Home / English Lessons / 10 Steps to Improving Your English Language and Pronunciation Skills | Part 2

10 Steps to Improving Your English Language and Pronunciation Skills | Part 2

This post is the second in a series on How to Improve Your English Language and Pronunciation Skills.

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My students come from all around the world, and they all ask me the same question: “How can I improve my pronunciation?”

Here is a list of practical tips I’ve come up with for my students to improve their pronunciation. But many of these tips apply to improving your English language skills, so you can apply them to improving your grammar and vocabulary, too.

Remember, your improvement will come from addressing your linguistic issues outside of class.

Re-training your muscles and mind takes awarenesspractice and perseverance. If you put in the hours and the work, you will see positive results!

10 Steps to Improving Your English Pronunciation and Language Skills


1. Learn and become aware.

After learning the various rules of English, you must become aware of the errors that you make in your speech.

Keep an organized list of your corrections that have come from being monitored by other speakers, preferably native English speakers. If you don’t have a native English speaker to monitor you, simple listen and repeat with the Elemental English pronunciation and speaking lessons, and take note of how your pronunciation differs from mine.

For example, does my [θ] as in “think” [θInk] sound like [t] or [s], as in “tink” or “sink”, when you say it? 

Once you become aware of the errors you make, you are then ready to correct them. Obviously, if you are oblivious to your errors, you can’t fix them!


2. Monitoring. 

Any time you are corrected, write down the correction that you were given on a special “monitoring” list.

Constantly update this list, and keep it organized. This is extremely useful, because the errors that you produce are usually not random mistakes that come from “a slip of the tongue”. Most errors are part of a pattern of mistakes that you repeat again and again.

Download the free Pronunciation and Language Skills Monitoring List (PDF)!


3. Repetitive Review.

Consistently review your monitoring list of errors. You should start to notice a pattern and then be constantly aware of that pattern of what you need to correct.


4. Repetitive Practice. 

Now that you are aware of your errors, you need to routinely practice the corrected pronunciation (or correct syntax, vocabulary use, etc.). Practice again and again.
I suggest that you practice out loud at home. Listen to the sounds that you produce, and compare these sounds to native speakers. Ask yourself questions when you pronounce the sounds, such as “How is my mouth moving?” “Where is my tongue?” “Are my vocal chords vibrating?” Notice the physical aspects of pronunciation. 


5. Self-Correction. 

With practice, you can develop the imperative habit of self-correction. Be so aware and in tune with the sounds of English that you can notice and hear your own errors. This ability to self-correct can only come from the above steps of monitoring and awareness. 


6. Write down your questions. 

There are plenty of times when all of us wonder how to express something in another language, but then do nothing with those questions! When you are unsure of how to say or ask something in English, write it down so that you can ask a native speaker, google it or post your question on ElementalEnglish.com.


7. Keep a running vocabulary list. 

Be organized. Write down vocabulary that you want to look up but don’t have time to at that moment. Make a habit of reviewing vocabulary. If you don’t do this, you can easily forget new words before they are locked into your long term memory. 


8. Think in English.

A huge mistake English language learners make is to think in their native language and then translate into English in their heads.
This is a mistake, because English syntax and word order is typically something that cannot be translated from another language.
Also, in order to speak with the correct music, stress and rhythm of English, you need to think with that music.
 


9. Talk to yourself out loud at home.

 Talking to yourself out loud will help you in the process of thinking in English instead of translating to English from your native language. Get in the habit of speaking freely without the worry of being heard or criticized.
Play with the sounds and write down the ideas you want to express, but don’t know how to. It’s those questions that you should ask a native speaker or post on ElementalEnglish.com. 


10. Train your Ears. 

Listen to a lot of English in the form of podcasts, television shows, movies and radio. You can always listen to the free Elemental English podcast on iTunes, but also listen to a variety of native speakers’ voices and accents to hear how the the music of English stays consistent.
Train your ears like a musician does! 
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Remember, your goal never needs to be to sound like a perfect, American speaker. In fact, Americans make mistakes in their speech all the time and speak with a variety of accents.


Improving your pronunciation is always about giving you the freedom and power to speak with confidence and to be understood when you communicate in English.
 





Don’t forget to subscribe to the Elemental English podcast on iTunes.

And if this lesson was helpful to you, feel free to share it with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter

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23 comments

  1. Thank you very much for your very good advice! I have learn English since this spring but sometimes I felt uneasy about my way of learning English. Now, however, Im very happy to have my English teacher, the Elemental English ! Thanks again ! :)

  2. learnning pronounsation is seems ease but it is imposible. I will try to improve whith your help. !thank you!

    • Elemental English

      I know improving your pronunciation seems impossible, but I don’t believe that it is!

      After you become aware of your errors and how English is spoken, then you can start monitoring yourself and correcting yourself. Develop the muscles in your mouth and teach your tongue how to move in this new way.

      Think of it as working out (exercising/lifting weights) at the gym — you wouldn’t expect your body to change and your muscles to get bigger after just a little bit, right? You would need consistent workouts, with variation, stretching, improving your diet, and lots of patience. Improving your pronunciation is just like this — possible with patience and a lot of activity in a variety of areas!

      Good luck, and I’m so happy that I can help you!

  3. I really need to know ho wrote this because i have to make a citation for this web page. Can anyone help ? please

  4. Hello, I m native Arabic speaker and French educated, I m average in English but my problem is in pronunciation ! 10 steps that you list it are really helpful especially the one about practicing loudly, I would like to know if you have any extra tips for the influence of French accent on my English pronunciation, I still can’t pronunce the vowels in English clearly.

  5. Thank you very much
    I realy need to talk to ather people to improve my english but i dont
    Do you any website were i can find people like me
    Thank you agine.

    • Elemental English

      You’re welcome, Eman!
      To find other people like you, you can Google “language exchange” to find others who would like to practice English together. I can’t recommend any particular web site but there are plenty out there where you can exchange your first language for English. Good luck!

  6. santosh shrestha

    Thanks …its so difficult to improve pronounciation..well i have tried some of the techniques mentioned above but i have got problem while speaking..my pronounciation :my grammer automatically runs out of mind while i try to speak …maybe its because i get a kinda uneasy and nervousness while communicating..got any advice for it???

  7. Thanks for this sites its really helpful

  8. Thanks for your advice. Actually, my English is very very poor. I want to improve my English more and more but the more I try, the less I got it. One of my friends told me that I had learned poor English by myself.What should I do?

    • Elemental English

      First of all, Emily, your English is not poor, because you wrote a perfect comment without any mistakes, and that’s very RARE from what I see! So, if I were to judge your English based on your writing, it’s excellent. :)

      Some questions:
      -What does your friend mean when she says that you made your English poor by yourself?
      -Are you concerned about your speaking and pronunciation skills when you say your English is “poor”?
      -What is your first language?

  9. Hi,
    Your website is awesome. I really appreciate it.
    I’ve been learning grammar for a long time and I think I am not bad at that. Now I want to focus on improving my pronunciation. I want someone native speaker to listen to me so that I know what my mistakes are.

    Can you help me with this?

  10. I am not good in english and at same not bad too, i felt my problem is forming a sentence with correct grammar tense and this lack makes me shivering while communication and also causes my pronounciation.

    I can see you have lot of followers since you are helping them and please advise how to increase my level.

  11. hello ! my name is mustofa getahun .i am from Ethiopia.i am currently working as a language instructor opening my own private language center named ” miracle school of American English.i am good teacher hope but not that much good expert.i want to be fluent and i want to give a qualified training to all my language students .as well as i want to have a bloody American accent and want to speak a speedy American English .i want to also publish a new English language book book with Amharic subtitle entitled miracle mastering American English by teacher mustofa .i really need your help .if you have any question or help please welcome to contact me freely and i am very positive to contact you with a great pleasure.

  12. Chester Mark Andallo

    Very wonderful source of information, I may not be good as my classmates before but this topic enhanced my skill specially in pronunciations. Thanks A lot.!!

  13. It’s very difficult for an Indian to get through the accent spoken in other foreign countries. How can I develop such a skill to get through them? Any ideas will be useful. Thank you.

  14. you are in reality a excellent webmaster. The site loading velocity is amazing.
    It sort of feels that you are doing any unique trick.
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