Many people write to us here at VOA Learning English with this question:
How can I improve my English pronunciation?
Last week on our program, we talked about setting realistic goals. That means, you do not have to sound exactly like a native English speaker. You can keep your accent and still communicate clearly. We also talked about learning the rhythm of English.
Today we will talk about three things you can do to sound more like a native speaker.
Watch and listen to yourself
A good place to start is to watch and listen to videos and other programs recorded in English.
For example, choose a story from our website. Listen to the recording while looking at the words. Make a note of any words you think may be hard to say, and then say them aloud. Play the audio again and read along. Then record yourself reading it slowly and clearly. Listen to your recording. Are you speaking loudly enough? As an English speaker, speaking more slowly than you normally do and speaking loudly with confidence can make it easier for others to understand you.
Take 'Selfie Videos'
You can also learn how to improve your pronunciation by taking selfie videos. Record a few sentences. Watch the video and ask yourself: Is my voice loud enough? Did I say all of the words clearly? Next, ask an English-speaking friend to listen, or try reading the story for a friend.
Listen to your dictionary
Our final piece of advice is to listen to recordings from an online dictionary. Try using a dictionary app, like the Merriam-Webster Learners’ Dictionary, which gives you the correct pronunciation in an audio file.
Click on the small picture
(it looks like a speaker) to play the sound of the word.
You can also use a website like Google Translate. Type in a word, then click on the small picture to hear the pronunciation.
If you click it a second time, it will play more slowly so you can hear each part of the word clearly.
What else do you do?
Now you have heard our suggestions for sounding more like a native English speaker. What do you tell your friends about improving your pronunciation? Write to us and tell us your own advice. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
And that’s Ask a Teacher!
I’m Jill Robbins.
Dr. Jill Robbins wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
pronunciation – n. the way in which a word is said
accent – n. a way of saying words that is common among the people in an area or country
rhythm – n. a regular, repeated order of sounds or movements
confidence – n. a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
file – n. a collection of computer data or other information stored in an electronic device
click – v. to press or strike a button on a control device
type – v. to write something on a computer or typewriter
Do you have a question for the teacher? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.