Have you faced a situation like this:
You speak with a native English speaker who cannot seem to understand anything you say.
You think you speak very clearly, not too fast, not too slow, just at the right pace.
But the native speaker just asks you to repeat everything because he canât understand your accent.
We have all been there, right?
This is something that is very common to most non native English speakers who travel to English speaking countries.
You could be attending a business conference or traveling to one of your client offices.
Or you could be a foreign student who had scored well at TOEFL and GRE.
Whatever your credentials are in English, if others canât understand your accent, it will make you frustrated and helpless.
This is where a clear pronunciation and accent is extremely valuable.
Record your voice and compare
One of the first things I suggest to English students is to record conversations you have.
For example, you can be calling your Internet Cable company â record what you say on your smartphone or your laptop.
Play it back a few times. Now compare, your pronunciation to a native English speaker on YouTube.
Having a benchmark is the first step to improve pronunciation.
This will allow you to identify the main words/sounds you are pronouncing different that native speakers.
This will be your baseline for your own accent improvement-training program. And remember, the key is deliberate practice.
Familiarize yourself with certain sounds in English pronunciation that are difficult for you.
For example, focus on a particular sound like R or V that stands out.
Then try to pronounce the vowel and consonant sounds together, before practicing the word, and finally the sentence.
Deliberate speaking practice is the most crucial point of learning English as it fosters familiarity and confidence.
Understand the subtle differences of Accent
Letâs move to our second pro tip on how to improve pronunciation free at home.
The key to reducing your accent or improving your pronunciation lies in the details.
For example, take the word âGarageâ.
If you were brought up learning British English (most English learners in South Asia end up learning British English, growing up), you will pronounce this word as GARE-idge.
However, if you ever move to the US, you will hear Americans pronounce the same word as ga-RAHJ.
The difference is quite subtle, but most American EnglishÂ speakers who are not familiar with accents around the world will not understand you right away if you pronounce it the British way.
With a little adjustment in pronunciation, you can save yourself a lot of frustration.
Pay really close attention to Native English Speakers.
The number one tip to improve pronunciation free is practice.
You probably already know this but let me repeat â if you want to be fluent in English, you have to practice with Native English Speakers.Â Period.
There is no short cut or alternative.
While textbooks can help learn the basics, these skills cannot be mastered without frequent conversational use.
When you do have conversations with Native English speakers, pay really close attention to how they stress certain sounds.
For example, pay close attention to how they pronounce the âRâ sound.
Go back your original voice recording. Is it as delicate as the way they say the âRâ sound? Or look back at the âVâ and âWâ sounds. Or how the âTâ sounds are pronounced at the back end of a word like âcanâtâ
Another example is words with the âAâ sound. Words such as âbathâ, âaskâ, âlaughâ, âclassâ, âchanceâ.
Pay close attention to where the sound is stressed. There is a very clear distinction in the way these words are pronounced in American English vs. British English.Source:Â actinobranch