IMPROVING YOUR PRONUNCIATION
Mimic recordings of native
You need the tape scripts to do this. Many of you use those Cambridge
practice test books (which are excellent!) and the Listening tests from
those books can be
used for mimicking after you have used them as tests. (Don't waste
these especially written tests by studying them slowly before you use them
yourself under test conditions. After you have used them as tests, then
it is a good idea to study them more slowly.
'Mimicking' means copying everything
about the way the speaker speaks, as exactly as you can, not just repeating
the basic word pronunciation. "Everything" means, a) the pronunciation of the
words, b) the way several words are (sometimes) spoken as several linked
sounds, almost like one long word, and c) the way the speaker puts greater
stress on one or more words in a sentence.
Similarly, mimicking the recordings
in excellent British English books such as "Headway" will help you
improve a lot.
Alternatively, you could choose to
mimic recordings of American English if you want to. But too much "mixed"
pronunciation (a mixture of British and American pronunciation) might, at
times, confuse a listener (the examiner).
Overall, mimic imported recordings of
native speakers, not domestically produced materials, which are inferior
because the native speakers in those materials are not professional actors and
often do not speak 100% naturally, especially at natural speed, with
naturally linked sounds.
Although "Side by Side" is one of
the best books you can use to improve your spoken grammar, the recordings
that go with those books are not the best for improving your pronunciation.
The "Side by Side" recordings are quite good for helping you with some
aspects of your pronunciation, especially sentence stress and rhythm, but
the recordings are sometimes spoken at an unnaturally slow speed, especially
the recording for Book 1. This is understandable since the main purpose of
"Side by Side" is to help you learn to make grammatically correct sentences
- If you think your pronunciation of
the basic sounds of English is not very good (not very clear), here is a
hint that will help your score in the IELTS test, (although this hint will
not really help you improve your pronunciation) :
try to avoid speaking
single-syllable (一个音节) words when a multi-syllable (多音) word is possible.
For example, some candidates in China say "maths" in a way that sounds like
"mice" and the examiner might not understand what you are saying. But if
these candidates say, "mathematics", the examiner will understand it, even
if part of the pronunciation of this word is imperfect.
- Check the page on this website for
some 'Common Pronunciation
- Practice speaking contracted
- Practice speaking English with the
sounds linked. For example, don't say, "In/o/ther/words" but
instead say it as, "I/no/ther/words."
- Try to understand and practice how
to put the stress on two-word combinations. See the section for this on this
website for this. That page has a "diagnostic test" to help you see how
much you know about where to put the stress on two-word combinations. If you
want to skip the test, just go straight to the lists of different word
http://ielts-yasi.englishlab.net/WORD_COMBINATION_LISTS.htm. But if you
don't understand the explanations on those pages, try going to
the answers page for the diagnostic test for a more detailed
- Remember: watching foreign movies
will do very little to improve your pronunciation because when you watch a
movie you are only listening, not
- Reading aloud is useful but only
after you are quite sure that your pronunciation is correct. Do a lot of mimicking practice first.
- A good website for hearing the
pronunciation of most English words is http://www.howjsay.com