Improving pronunciation of word endings

Sep 16, 2018 | Blog, Blog UK

Georgie Harding

Speech Pathologist

Do you sometimes have problems pronouncing the ends of word clearly in English?

Did you know that improving your word endings is a great way to quickly improve your speech clarity in English!

Speakers of Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Cantonese and speakers of other languages of South East Asia often have some difficulty pronouncing sounds clearly at the ends of their words.

Speakers of Malaysian English and Singaporean English also often don’t pronounce the sounds at the ends of English words clearly. 

Good word endings are essential for clear English. 

They are important for:

  • good past tense endings (eg miss vs missed)
  • correct plurals (eg cups, reports)
  • distinguishing one word from another (eg plan vs plant, fine vs find)
  • other grammatical markers like the 3rd person

If you aren’t making word endings clearly then many words will be unclear and you will sound like you have poor grammar in your spoken English. 

Many speakers of Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Cantonese can repeat single words beautifully with correct endings but the problem arises when they speak in sentences. When speaking in sentences it is more difficult and they drop some sounds at the ends of their words.

So, how can you improve this?!

The answer is you need to get better control over pronouncing sounds at the ends of words.

Start with the steps below. Good luck!

1] Start by paying more attention to the ends of your words. When you’re speaking, start to listen and feel the endings of words. 

Practise OUT LOUD! Feel the difference between different endings. 
       – white, wise, wide, wine, wipe
       – cat, cap, can, cam, cab

2] Start with words and  then build up to phrases!! 
Practise these words out loud making a good /t/ ending.

wait                 &                  gate

Now practice them with another word – making excellent /t/ sounds.

wait after             &                  gate after

Then when you are very good at this, add another word.

wait after late                         gate after late.

It doesn’t matter if your practise phrases don’t make sense. They are for practice and for exercising your mouth. This is all about helping you get better control.  

3] Every morning, practice this sentence out loud 10 times. Do it slowly and make sure you get good word endings every time.

I look at a pink pot. 

Do that every morning for 5 days and then say the following:

I look at a pink pot and a rat on a mat.

After that, change the phrases and insert words that you need to use often. For example, words like ‘work’, ‘walk’, ‘take’, ‘part’ etc etc.

Remember mispronouncing sounds at the ends of words makes your English unclear and also negatively affects your grammar (past tense endings and plural endings).

This area is just one of the important pronunciation aspects you’ll improve with a Speech Active Online English Pronunciation Course.  

See more about how to improve your pronunciation with an online English Pronunciation course. Select your first language to find out about how we help speakers of your first language improve their spoken English.   

Also check out the free videos on our English Pronunciation youtube channel – you’ll correct lots of commonly mispronounced words and improve word stress and key vowel sounds and more. 

Become a master at English word stress, sentence stress, weak vowels and all areas of English pronunciation with Speech Active.

Check out our full English Pronunciation and Fluency Courses here

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