The 5 secrets of English pronunciation

5 September 2016

You can take it from me – sometimes English pronunciation is HARD! But – if you want to improve your pronunciation – you need to be aware that spoken English is made up of the following elements:

1. Sounds

Every language has a different set of vowel and consonant sounds. When people notice an accent, these sounds are what they will most often notice first. To help you with these sounds, you might want to check out Real English – for a weekly tutorial delivered by Darcy at FluentIQ.

2. Intonation

Intonation is the variation in pitch when you speak. Intonation is very important in English and can often change the meaning of an entire sentence!  Research shows that working on your intonation can help you improve your pronunciation better than working on individual sounds. Check out this video for some helpful intonation practice.

3. Stress

Correct placing of stress is very important for being understood. If you put stress in the wrong place in a word or in a phrase, you can lose or confuse entire meaning. Here’s a good resource for practicing stress and intonation.

4. Pausing

Appropriate pausing is extremely important in pronunciation. If you make a pause after every word, it makes your sentences disjointed. When we communicate, we may pause between thought groups. If these are all muddled up, it will be hard for someone to understand your message. If you’re not sure what I mean, please have a look at how pausing works.

5. Rhythm

Rhythm in the English language is created by combining stressed and unstressed syllables. In some languages like French, all syllables are about the same length and prominence which makes it more difficult for the speakers of those languages to produce English rhythm. Without proper rhythm, stress becomes difficult to hear and words are recognized with more effort. Practice your rhythm here.

And, now’s the time to check your English at FluentIQ! Get yourself a free account and do the 15-minute assessment. Once you have reviewed your report, all you need to do is focus and practice for at least 15 minutes every day. After one week of practice, go back to FluentIQ and see your improvement.

Don’t forget to do a good turn for your friends and share this with them if you think they’ll like it. Have a great week!

Ksenia
Posted by: Ksenia

Ksenia is our linguist, specializing in accentedness. She is interested in how accents change and how people can hear accents differently.