How to Improve Your English Pronunciation

If English is not your first language, fine tuning your accent and pronunciation can be tricky business. Our mouths develop the muscle memory from our native languages, so it can help to practice your English pronunciation just like you would for a sport. Building the muscles in your mouth that make sounds can help you speak more naturally. Let’s start with the basic building blocks of most words: the Consonants!

 Improve your pronunciation of the Consonants

 

Watch the Consonants video closely, paying special attention to Kelly’s mouth as she says the letter sounds and words. Then, try saying the sounds yourself. Record yourself saying the sound, and listen to it. How close are you to the proper English pronunciation?

 

english pronunciation

Below is a breakdown of the sounds, and some words to practice.

 

letter sound example words advanced practice words Description
b /b/ ball

baby

best

brand

bilateral

balance

/b/ is a short sound that pops. Both lips come together to make this sound.
c /k/ (/s/) cat

cow

can

commerce

contingency

collaborate

/k/ is a short sound that pops.The tongue moves toward the top of the mouth to make this sound.

The letter c can also make the /s/ sound, like in city or cycle.

d /d/ dog

down

dance

department

demographic

discretionary

/d/ is a short sound that pops. The tongue moves toward the top of the mouth behind the teeth to make this sound.
f /f/ fan

face

fabric

fiscal

fluctuate

franchise

/f/ is a sound made by pushing air through the front of the mouth. The bottom lip comes together with the top teeth.
g /g/ girl

game

grape

global

gradual

guaranteed

/g/ is a short sound that pops.The back of the tongue moves toward the back of the mouth to make this sound.
h /h/ hat

hand

happy

hedging

harmony

holistic

/h/ is a sound made by pushing air through the front of your mouth. Air passes through the mouth to make this sound. The tongue, lips and teeth do nothing.
j /j/ jam

juice

joke

/j/ is a short sound made by the tongue touching the top of the mouth behind the teeth and releasing air slowly. The tongue touches the top of the mouth toward the back to make this sound.
k /k/ kite

kiss

kitchen

kiosk

kernel

kickoff

/k/ is a short sound that pops. The tongue moves toward the top of the mouth to make this sound.
l /l/ leaf

laugh

ladder

literal

leverage

licensing

/l/ is a sound that can be sustained. The tongue moves toward the top of the mouth behind the teeth to make this sound.
m /m/ man

monkey

magic

mobility

maintenance

miscellaneous

/m/ is a sound made by air going through the nose. Both lips come together to make this sound
n /n/ nut

no

name

nitch

neutrality

necessary

/n/ is a sound made by air going through the nose.The tongue moves toward the top of the mouth behind the teeth to make this sound.
p /p/ pig

park

paint

prioritization

probable

paradigm

/p/ is a short sound that pops. Both lips come together to make this sound.
q /qw/ queen

question

quick

quarterly

quantitative

quorum

The letter q does not make it’s own sound. When combined with the letter u it makes the /kw/ sound.
r /r/ ring

rain

race

retirement

revenue

reciprocal

/r/ is a sound that can be sustained. The tongue touches the top of the mouth toward the back to make this sound.
s /s/ sun

sad

sail

statistical

simultaneous

substitution

/s/ is a sound made by pushing air through the front of your mouth. The tongue moves toward the top of the mouth behind the teeth to make this sound.
t /t/ tiger

tail

tear

testimonial

tacit

tangible

/t/ is a short sound that pops.The tongue moves toward the top of the mouth behind the teeth to make this sound.
v /v/ van

video

village

vacuum

venture

volatile

/v/ is a sound made by pushing air through the front of your mouth. The lip and teeth come together to make this sound.
w /w/ web

water

warm

withholding

waiver

warranty

/w/ is a sound that can be sustained. Both lips come together to make this sound.
x /ks/ fox

box

six

crux

affix

hoax

The letter x does not make its own sound. It usually comes at the end of a word and makes the /ks/ sound).
y /y/ yoyo

yellow

yawn

yield

yearning

yards

/y / is a sound that can be sustained. The tongue moves toward the top of the mouth to make this sound.
z /z/ zebra

zoo

zero

zoning

zeal

zinger

/z / is a sound made by pushing air through the front of your mouth. The tongue moves toward the top of the mouth behind the teeth to make this sound.

Have you practiced all the sounds? Great! Now try applying what you’ve learned in real life. Practice speaking with a friend or use your English out in the world. Do you need more help? Practicing real English conversations with our Lingoloop expert tutors online is going to improve your skills and boost your confidence quickly. Sign up for a free trial class today!

 

 

 

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