Our top 5 English Pronunciation tips for Farsi speakers

Feb 18, 2019 | Blog

Georgie Harding

Founder of Speech Active & Speech Pathologist

Some of my favourite clients have been Farsi speakers!

As a Farsi speaker wanting to improve your English pronunciation I recommend you sign up to our free online English Pronunciation course. It’s a great place to start improving your English pronunciation from right now!

Whether you’re an engineer, IT professional, doctor, teacher or something else – clear, confident English is a must for workplace communication. 

So, what are my top English pronunciation tips for Farsi speakers?

Top Tip 1. Improve your word stress. 

Spend a day or two listening to the ‘music’ of your English. It can help to record your speech. Use this online recorder to record yourself speaking in English.

Does it sound flatter and more even than native speakers? 

Do you sometimes put the stress on the wrong syllable in English words? 

These are common English Pronunciation problems for Farsi speakers. This happens because the rhythm and beat or ‘music’ of Farsi is SO different to English. 

In English the pitch of our voice goes up and down to make stress. Stress in words is called “word stress”. Making the correct word stress is essential for speaking English clearly.

Watch this video to help Farsi Speakers improve their English word stress.   

Here are some words that Farsi speakers often use incorrect word stress in.

‘product’ – the stress should be on ‘pro’. Many Farsi speakers either put the same amount of stress on both parts or more stress on the 2nd part. All the stress should be on ‘pro’  – it’s PROduct. This is different to ‘proDUCtion’.

‘realise’ – the stress is on the first part ‘REAlise’. Many Farsi speakers pronounce it incorrectly and put the stress on the last part.

‘suburb’ – which part of ‘suburb’ do you stress? All the stress should be on the first part ‘SUburb’. It’s not pronounced ‘suBURB’.

Research shows that word stress like this is the most important area affecting how clear your English is to listeners.

Flat English is unclear and it can make you sound a little uninteresting or un-engaging. 

From today start to pay attention to way that native speakers go up and down with the pitch of their voice (the music). Start to pay attention to the stressed syllable in each multi-syllable word. This will HUGELY improve the sound and clarity of your English.  

Sign up to our free online course to improve your word stress and many other areas of your English pronunciation. 

Top Tip 2. Don’t mumble!

Some people speak Farsi with a very closed mouth position. Their jaw remains quite closed when they are speaking. 

If you do this in English your English will sound unclear! So don’t bring this habit into your English. 

English has a lot of sounds that require an open jaw position like ‘ar’ in the word ‘dark’ and ‘o’ in the word ‘hot’ and /oʊ/ in ‘hope’.

Some Farsi speakers don’t open and move their mouth and jaw enough when they speak English. This results in their English being generally unclear. In English, we call this mumbling. 

From today – check you aren’t mumbling. Check you are opening and moving your mouth enough for clear English. It will instantly improve your general clarity and make your English clearer and your voice projection will improve too.  

Top Tip 3. Check your /v/ and /w/ sounds!

 

Many Farsi speakers confuse these sounds, for example they say ‘vun’ instead of ‘won’ or ‘avare’ instead of ‘aware’. You need to become more aware of your mouth positions before you can change and improve them to make the correct sounds.

Most of my Farsi speaking students are not even aware that they are mispronouncing the sounds /w/ and /v/.

Try this sentence: We avoided watching the videos. 

Did you get a good /w/ sound in ‘we’ and ‘watched’? For the sound /w/ the lips are rounded, they do not touch the teeth. 

Did you get correct /v/ sounds in ‘avoided’ and ‘videos’? For the sound /f/, the bottom lip gently touches the top teeth and air passes gently in between. 

If you had to concentrate to get these right then it’s likely you are confusing these in your everyday talking. Start to pay more attention to these sounds. 

Top Tip 4. Start to think about double vowels.
 

When you say the word ‘note’ does it sound more like ‘not’ or ‘nought’ than ‘note’? When you say ‘coat’, does it sound more like ‘caught’ or ‘cot’? 

The vowels in English are very different to Farsi. When pronouncing some key English diphthong / double vowels speakers of Farsi often make one vowel (a single vowel) instead of a double (or diphthong) vowel. 

For clear English you need to distinguish between short vowels, long vowels and double / diphthong vowels. 

What Next?

Would you like more help to improve your English pronunciation and spoken English skills. 

Check out our English Pronunciation Course for Farsi / Persian Speakers. 

If you haven’t already – sign up for our free English Pronunciation Short Course here – so you can get started improving TODAY!

 

 

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