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How to Improve Your Pronunciation

slow motion
ˌsloʊ ˈmoʊʃn
the act of showing a video at a slower speed than normal
Can you play that scene again in slow motion?

figure out
Phrasal Verb
ˈfɪgjər aʊt
to understand something or find an answer to a problem
She is trying to figure out the answer.

native speaker
ˈneɪtɪv ˈspiːkə
a person who learned to speak a particular language when they were very young
Portuguese is spoken by over 200 million native speakers.

emphasis used when pronouncing a particular sound or part of a word
Many language students have trouble with word stress and intonation.

the way people from a particular country, area, etc. pronounce words
He went to school in England, so he speaks with a British accent.

to make a copy of sound, music, etc. so it can be listened to later
The crime was recorded by the store's camera.
How to Improve Your Pronunciation
Do you find it difficult to pronounce words in English? Do people sometimes say that
you’re hard to understand? Here are three tips to help you improve your pronunciation.

Pay attention to your mouth and tongue

The next time you're watching an English TV show or movie, pay attention to the actors'
mouths. Play the video in slow motion. Then, try to copy the faces and sounds the
actors are making.

If you can't figure out how to pronounce something, ask your teacher or a native
speaker where they put their tongue when they say it.

Practice intonation and stress

When you listen to someone speaking, you'll notice that their voice goes up or down
with each word. This is called intonation and it can change depending on the speaker’s
emotions or accent.

Simple statements like, "I want to go to the store" usually have little or no intonation;
while yes-or-no questions like, "Do you want to go to the store?" have a rising
intonation. Other questions like, "Where do you want to go?" have a falling intonation.

Each word also has its own stress. For example, the word "present" is pronounced
differently depending on the meaning. If you say, "PRE-sent," the word is a noun
meaning either "now" or "a gift." But if you say, "pre-SENT," it's a verb meaning, "to
give or show."

Record yourself

Choose one or two sentences from a movie and practice saying them a lot of
times. Then, use a camera to record yourself. Check to make sure your mouth and
tongue are in the right place, and that you're placing stress on the right part of each

1. Which of the tips in this article did you find most interesting? Why?
2. What do you find most difficult about English pronunciation? Please explain your
3. Do you ever watch TV shows and movies in English? If so, do you have a favor ite? If
not, why not?
4. What English accent do you find most difficult to understand? Please explain your
5. What words or sounds do you imagine people struggle to pronounce when learning
your native language?

Further Discussion
1. In your experience, what is the best way to practice pronunciation? Please explain
your answer.
2. In your opinion, what languages sound the most beautiful? Why do you think so?
3. What do you enjoy most about learning English? Please explain your answer.
4. How long have you been taking online English lessons? Why did you decide to start?
5. If you don't know how to pronounce a word, say it loud! - William Strunk Jr. Do you
think this is good advice? Why? Why not?