Great Tips to Achieve Accuracy in Pronunciation

Accurate pronunciation is one of the most difficult ordeals faced by students in ESL Program, as well as in the real world. We are talking about the terribly awkward sensation of having to make a choice on how to say something in a language foreign to them. Just think, it is even an issue with native speakers of a language; just imagine how ESL students feel. We all know there is nothing worse than trying to talk to someone in a foreign language and looking at the person’s puzzled face across from you probably thinking, “I wonder what she’s trying to say”. At this point frustration is too much to bear. So, the question that plagues many students when coming across a word unknown to them is, how do I pronounce this when I have never heard it before? Here are some great tips that can help:

*Learn phonetic rules, learn to use the dictionary
Like many other things, phonetic rules can be learned. Using a dictionary can certainly help when you want to know the meaning of a new word and it can be equally as practical when you need to know how to pronounce a word. Unfortunately, most ESL students don’t know how to fully take advantage of dictionaries. Dictionaries contain the phonetic pronunciation of words. As you probably know, phonetic symbols are a great help when it comes to learning to pronounce English words correctly. Any time you open a dictionary, you can find the correct pronunciation of words you don’t know by looking at the phonetic pronunciation that follows. Unfortunately, learning the phonetic alphabet is not always the easiest thing to do but, it’s a great way to start.

*Use online dictionaries where you can hear pronunciation
Online dictionaries are a super way to learn proper pronunciation. Most have icons you can click on to hear the words you want to learn how to pronounce. Nothing beats that! Also, going back to phonetics, you can see the phonetic symbol, and then hear the word, which makes it a great way to learn symbols

*Focus on correct, and then go for perfection
Don’t expect to pronounce like a native speaker. If you do achieve this, great! It is just an unrealistic objective when you are learning a second language. Instead, you can acquire proper intonation and stress. English is a stress-timed language and, as such, good pronunciation depends a lot on the ability to accent the correct words and successfully use intonation to make sure you are understood. In other words, spoken English stresses the principal elements in a sentence - content words - and quickly glides over the less important words - function words. Nouns, principal verbs, adjectives and adverbs are all content words. Pronouns, articles, auxiliary verbs, prepositions, conjunctions are function words and are pronounced quickly moving towards the more important words. This quality of quickly gliding over less important words is also known as ‘connected speech’.

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Rachel Clarkson

Everyone is unique, thus, each one of us needs to find the best way to study effectively in order to stand out from the crowd. It is imperative to develop good study habits that will surely help us get the most out of our time and brains, while setting a solid foundation for future learning efforts and to enhance our lives.

Here are some good study tips that will fit your normal college plan or any other learning activity you undertake, like ESL programs, for example:

  1. Establish a place to study. It has to be a place you enjoy; quiet, comfortable, practical, and nice. Make sure it has everything you need, from a space for your books and pens, to your favorite cushion to recline on. Make sure you do not have to waste time and concentration to looking for things outside this area.

  2. Get a good night’s sleep. Sleeping well will enhance your memory, making it easy to understand concepts and think creatively.

  3. Set a schedule. Plan your study time and honor it. Make it into a routine as much as going to the gym or going to class. Make it work along with your other activities so that you do not have to sacrifice anything at some point.

  4. Take regular breaks. While studying, get up every 30 to 40 minutes for around 5 minutes and stretch, get something to eat or drink, or just look out the window. This way you rest but do not lose your focus.

  5. Get a partner. When another person is studying with you, it is easier to concentrate on the topic, and you can also enrich each other with new tips and ideas. Make sure this person is someone you consider superior to you in some aspects and a great student; someone you can look up to and learn from.

  6. Establish clear goals. Define what you will study on a given day and how far you will get. If you can’t make it all the way, rethink the time you need for each subject and adjust your goals.

  7. Exercise regularly. A regular exercise routine will oxygenate your brain, improving your memory and helping you concentrate easily.

  8. Eat and drink healthy. This is a must if you want to keep your organism active and energized. You will not get too far if you’re weak, lacking vitamins and minerals your body requires to work.