Good pronunciation is the key to successful communiaction in a given language. We all come from different corners of the world and often we don’t realize that small things matter as far as pronunciation is concerned. Sometimes from where we put stress depends what we actually say to someone. The same word may mean two totally different things like in the case of Polish which can mean both inhabitant of Poland (Polak, Polka) and a process of making your shoes look nice (polerować). Another example would be the word ‘wind’ which depending on its pronunciation may refer to the moves of air (wiatr) or to turning something around in order to make it work (nastawiać).

It’s good to know English pronunciation. But how to get to know it? Here are some tips:

Learning from songs

No, it’s not a fake. One hears about it all the time and it might seem overrated. But it really works and makes your pronunciation better. You have a lot to choose from. Try not use songs with very difficult vocabulary but the ones whose lyrics you might hear around in your everyday surroundings. I like Avril Lavigne for that purpose. Her voice is clear and her songs are pleasant to sing along. You just need to turn on YouTube or Spotify or whatever music medium you use, prepare lyrics of a song and sing „#$%However, bear in mind that some songs might have their stress or rhythm in the grammatically incorrect place in order for the song to sound better.

Recording your speaking

A great way to improve your pronunciation is recording yourself when speaking and then listening to it. We often have no idea how different we sound to the way we think we do. Listening to our recorded speaking can be very surprising and change our perception of how far we are in the process of learning.

Looking for the right pronunciation in the dictionaries

There are Internet dictionaries which apart from simple translation can provide you with the pronunciation. You can find this function on dictionary. When you enter the words you’re looking for, next to the translation you can find an icon of a loudspeaker. If you click on it, you’ll get to hear how the word sounds in English.

Talking to foreigners

Whenever you have opportunity use your language skills in action. Maybe you have some English – speaking friends? Or you visit foreign countries where you can use this language? Just remember, don’t be a nuisance, don’t just use people you know to practice language „#$% In some language schools you can talk to the native speakers – worth to find out about it.

Watching TV shows and films

In need of a British accent? Why not trying The Crown? Matt Smith is there for you to teach you one of the British accents. What about ‘doing it’ the American way? I could recommend for example Friends or Big Bang Theory or Suits. These are really great TV shows to improve your pronunciation skills. You need to listen and imitate. The text can be replayed all over
again. It might seem tedious but it’s definitely worth it.

Accent and pronunciation

I hope you will use some or at least one of these tips. We sometimes get discouraged by the conviction that we will never be able to speak like a native. At this point, one explanation needs to be made. Many people take accent as pronunciation. These are two different things.
Accent is a matter of region or country you come from, social status and education. Whereas pronuciation consists of rhythm, stress and intonation. You can have excellent pronunciation while still keeping your regional accent – and this is perfectly normal and you don’t need to be ashamed of that.

Good luck in your learning.

Autor: Honorata Turczyn