A lot of people wonder how they can improve their pronunciation in English.
There are a lot of ways to improve your pronunciation but the more important question to ask is what your pronunciation goals are.
Do you know what your pronunciation goals are?
Why do you want to improve your pronunciation?
I’ll let you think about that for a moment.
As you’re thinking about your goals, ask yourself how you use English. How are you currently using English? And if you’re not currently using English, then I’d like you to think about how you hope to be using English. For example, maybe you want to live, work, or travel abroad to an English speaking country like the US.
So in this lesson we’re addressing how to identify your pronunciation needs to that you know how to take action.
Let’s get to it.
I hope you took a couple of seconds to think about your pronunciation goals. Do you want to sound like a Native English speaker? Do you feel the needs to eliminate your accent completely? Is your goal generally to sound clear and intelligible but maintain your accent?
As you’re doing goal setting, think about when you need to use English and how you need to use the language. For example, you might need to use it at work. And maybe you need to improve your speaking skills and listening comprehension mainly to be able to interact with clients. But if your job consists predominantly of interacting via email, then you would probably like to improve your written communication and reading comprehension skills and maybe pronunciation is not that much of a concern. So do you see how even though you might use English at work, depending on the nature of your job and how you communicate in English, your goal could be different. If you are on video conferencing calls and phone calls most of your day at work, then your pronunciation needs to be crystal clear. For example, if you work in a call center, you’d do well to improve your pronunciation so that your speech is very clear. Phone calls can be one of the most different modes of communication because there is no visual aid. In other words, we cannot see a person’s facial expressions or nonverbal communication. All we have in their voice. And if for some reason the phone signal or cellular connection is weak, then it can be extra challenging to both understand someone on the phone as well as to speak on the phone. Someone with a call center job would definitely need to prioritize excellent communication skills and pronunciation.
So those are some work-related scenarios.
But let’s say you’re more interested in having casual conversations in English. If this is your communication goal, then your speech can be more casual and relaxed. Your pronunciation goals can be mainly to achieve intelligibility so that you are understood but you don’t need to eliminate your accent. And I personally am a firm believer in not obsessing over eliminating one’s accent because you can communicate clearly and be understood even with an accent! It also is proof that you know more than one language, and in my book, that’s always a plus as someone who love speaking and learning different languages.
Remember that whatever your goals are with speaking and pronunciation that improvement takes time. You also need to have patience with yourself and the process and be consistent with your daily practice.
Additionally, a lot of people think they need to have the motivation to want to improve. But don’t wait until motivation shows up because sometimes it does not. Motivation is something that comes and goes. The better thing to have is consistency. Be consistent with your training. Just like you’re not going to get stronger from one gym session, you’re not going to improve your pronunciation after one study session.
Let’s talk about the steps you can take to improving pronunciation.
Step one is to analyze the way you use English (or want to use English) and for what purpose. For example, you use English at work, and you are mostly in video conference calls or interacting face-to-face with clients. Or you want to live in the US and so you hope to be using everyday English as you build a life there.
(2) Goal Setting
Determine your goals. Do you need to get really good on the phone and work on your telephone skills? Do you need to be good face-to-face? Do you want to be able to hold a conversation in English when chatting with friends? Think about what’s most important to you and what pronunciation goal needs your immediate attention. Start with one goal and work on that. Once you’re comfortable with it and feel like you’ve achieved your goal you can move on to the next goal and repeat the process.
It’s important to schedule time into your day-to-day for important things. For example, if you know you want to be consistent with your workouts, you make sure it’s on the calendar and you stick to the time that you set for your exercise. Same with improving pronunciation and speaking skills! Decide on what time you’ll be able to allocate improving and make sure you’ve penciled it into your calendar or created a digital calendar event. And once you have, show up for it!
Make sure that you are consistent. We can all get really good at something if we are doing it consistently. Consistency is the name of the game. So show up and keep showing up!
Nice work. So in this lesson, we discussed how to improve English pronunciation. It starts with figuring out how you used English or how you hope to be using English in the future. We talked about the power of goal setting and how you can create a schedule that works for you. And finally you learned about how motivation is not a shoe-in for goal-getting, rather keeping it consistent and showing up for yourself is what matters more. As with anything improving a new skill or learning something new takes time. But if you have the time and the patience, you’ll achieve those goals before you know it!
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