One of the hardest things to do when trying to master a new language is suppress your accent to sound more like a native speaker. Sometimes, you might not even realize you have an accent until someone else points it out or you notice that others are having difficulty understanding you. It’s very hard to eliminate your accent entirely, but the six activities outlined below can help prevent it from becoming a problem. Perform well enough and people who don’t know you might start thinking you’re a native speaker, too!
Record yourself reading aloud
Listen to your recording when you’re done reading out loud and pay attention to any words or phrases you have trouble pronouncing. You may have an easier time identifying your errors if you write your phrases the way you pronounce them and then look at how the sentences you’ve written differ from the original text.
Look at the way English speakers move their mouths when they speak
When you’re talking with a native speaker or watching an English-language movie, pay attention to how the speaker moves his or her mouth when pronouncing certain words. Practice pronouncing these words while watching yourself in the mirror later.
Pay attention to the way native speakers stress their words
English is a stress-based language, so when you’re listening to a native speaker saying words with more than one syllable, pay attention to which syllable is stressed.
Listen to audiobooks
English-language audiobooks are typically recorded by native speakers who pronounce their words very clearly, so listening to these recordings will help you hear how English is supposed to sound.
Train yourself to pronounce “th”
The “th” sound of words like “that” and “bath” is one of the most challenging sounds for many English language learners because it doesn’t occur in many other languages. You will need to stick your tongue just behind your front teeth to make this sound, and you will most likely need to practice saying “th” words out loud a lot to master the pronunciation.
Concentrate on pronouncing the ends of words
Words that end with “s” or “-ed” can be particularly challenging, so concentrate on pronouncing these words.
Learn all the English vowel sounds
While there are only five vowels in English, there are twelve different vowel sounds. Review these sounds and pay attention to which vowel sounds are used with common words.
Who do you know who struggles with their accent when speaking English? Share this guide with them.