Friday, April 25, 2008

5 ways to improve your intelligability in English

This short list of ways to improve your spoken English intelligibility can be implemented right now. Every time you speak English is a new opportunity to practice speaking with your American accent!

1. Don't speak slowly. No I don't mean rush through all you need to say, what I mean is don' ......a.....time. you will drive the listener to distraction. What you want to to chunk your words......into thought groups.....pausing between of words. This will give your speech more flow and allows your listeners to keep up with you. Pause longer if you feel that your pronunciation is very difficult to understand.

2. Do not leave off word endings. Even if this slows down your rate or interrupts your flow. Americans are very into time lines. We need to know when things happened and those word ending tell us exactly that. Inflectional endings are packed with linguistic information!

3. Move your mouth more. There is a tendency when you feel unsure of your pronunciation to mumble or "swallow" your words. Move your mouth, notice how Americans open their mouths wide when they say certain vowel sounds, and stick their tongues out of their mouth for th. Don't be afraid to try to be clear. If what your doing doesn't feel any different then you are not doing anything any differently!

4. Make fun of American speech patterns. What I mean here, is speak in your native language as if you were imitating an American. The intonation and stress pattern is most likely pretty close to that of an American. So go ahead put on your best American accent, you are probably correct.

5. Use what you know. No matter how much or how little information you have on English pronunciation it is time to put it into use. The trick is that you cannot think about every word you are going to say while trying to focus on a conversation. At first try incorporating it in rote sentences such as "how are you?" or "one coffee, milk and sugar please".

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