5 Accent Reduction Tips to Improve English Pronunciation
English can be a very difficult language to master, especially when it comes to pronunciation and intonation. Words frequently aren’t pronounced the way you’d think based on spelling, with the same letters sounding very differently depending on the word — like the “gh” at the ends of “through” and “tough.” What’s more, English contains many sounds that aren’t common in other languages, meaning that your muscles simply aren’t used to forming the shape you’ll need to produce the sound.
This can make mastering your English accent difficult, but not impossible! Follow these tips and with patience and practice, you’ll see a marked improvement in your accent.
Tip #1 Slow Down
It’s tempting to try to speak as quickly as you do in your native language, but this can cause a lot of misunderstanding as well as train your mouth to pronounce sounds improperly. Start by speaking slowly. Once your accent has improved, you can speed up if you like.
Tip #2: Consistency is Key
Just as you wouldn’t expect to master a new sport by only practicing once in a while, you won’t be able to improve your accent if you only practice sporadically. Try to practice at least 5 days a week for a minimum of 15. Make sure to repeat the same words and phrases multiple times to train your muscles properly. Be patient with yourself and keep at it until you are happy with how you sound.
Tip #3: Record Yourself Regularly
Recording yourself serves two purposes. First, you can play back the recording, hear how your pronunciation would sound to another person, and make adjustments as you practice. Second, it can be a great tool for motivation. If you’re ever feeling like you haven’t improved since you began practicing, go back to an earlier recording and check for yourself - most likely you will be pleasantly surprised with how much you have improved!
Tip #4: Don’t Shy Away From the Hard Ones
The sounds “th”, “r”, “v” and “w,” “l” and the many pronunciations of the vowel “o” tend to be especially tricky for non-native speakers. Make sure to include these sounds in your practice every single time.
Tip #5: Listen to Native Speakers As Much as Possible
Use radio, podcasts and audiobooks to expose yourself to the ways native speakers pronounce and intonate. Your brain will automatically and subconsciously absorb these sounds, which, thanks to your brains’ natural language acquisition processes, will make them easier for your mouth to reproduce.