb, su-BURB or SU-BURB
So we know it’s definitely not flat. SOOO many non-native speakers say su-BURB with the stress on the 2nd syllable. This is incorrect.
It should be SU-burb. With all the stress on the first syllable.
The first syllable is stronger and higher in pitch. The second syllable is weaker and lower in pitch.
I’ve included some videos at the bottom of the page to help you improve your word stress skills for people who are thinking “I want to improve my English accent”.
Start to pay attention to the up and down of English speakers pitch when they are speaking.
The more you listen, the better you’ll get at hearing it.
You’ll notice that English is not like this:
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
it goes up and down,
it’s more like this:
_ – __ – _ – ___ – _ – _ –
It takes practise to hear it, start from today. While you are listening to a podcast, close your eyes and tune in to the up and down of the voice.
Tune in to the MUSIC of English.
Check that you are 1] putting the stress on the correct syllable in words AND very importantly 2] making enough stress.
See this page for English Pronunciation Word Stress Exercises & Videos.
And watch the English Pronunciation youtube video below to improve your word stress in the words: capable, capacity, initiate, initiative and entrepreneur.
The words capable, capacity, initiate, initiative and entrepreneur are often mispronounced by non-native speakers. It’s difficult to know where the word stress should be by looking at the spelling of these word.
Improve Your Fluency With English Pronunciation Youtube Videos
To improve your fluency you need to actively speak more English.
The only way to improve fluency is to speak more. The more you do the better.
The great news is that you don’t need anyone else to do this with. Speaking out loud to yourself is a proven and powerful way to improve your English fluency.
There are a lot of ways you can increase the amount of English that you speak everyday. There are also lots of English pronunciation youtube videos on this.
I’ve included my youtube video on it below. It will give you one daily activity to practise talking out loud on a variety on topics. It will extend your vocabulary and give you greater speaking confidence.
And the best part is, you can start from right now!
Choose Your Teacher
Find a teacher that you like. There are so many different teachers and their teaching styles can differ a lot.
Some teachers are direct to the point, some are more conversational and enjoy a bit of banter (light conversation) in between their teaching.
Some teachers give lots of examples, some give only a few.
It’s a personal choice and what one person finds clear and helpful, another person may not like.
Spend a few minutes watching different videos and find a teacher who:
1] Explains things clearly. Some teachers are good at explaining things clearly and some aren’t! Try out several different teachers and find one that has a style that works for you.
2] Gives examples. It helps to have clearly presented examples to practise with. This is really important when working on English pronunciation skills. It’s one thing to learn about how to make a sound and quite another skill to actually make it correctly. To successfully master a sound in your spoken English you need a LOT of guided and unguided practise. (more on this later!).
3] Helps Prioritise. It’s helpful to know if the sound worked on in the English pronunciation youtube video is a high priority for clear English, or a low priority for clear English. A good teacher will give you an idea if it’s something that you should definitely be working on for clearer English or if it’s one that is not that important for clearer English.
4] Clear Images & Graphics. It helps to have good images and graphics to add to explanations and show clearly what is being taught. Youtube video close ups of the mouth and good sound quality helps.
Check out Speech Active’s English Pronunciation Youtube Channel
Did you know that English pronunciation is also called ‘accent reduction’. Find out why I don’t think we should use the term ‘accent reduction’ anymore with this article. Why We Should Stop Using The Term Accent Reduction.
Check out our English Pronunciation Youtube Channel (or Accent Reduction Youtube Channel) here:
English Pronunciation Youtube Channel
Did you search for accent reduction youtube or accent reduction classes youtube?
English pronunciation training and basically the same thing. Thankfully, the term English pronunciation training is now taking the place of the term ‘accent reduction’. If you searched for accent reduction youtube, all of the suggestions on this page will still be helpful for you.
Some Key Points To Remember When Aiming To Improve English Pronunciation With Youtube.
Make Sure You Get Enough Practise On Each Area – 10 minutes is not enough!
Once you have identified an area to work on (eg word stress, the sound /v/ or the vowel /oʊ/ for example), watch at least 3 videos on the same area to make sure you are clear on how to make it and can tell the difference between the target sound and the incorrect sound you have been making instead.
Then, ideally you should spend about 1 – 2 weeks focusing the one area.
One of the biggest mistakes I see students making is that they learn about an area and then move on to learning about another area. This is not enough to actually make changes to their speech!
To successfully make changes to a speech sound you need to practice, practice, practice. It’s not enough just to learn about it and do a little bit of practice. Unfortunately a 10 minute youtube video is not enough.
First you have to master the right sound, then you need to master it in words and then you need to master it in sentences and conversation. If the youtube video doesn’t cover these steps, make them up yourself by making up practice phrases and sentences.
Remember that when we are changing pronunciation skills we are changing habits you have had for many years – since you started speaking English. It takes effort and regular practice to change speech habits.
At the moment the way you pronounce words will be very automatic for you. In order to successfully change your speech patterns you need to make your pronunciation more deliberate.
At first, when you are first learning to correct a sound, it needs to become a conscious decision, it needs to be quite controlled to ensure you don’t make the error sound.
Some people can find it a bit frustrating at first. They need to slow down a little and make their speech more conscious. This is temporary – after repetition and practice, making the sound will become more automatic and natural.
Some Areas Effect How Clear You Are And Some Don’t.
If your goal is to increase the clarity of your speech, then make sure you focus on the areas that are most important for clear speaking. These are the areas of pronunciation that make your speech clear or unclear to listeners.
Areas that have a strong effect on clarity are:
Rate of speaking – if you are a very fast speaker, try to control your rate. Fast speech that has pronunciation errors can be difficult for listeners to understand. If you give your listeners more time to process what you’ve said it will really help. When people speak very fast, they are often more likely to drop sounds, pronounce sounds unclearly or use flat or incorrect word stress. See a video on rate of speaking.
Word stress – if you use flat or incorrect word stress it will make some words that you say unclear to listeners.
Word endings – if you drop word endings it will make many of your words unclear to listeners. It will also mean that you sound like you have poor grammar because it’s likely that you will be leaving off past tense endings and plural endings.
Areas like ‘th’, pronunciation of weak vowels, /w/and sentence stress are not as important. Work on these areas last.
Why Youtube Is Not Enough For Most People
English Pronunciation Youtube videos are a great place to start learning about your pronunciation.
To successfully change speech patterns many people need a more structured, more comprehensive system.
Often there is not enough practice on youtube on each area to really take someone’s English to the next level.
If you are ready for a structured program check out our suite of fully tailored English Pronunciation Courses.
Speech Active English Pronunciation Courses cover everything that you need to work on for speaking clear English. Each course is tailored specifically for speakers of your first language.
Check out our course for speakers of your first language here Speech Active Course List.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on how to improve English pronunciation with youtube.
Remember that doing this regularly is very important. If you do one of the 5 things above only once a week, nothing will change!
To achieve good improvement you really need to spend at least 15 minutes a day on improving your English accent.
Here are some other questions that people often ask us are:
OK – that’s me done for today. Please check out our other blog articles and free resources to help you start improving.
Remember, do the 5 actions listed on this page, or even one or two of them, and you will be building important skills for improving your English accent and pronunciation.
Keep up the great work!
English Pronunciation Youtube
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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