FOUR STEPS TO ENGLISH FLUENCY:
If you are a newbie to learning English you might be struggling to get to a level where you will be most comfortable communicating with people in English. At first sight, it seems like an unachievable goal for many first-time language learners, however, there is nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it. And now I will tell you about one simple step that you need to take to boost your confidence and that is IMPROVING your pronunciation. I’m a language teacher and in a lot of cases, I work with students who are shy about their pronunciation which keeps them from speaking out. Well, this is understandable, pronunciation is the first thing that is going to strike your listener once you go into a conversation with them, and you have only one chance to make a good impression, therefore if you are a language learner and you want to stand on firm grounds in the future, do not think less of the importance of beautiful pronunciation, and make it a rule to follow these tips in order to feel more confident in your upcoming English interactions.
- Read a lot out aloud to train your speech organs.
Reading aloud will help you adapt your speech organs, such as tongue, jaw, lips, to the sounds of the English language which will prepare you for any situations where you will need to use English because after practicing aloud reading you will feel a lot more confident producing the various sounds of the English language to the point of reaching automation.
- Always check the pronunciation of new words.
Most teachers advise against this, however, I think it is the worst piece of advice a teacher can give to a student. Yes, check each and every single word you are in doubt about for pronunciation, that is in case you want to attain a high level of accuracy. In order to be able to check the pronunciation in traditional dictionaries, you will need to learn to read the IPA, which stands for International Phonetic Alphabet. According to Wikipedia IPA is “…is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script.” Which simply put means symbols that stand for more specific sounds in English, because as we know sometimes what is written differs from how it is said. Therefore, we use IPA to write words in the way they are actually pronounced. It is pretty easy to learn this alphabet, but if you are too lazy to do that, simply access any online dictionary, input your word, and hit the small speaker button and it will pronounce the word for you, what you need to do is to simply listen to that pronunciation and copy it to the best of talents.
- Keep a notebook and always write down new vocabulary in it.
While you check the words for their pronunciation don’t forget to write them down somewhere to refer back to whenever you need. Because you might not learn the word or its pronunciation on the first go, therefore it’s a good idea to circle back to it once in a while in order to review and reinforce your knowledge. An extra piece of advice: also write down an example sentence with your words to help you better understand the contexts you can use them in.
- Listen to native speakers and try to repeat after them in order to improve your intonation.
Intonation goes hand in hand with pronunciation. We can say that pronunciation is on the word level, whereas intonation is on the sentence level, it is the melody of your speech. In order to improve your intonation, you should listen to and imitate the native speakers as much as possible. One way to accomplish this is by watching native TV shows, I personally recommend Sitcoms because this format is shorter, usually 20 minutes, and it contains language for everyday social interaction. You simply need to watch and listen all the while trying to copy how they speak, this is an actual technique used by many language learners and it’s called shadowing.
Long story short, you can do it. Just follow these four steps and thank me later.