ESL students everywhere in the world have similar troubles when learning English language and pronunciation. Due to the lack of time, most teachers tend to concentrate on doing grammar and vocabulary exercises with their students. Pronunciation, on the other hand, is left unattended. But, time has changed, and so have the needs of today's English learners. Global market of today demands you have almost perfect knowledge of English language, which also includes - excellent pronunciation. Even if your grammar is good and you mastered a great deal of complicated words, if you sound like a cave man when talking to native speakers, it might cost you your desired job. It makes you think twice before entering another job application abroad, doesn't it?
There is no room to despair, of course. In the time of the Internet and mass communication you have all the tools you need to master every skill you want, including English pronunciation. However, there are a few things to consider before you start your journey.
1. How strong is my accent?
You have to be honest to yourself if you want to improve. Once you recognize where you actually stand with your pronunciation, you will be able to make an action plan. Defining your weaknesses is crucial, and you should be brutally honest to yourself.
2. Record and compare
One of the ways to see where you really stand with your English pronunciation is recording your own voice. Record yourself reading an article and then listen to yourself. Notice what is it that you have troubles with pronouncing and focus on resolving those issues. Another thing you can do – write down a few lines from a movie. Then read it and record it. Play it and compare it to the original. That way you will be able to notice all the big (and little) things you have to work on.
3. Talk to the native speakers
Easier said than done, you might think. Well, no. There are plenty of people out there who are selflessly offering their help to ESL students. Use it! It will be beneficial for you in many ways – by talking to native speakers from all around the world you will be able to learn about their culture and you might get a friend along the way. Be friendly and open; also help others who want to learn your native language and culture.
4. Use the Internet
Ahh, the great Internet. It is the mightiest tool today and undeniably most influential factor of worldwide education. There are plenty of websites and Internet communities designed especially to cater your needs of becoming fluent in English. There are also lots of software programs specifically designed for what you need. What you have to do is choose the best one, or few of them. What you have to look for is software that can help you understand how a specific sound is made. Once you ‘’get that’’ there will be no stopping you in pronouncing even the toughest words. The anatomy of speech is what is holding you back, so if you find a way to resolve that issue, you will be far on your way to becoming fluent.
5. Don't be hard on yourself
This might be the most important factor in your learning process. In order to be successful you have to be relaxed, open-minded and quick. If you’re tense and stressed out about your progress, it won’t get you anywhere – sorry! When you stumble, take a break, breathe deeply, and then do it again. Repetition and practice is extremely important. Never give up and have fun along the way.
Learning a language is fun. Learning proper pronunciation is even more fun. Why? Because you've already acomplished so much on your way, and you are now perfecting your skills. Don't be shy during your learning process, be open and have fun. The more you practise with more different people, the better you will be!