Learning to speak English isn’t always easy because of the pronunciation. There are so many different accents that are considered “correct” and the spelling seems to have no relation to how a word is said.
Talking like a native English speaker isn’t impossible. However, it’s not the same as learning English grammar and conjugations.
Improving your pronunciation will also improve your spoken English and you’ll be much easier to understand when you’re speaking to native English speakers.
Golden Rules for Having a Good Accent
First of all, you need to expose yourself to as much English as you can: books, films, music, videos. Immerse yourself in English media.
Your ears will get used to the sound of the language and you’ll also learn new expressions and start to distinguish the different sounds.
Make the most of every opportunity you get to hear English. Download podcasts or listen to the radio when you go to work, watch the TV when you get home, and watch films over the weekend.
Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes every day listening to English. Bit by bit you’ll improve thanks to the exposure.
Focus on the pronunciation of the sounds you don’t have in your language. In fact, there are usually a number of them as English has a lot of different phonemes.
Focus on the words that you find difficult to pronounce. Make a note of them in a little book under “words to practice”.
Like we said before: make sure you’re practicing regularly. 15 minutes per day. This is THE best way to improve your accent. Don’t forget that there isn’t a golden age to learn English online. Short sessions allow you to focus and work effectively.
Listen to the different varieties of English.
Focus on listening to the difference between American and British English, for example, and practice repeating a few words or phrases.
If you love films, try remembering your favorite scenes in English. If you love music, learn the lyrics and sing along with your favorite songs.
While this might seem difficult at the start, it’ll get easier as you keep practicing. You can also practice English when you’re on holiday.
Finally, make sure you read aloud when reading articles, books, blogs, or novels. Get used to reading and speaking English. When you read aloud, make sure you focus on your pronunciation and pay attention to the sounds you find very difficult. Don’t lose hope when it gets difficult. There are plenty of good reasons for learning English with ESOL courses.
If you want to improve your accent, follow this advice:
Listen to yourself
- Slow down
- Watch yourself
- Copy the experts
- Practice English alone
- Practice with a friend
- Pay attention to stress and intonation
- Sing a song
Remember that there isn’t a single solution though regular practice is one of the best ways to make a lot of progress.
If you’d like to see how you’re doing, consider recording yourself with a camera. Use the camera to check how you speak, not just how you sound.
You won’t need a special programme to do this either. Most computers (especially laptops) come with a webcam and software for recording yourself.
Your smartphone will also be able to capture video with the front-facing camera.
The best way to improve your accent is to repeat after native English speakers. We recommend a technique called “shadowing”.
Copy what you hear. Look up this technique on YouTube.
You can also do this while you watch TV or the news. Check out dictionaries of English slang as well.