sexta-feira, 30 de novembro de 2012
For a collection of great Christmas stories, click on the following links:
How to Improve Your English Pronunciation
by Melanie on July 12, 2012
1) Practice for at least 30 minutes every dayThere is no way around it: the only way your pronunciation will improve is if you practice, practice, practice! Your pronunciation will not magically improve just because you’re speaking English. The sounds of English may be very different from the sounds in your language. It may be difficult and even uncomfortable for your mouth to make some of the sounds in English.
You need to practice with a purpose. Practice the sounds of English until they feel as natural and comfortable as the sounds of your language. It won’t happen overnight, but gradually your pronunciation will improve.
2) Decide what kind of accent you would like to speak withThere are many different kinds of English accents. The two most common are British and American. There are many different accents even within British or American pronunciation, but most learning materials will help you learn either a standard British accent or a standard American accent.
American pronunciation and British pronunciation are completely different. The consonant sounds are the same (except for the letter ‘t’ and an ‘r’ after a vowel), but the vowel sounds are very different. The British accent has more vowel sounds, and some vowel letters are pronounced differently.
3) Learn the IPA and the individual sounds of EnglishThe International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a collection of symbols that represent the different sounds of a language. When you know the all the sounds of English and the symbols that represent those sounds, you will be able to pronounce any word in English.
The Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary Pronunciation Guide
Antimoon IPA chart
BBC Learning English
Interactive IPA Chart
4) When you learn a new word, learn how to pronounce it correctlyThe longer you say a word incorrectly, the harder it becomes to learn to say it correctly. You’ve developed a bad habit, and it takes a long time to break a bad habit! This is why it is so important to learn the IPA and use dictionaries specifically for English learners.
For example, let’s say you see a new word when you’re reading a book: permeate. How do you pronounce this word? Let’s check two of the online dictionaries specifically for English learners:
MW Learner’s Dictionary
Both of these dictionaries show you the IPA/phonetic transcription of the word (including which syllable you must stress): /ˈpɚmiˌeɪt/
You can also click on the red or blue speaker icon to hear someone say the word.
5) Watch YouTube pronunciation videosAmerican accent:
Lisa Mojsin @ Accurage English
Pronuncian/Seattle Learning Academy
The Phone Voice
6) Try to imitate spoken EnglishTo ‘imitate’ means to copy someone/something, to do something the same way, or to do the same things as someone else. Do you really like the way someone speaks English? Try to copy the way they speak.
This is a great activity to try: Close your eyes while you’re listening to something in English (podcasts, songs, TV shows, movies, etc.). Listen carefully to what the speaker is saying and try to make the same sounds. Choose a word or sentence, and listen to it many times.
Here are some resources that are useful for this:
English Teacher Melanie podcast
Coach Shane’s Daily Dictation
Try to imitate the sounds that native speakers make.
7) Practice HEARING the sounds of EnglishBefore you listen to an English podcast, song, etc. read the words first. Highlight, circle, or underline the sound you want to work on. For example, if you have trouble with the /I/ sound, highlight all the words that you think have the /I/ sound. Read the passage out loud to yourself, focusing on the words with /I/. Listen to the podcast (or song, etc.). Can you hear the /I/ sound? Practice the sound by trying to imitate what the speaker is saying.
8) Record yourselfIt’s important to hear what you sound like speaking English so you know what you need to improve! You can compare what you sound like to what you want to sound like. For example, you record yourself reading a sentence from one of my podcasts. Then, listen to me say the same sentence and compare your pronunciation.
If you don’t have any recording software on your computer (like Windows Sound Recorder or GarageBand on Macs), you can use a web-based audio recorder:
You may also be able to find a cheap digital voice recorder at your local electronics store.
9) Pronunciation BooksHere are the two books that I use to understand and teach American pronunciation. Check your local library for these books. If you attend a private language school, ask if it has these books. If you live in a large city, look for these books at an English bookstore. Buy these books online.
Mastering the American Accent – Lisa Mojsin
|This is quite possibly the greatest book on American pronunciation for both teachers and advanced learners! It does not go through each and every sound (like the book below does). It focuses on the things that will help a non-native speaker speak with a standard American accent (like the kind you hear on CNN!): difficult consonant sounds, linking, syllable and word stress, intonation, and the difference between casual and formal speech. At the back of the book there is a ‘native language guide’ that explains what different nationalities (Chinese, Spanish, Russian, etc.) need to focus on. The book also includes 4 CDs so that the learner can listen to someone speaking almost every exercise.|
English Pronunciation Made Simple – Paulette Dale and Lillian Poms
|This book explains each individual sound in standard American English, as well as all the other elements of spoken English: rhythm, stress, intonation, consonant clusters, plurals, contractions, past tense verbs, etc. This is a great book for teachers to use as a classroom textbook as there are a lot of exercises teachers will find useful in the classroom. It is better for teachers than for students, as the 2 included CDs don’t say all the words and exercises. This book also helps to learn the IPA as it uses the IPA symbols to help explain American English pronunciation.|
10) Have your pronunciation professionally evaluatedWhen your pronunciation is evaluated by a teacher, he/she can tell you exactly what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. He/She can tell you exactly what sounds you need to work on to sound more like a native speaker.
Use the search terms “English pronunciation assessment” or “English pronunciation evaluation” to find teachers online.
A proficiency test measures a learner's level of language. It can be compared with an achievement test, which evaluates a learner's understanding of specific material, a diagnostic test, which identify areas to work on, and a prognostic test, which tries to predict a learner's ability to complete a course or take an exam. Proficiency tests are uncommon within the classroom but very frequent as the end aim (and motivation) of language learning.
IELTS and TOEFL are examples of proficiency tests.
To do some sample tests, click on the links below:
Holiday Brunch Casserole
- 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
- 1 pound bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained
- 1/2 pound bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 cup reduced-fat biscuit/baking mix
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups 2% milk
- In a large bowl, combine the hash browns, sausage, bacon, green pepper, 1 cup cheese and onion. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
- In another bowl, whisk the biscuit mix, salt, eggs and milk; pour over the top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 30-35 minutes or a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.