How to get a better English accent! 👄 DAILY PRACTICE!
Training your English accent to be clear and natural when you speak is important for confidence and clarity.
In this lesson, I share my top tips to help you develop better English pronunciation! You should be doing these things every day! I’ll help you to create daily habits to practice and improve your pronunciation skills, so you start speaking naturally, clearly and confidently!
Hello I’m Emma from mmmEnglish! In this video, I’m hoping I can convince you that you should practise your English pronunciation every day and it’s easier than you think. I want to give you some simple ideas to help you make daily pronunciation practice just a regular part of your routine. So let’s get into it!
The chances are, you’re watching this video because you want to work on your English accent, which means that there is something about it that frustrates you.
So firstly, I want you to tell me about it. Tell me about what makes you feel frustrated about your accent? Tell me in the comments below the video. I know what this is like, people misunderstanding you because you’re not making the right sounds or even just feeling like that’s not how it’s supposed to sound. Why am I so awkward? You know it’s not smooth, it’s not easy to talk to people and so your English conversations never really last that long. It’s hard to fit in, you know, and as you start using English at work you realise, My accent sucks. You feel like people aren’t taking you seriously. You don’t get invited to social functions and you start feeling really crap about yourself.
I know this because these are the same pains that so many of my students go through. Changing your accent helps you to feel accepted. It helps you to fit in and even excel with whatever you want to do. It takes years of work, of specific and deliberate training to first try to hear and recognise the sounds and then start making them yourself. I mean you’ve probably been speaking English with your accent for years now, right?
So it’s gonna take some effort to break those habits. Now I think that one of our biggest challenges as adults is creating regular habits, you know, we’re all so busy with kids and family and work and travel and all of the extra stress that goes with that stuff. You know it’s incredibly difficult to find the time to focus on something consistently but that is exactly what you need to do if you want to change your accent and make it clearer, you’ve got to bring daily pronunciation practice into your life, right?
I’ve got three things that I want to share with you today that I think you should be doing to improve your pronunciation every day. The first and really great daily habit that will help you to improve your pronunciation is super simple.
1. Read out loud
It doesn’t matter what you read, as long as what you’re reading is in English and doing this daily will help you to get your mouth muscles working and creating the sounds that you need to use when you speak English. It really is as simple as that and it doesn’t need to take you long, you know, five or ten minutes a day is plenty. That kind of exercise is really easy to fit into your daily routine, right? No excuses.
Probably the best place to do this is at home, you know, somewhere where you’re not afraid to project your voice, to push your voice out. I don’t want you to read like this, okay? I want you to read like this. You know, practise pushing those sounds out of your mouth. You don’t need to worry about being perfect, you know, you’re just getting used to making those sounds and making those sounds together with other sounds in English.
So reading out loud is a really good way to sort of stretch and warm up your mouth ready for English. So it’s a good idea to do it before you go to class or before you have a phone call, before you have an English meeting, you know, activate those muscles, train them, remember what those sounds are and how to make them.
Reading out loud is an awesome way to practise your pronunciation.
2. Know English sounds
Speaking of sounds, get to know English sounds and in particular, the English sounds that you struggle with. This is a really, really important place to start, okay? There are lots of English sounds that you’re totally cool with you know, but there are probably quite a few that feel unnatural and they don’t really sound right as you speak.
If you don’t know what these sounds are for you then find out. A good place to start is just by researching the sounds that are difficult for people who speak your native language.
For French people, it’s definitely going to include the /h/ sound at the start of words.
For Vietnamese people, it’s going to be final consonants.
For Arabic speakers, Indian speakers, for everyone, really, TH sounds.
There are probably five to eight sounds that are problem sounds for you. Alright once you’ve worked out what they are, make a list of those sounds, stick them on your bathroom mirror and practise them every morning out loud, every day. Just start ironing out the creases.
It’s gonna take some time but the fastest way to correct those sounds is to consistently practise them. If you’re unsure if you’re pronouncing words correctly, use an online dictionary to check. Super easy, right?
You probably go to the gym, right? Or maybe you go for a run to keep fit or swim, just consider this your pronunciation workout, your English workout. You’ve got to do it regularly to keep fit and to get stronger and you know think about it, it hurts a lot if you don’t go to the gym for a while, you know, and then suddenly you’re lifting weights and you’re like “Oh this hurts”
If you haven’t spoken English in a while, it hurts, you know, your muscles ache because they’re not used to it but if you go to the gym regularly, you get fitter, you can last longer, you’re not as sore after each session. Gradually you can start to increase the weights, right?
Your tongue is a muscle as well. It needs to be trained and stretched and twisted into the positions that English requires. You are already so awesome at making the sounds that you need for your native language but you need to do a little bit of extra work to activate some of the English sounds that don’t exist in your language. So a daily tongue workout, a daily mouth workout is the fastest and the simplest method to improve your English pronunciation.
3. Tongue twisters
Now tongue twisters might seem like a bit of a joke to you but if you can find a few to help you practise those difficult sounds of yours, then doing them a few times daily will help to strengthen the muscles, you know, and help you to make those sounds more easily.
I’ve got a link to a video I made on tongue twisters up here. Check it out. Get started there. But find ones that are relevant for you.
How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
Six sick hicks nicked six slick bricks with picks and sticks.
4. Natural pronunciation
So you’ve probably noticed that English words, when they’re spoken naturally, sometimes change. You know the pronunciation can change as we increase the speed of our speech. In fact, they often do. And there are lots of grammatical words that actually have two forms of pronunciation, a stressed form and an unstressed form.
The schwa sound is really important to help you practise word stress and sentence stress in English. Studying connected speech is also going to help you to learn how to do this and to sound more natural when you speak.
I’ve got lots of videos about connected speech and pronunciation up here in this playlist but these are all really important aspects of naturally spoken English that you can work on to help you improve your pronunciation but you can’t practise these things while you’re just pronouncing English words individually.
They have to be part of a sentence so how can you do that?
You need some controlled practice and imitating a native speaker is a fantastic way to do this. You may already know that I’ve created a whole course of videos around how to imitate a native speaker with lots of practice. You know, in these lessons I help you to copy and then shadow me as I speak. They’re really awesome quick ten minute videos that you can practise your pronunciation with. There are a few on my channel already but if you’d like to support mmmEnglish and purchase my imitation courses well you can do that right up here. Then you’ll have lots of different videos to practise with, lots of natural phrases and expressions to learn.
So what am I going to say next? Daily habit. That’s right! Okay? Get into the habit of practising with one lesson every day, that’s just ten more minutes of pronunciation practice every day alright? In the lessons, I’ll show you how to shadow a native speaker and this allows you to practise the rhythm, the pace, the pause, the intonation that’s used and this technique is something that you can start practising with any video. It doesn’t have to be my lessons, you can choose whatever video, whatever native speaker you want to shadow.
Whatever you choose, I’d focus on one lesson or one video every day for a whole week okay. So give yourself the time to go over and review, build confidence with it, right? Once you’ve done that make a recording of yourself and compare it to the original. Listen to yourself and try to identify what you’re doing wrong, what are the sounds that you’re not quite getting? I’ve added the link to my imitation course below in the description and I’ll also add one of the ones from my channel at the end of this video, okay?
In a video a couple of weeks ago, I said that with language practice, it’s easier to create a habit once you attach it to another activity. You know, like for me, I always listen to an audiobook while I go for a run. You might say “Okay I’ll practise my pronunciation every morning after I brush my teeth.” Or “I’ll read out loud for ten minutes every night before I go to bed.”
So attach it to an activity, help it to become a regular part of your routine. Changing your pronunciation is gonna take time so you must make it happen regularly, you know, you’ve got to create that daily habit and you’ve got to do it every day for a year which seems like forever but time flies if you get started today and you do it every day, you’ll be speaking clearly and confidently before you know it.
I hope you enjoyed this lesson and you found it useful. If you did, make sure you let me know in the comments below. You can find me on social media over here and as promised here’s one of my imitation lessons so that you can take it right now and practise. Hit the subscribe button if you haven’t done that already and I’ll see you in there!
Links mentioned in the video
9 TIPS for English learners in English-speaking countries!
How To Stay Motivated When Learning English
7 Steps to Confident English!