This course aims to help students develop natural English pronunciation using accelerated learning techniques and visual aids.
Understanding how your brain functions and how new experiences establish neural links is an essential part to improvement. Once these neural pathways have been formed they must be cultivated and strengthened.
It all starts with the International Phonetic Alphabet. The English alphabet is not a phonetic script and therefore not an accurate guide for pronunciation. However, the international phonetic alphabet helps us distinguish and identify the different phonemes that exist in the English language. While the English alphabet only has 5 vowels, in fact, more than 20 vowel sounds exist. These 20 vowels sounds can be divided into monophthongs, diphthongs and long vowel sounds.
Tune your ears. The human brain requires constant practice and reinforcement to adapt to something new. Comparing similar but different sounds within the context of various situations helps the brain establish and reinforce the neural pathways to become better adept at being able to identify the small details that often non-native speakers miss.
For example, the short vowel /ʌ/ and the schwa sound /ə/ can sound very similar, but they are in fact different. Initially, students may perceive both sounds to be almost identical. However, constant reinforcement by comparing these two sounds in the context of different syllables and vocabulary will help the brain become accustomed to the subtle differences.
Reinforcement in the real world. A pronunciation course and structure can only provide students with the essential tools, knowledge and groundwork. The knowledge gained within the classroom must then be applied in the real world.
- Listen to natural spoken English as much as possible.
- Observe the facial movements and breathing of native English speakers.
- Try and compare yourself and adapt. Remember, practice makes perfect.
Immerse yourself in the natural sounds of British English as much as possible. Audiobooks are an excellent resource that can help you achieve this, since narrators tend to speak clearly and at a steady pace. Audible has a vast library of audiobooks on a range of subjects narrated by different people. For example, if you wish to tune your ears to the natural sounds of Received Pronunciation, start with one of the many books narrated by Stephen Fry. See link below.
International phonetic alphabet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet
Online self-study course: https://receivedpronunciation.thinkific.com/collections