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5 Ways to Improve Your Pronunciation

My friend, Steve, at Single Step English has generously written this informative post for us here at I want to thank Steve for his insight and for his time. I know that you will benefit from these 5 ways to improve your pronunciation.

Many English language learners are eager to find ways to improve their pronunciation.

Below is a brief list of methods and materials I have used to successfully help university students in Japan.

  • Practice Minimal Pairs. As second language learners, there are many sounds and words that cause us trouble. The sooner we can identify those sounds, the better. After you determine which sounds or words are difficult, make a plan to turn those weaknesses into strengths. Minimal pairs are a wonderful way to help overcome pronunciation weaknesses. You can check out these two videos to practice minimal pairs.

L v R Sound

B v. V Sound

  • Sing Songs. Using music to learn English not only helps increase vocabulary, it can especially improve pronunciation. Songs make us better listeners, create more awareness of intonation, and force learners to increase speaking speed to keep up with the song lyrics. Find a music artist you like and learn the words to their songs. Make this an enjoyable aspect of your pronunciation practice.
  • Watch Movies on DVD. Very similar to music, watching movies can help increase vocabulary and improve pronunciation. When using movies, choose one of the characters in a 3-5 minute scene. Then, while using the movie subtitles try to shadow the lines being spoken by that character. In other words, you play the role of the person in that movie scene. This will greatly improve both your speaking speed and accent.
  • Compare Your Accent. Use the voice memo function on a smart phone to make a short recording of approximately one minute. Then, ask a native speaker to record the same spoken dialogue. After that, listen to your voice file compared to the native speaker. Notice the differences by writing down the words or expressions which you want to improve upon. Make your recording again and try to sound more like the native speaker.
  • Use Tongue Twisters. This is a fun way to help you overcome making difficult sounds. Tongue Twisters are a sequence of words or sounds that are difficult to pronounce quickly and correctly. For example, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper. You can do a search on YouTube for tongue twisters and practice using this technique. Don’t worry about making mistakes. Tongue Twisters are difficult for everyone! Most importantly, smile and learn.I hope these techniques will make your English language learning experience more fun and fulfilling.

If you have any questions, feel free to write comments on my YouTube channel:

Single Step English

Good luck!