You might have full control over your English grammar and spelling, and reading skills. But the first thing someone will notice about your English is how you pronounce it; everything else comes later. The words you speak are your first impression of someone, so you don’t want it to be lacking. That’s why you must pay equal attention to your English pronunciation as you do to everything else. Here is how you can work on it,
Learn the pronunciation, don’t guess it
English is a very phonetically inconsistent language. You might be able to guess the meaning of all the adjectives starting with Z by seeing how they are used in a sentence, but there is no way of guessing the pronunciation of those words without listening to them yourself. From the spelling of it, you might try to guess it, but there is a good chance you will be wrong.
Think of the word “bury”. Here, the “u” can be pronounced like the “u” in “put”, “cut”, or “cute”. Which one is correct? The second one is, but you won’t know for sure until you check out the pronunciation yourself. That’s why Google can be beneficial, because all you have to do is search a word’s meaning, and there will be a microphone icon beside the word in the results, from where you can learn the right way to pronounce it. Listen to it once, and you’ll remember!
Read books out loud
You might have a theoretical and abstract idea of how the words in English are pronounced, but if you don’t put it into practice and get your mouth used to the words, then when the time comes, it will still be difficult for you to get the right accent. A lot of multilingual people struggle with the pronunciation of other languages because the shape and movements of the mouth are often different in each.
That’s why practice is important. One of the best ways you can practice by yourself is by reading a book, an article, or just about anything written in English out loud. Listen to how your words sound and judge for yourself whether it’s right or not. Read the same sentence repeatedly if you have to until you get it perfect.
Test your pronunciation with a bot
Whether you’re using an Android or an iPhone, your phones have built-in bots prepared to take your commands and fulfil them. There are also voice searches available in search engines. If the language of your phone is set to English, you also have to give those commands in English.
In these cases, the pronunciation of your question or inquiry is extremely crucial because bots can’t pick them up accurately otherwise. If your pronunciation is wrong or unclear, you won’t get the answer you are looking for. So this is a great way to test how clear and precise your pronunciations are.
Learn the pronunciation of a specific accent
There are multiple dialects and accents of English spoken all over the world. Even within the USA, there is more than one prevalent accent, and there are dialects as well. When you’re learning English pronunciations, choose any of the standard accents to go with.
This is because some words are pronounced differently in different accents, which might cause confusion. The standard American accent is comparatively simpler for the mouth than the standard British or Australian ones. But it’s completely your choice.
Start watching movies and contents of that accent
Once you have selected an accent you’re most comfortable with, start focusing on watching movies or looking up YouTubers that predominantly use that accent while speaking. You should subject yourself to at least 10-30 minutes of such listening sessions on a regular basis. Pay attention to how they are pronouncing the words.
This will help you determine whether there is any word you’ve been pronouncing wrong this whole time. It’s also a great way to practice listening skills, which is a great skill to have. Who knows, one day you might become a successful transcriptionist too! You don’t have to memorize anything. Chances are, when you try saying a sentence by yourself, the accent you’re listening to the most will naturally come out of your mouth without requiring additional thought.