How to SOUND Better in English! | Pronunciation Lesson


Now I'm sure you're watching this video because

you want to sound better when you speak English, right?

Well, you're in the right place!

I'm Emma from mmmEnglish and in this lesson today

I'm going to show you how to sound

more like a native English speaker.

You might think that sounding like a native speaker

in a foreign language is

almost impossible. Sometimes it feels like that, right?

You can study grammar and vocabulary,

you can work really, really hard on prepositions and

adjectives and verb tenses.

And after all of that hard work,

it's really, really frustrating when it's your

pronunciation that lets you down, right?

But the ultimate goal of learning another language is

communication, right? To be able to

communicate a message to someone else.

And your pronunciation is the first impression that

another person gets when they hear your English.

Now incredibly, good pronunciation can actually

raise the level of your English. It can bring it up.

Mistakes are easier to overlook or ignore

if you sound good, if the listener can understand

the words that you're saying

and the message still gets across.

But you know what that means, right?

Poor pronunciation can actually

bring the level of your English down because

even if you're speaking perfect English grammar,

your English level seems to be lower because

the listener can't understand what you're saying.

What is the point of perfect grammar then, right?

Improving your pronunciation will help

people to understand you

and make communicating in English

so much easier.

To do it, it is going to take some practise.

Quite a bit of it.

But with some dedication, some helpful tips

and space to practise, I'm confident

that you're going to be able to do it.

You'll improve your pronunciation.

I'll give you the helpful tips and the space to do it but

you have to bring the dedication.

You are the one who has to keep coming back,

completing the challenges that I set for homework

in every lesson, right?

Keep coming back and keep practising. In fact,

prove that you are a dedicated student of mine

and subscribe to the mmmEnglish Channel right now

so at the very least, I know that you'll be back

here to practise with me every week, right?

And if you're already a subscriber,

let me know in the comments and say hi!

I'm here today to give you the tools that you need

to sound better in English

and I've got five tips that I want to share with you.

But before we get into the lesson,

I just want to take a quick moment to thank

the sponsor of today's class,

my amazing friends at Lingoda.

Lingoda is an online language school,

you might have heard of them.

Just like any other regular language school, they have

qualified native teachers and a huge list

of different classes, more than a thousand I think.

And the classes relate to all of the different

English skills that you need to develop:

reading, writing, listening, speaking.

They even have specialties like business English.

But instead of having to travel

and physically attend classes at a time when

the school decides they're going to put on a class,

well with Lingoda, everything happens online

like virtual classes at any time of day or night.

So you decide when it suits you

to study and practise English.

Now there's two things that I love about Lingoda

and why I think you should check them out.

The first one is the size of their group classes.

They're small

so instead of being in a room full of people,

you're going to be getting personal attention

and you're always going to have a chance to practise.

This is super important when you're developing

your English skills but particularly your speaking skills

and your pronunciation,

especially if you want to do it as quickly as possible.

The other reason why I love Lingoda is that they

genuinely care about their students

like at every step along the way.

They're constantly introducing new features

to their platform and thinking about

how to help their students to enjoy the experience

and improve their skills but also do it at an

affordable price which is something that I really like.

I've been taking Spanish classes with Lingoda this year.

I think they also have a German and French classes too

but as soon as I signed up, I got a free private lesson

for an hour with a qualified native Spanish teacher

Mercedes. She was awesome!

She gave me some hints on how to use the platform

and recommended a few different classes

that I should sign up for so it was a great way to start.

So guys, if you're thinking about taking your English

to the next level this year,

then have a look at Lingoda's classes.

They've even offered mmmEnglish students a fifty dollar

or a fifty euro discount when they first purchase.

Just make sure that you use

the link in the description below

and add my name, Emma, as the voucher code

to get the discount at the checkout.

Okay I have to stop talking about Lingoda now.

I've got to get back to the lesson but honestly

I can't recommend them more, go and try them out

and let me know what you think.

All right back to the five tips

to help you sound better when you speak English.

Now tip number one.

Choose your accent.

Which English accent do you want?

Now if you know the answer to this question already,

awesome! Tell me in the comments

what's the accent that you want

but if you don't have an answer to this question

right now, that's okay,

we're going to work on it. Because normally

I would tell you that it doesn't matter

what English accent you use. Usually I'd say

it's more important that you communicate clearly.

Your accent doesn't matter

but if you want to improve your pronunciation as quickly

and as efficiently as possible, at least have an idea

about how you want to sound.

Know what your goal is that you're working towards.

Do you want an American accent or a British one?

Do you want to sound like me? My accent's Australian.

So between those accents,

there's actually quite a few different pronunciation rules.

Some sounds and particularly vowel sounds,

they're actually quite different

when you compare these accents, right?

So it gets a little confusing if you're trying to learn

how to speak clearly.

Some consonants and linking sounds, even

syllable stress can be different between accents.

Now if you're not sure exactly what linking sounds are

or syllable stress

well, don't go anywhere

because I'm going to talk about them a little later

in this lesson.

Now it really doesn't matter what accent you choose,

but knowing the accent that you're working towards

will make things just a little less complicated

while you practise your pronunciation.

To improve how you sound, you need to be able to

hear the difference between

all of these different sounds first, right?

If you can hear the difference,

then you can practise it, right? And you can imitate it.

So I want you to pick an accent.

If you like my accent, that's great!

If you don't, well then you're crazy!

Just kidding!

If you want a different accent to mine,

then you'll need to find someone with the accent

that you want.

Listen carefully to the sounds that they make,

spend some time each week training and practising

your pronunciation with that person.

There are just so many different resources

available to you online

in the accent that you want to practise, right?

Videos, songs, lessons.

Just focus on the sounds that you need to hear

and just to be clear, this tip, this one here, is specifically

for sounding better in English,

for improving your pronunciation.

Listening to a mix of accents is an absolute must.

You can't just listen to one person or one teacher

and then expect to go out in the world

and understand everyone, right?

I hope that's clear.

For pronunciation practice, focus on the accent

that you want to create for yourself

but for all other English skills, make sure you use

a range of different teachers and different accents

and different videos and resources.

All right, let's keep going with the lesson.

Tip number two is vowel sounds.

Now correct vowel pronunciation is

really important in English.

Saying the wrong sound can completely change

the meaning of the word.

Can you pronounce this word?

No that was a trick question.

Actually it's kind of impossible because you

really need to have a vowel sound in there, otherwise

that can't get pronounced.

All right, let's try it now.

So how would you pronounce this word?

Would you say

Or would you say

It's just one tiny little vowel, isn't it?

But the two accents pronounce it slightly differently.

And if you use a different vowel sound altogether,

maybe you make a mistake,

it could come out sounding like 'hat'

or 'hut'

or 'hit'

or 'heart'

or 'hurt'


Vowels are torturous in English pronunciation aren't they

But there's nothing that you can do about it.

Put your frustration to the side, push it over there

and focus on the training that you need to do

to make the right sounds in your speech.

So when you're listening to someone speaking English,

pay close attention, really close attention

to the vowel sounds.

In fact, slow down this video

if you need to focus on some of the sounds

that I'm making.

Did you know that you can do that?

Just click the settings icon below and click the speed

and reduce it.

Then try to imitate or copy me

or whoever you're listening to.

That's one of the best ways to check and improve

your vowel pronunciation.

If you've practised with my imitation lessons before

well, you already know how simple it is to practise

your pronunciation at home.

Improving your vowels is a huge step towards

sounding better in English.

Tip number three. The schwa.

Bless you!

No I wasn't sneezing!

The schwa is the name for the most common

vowel sound in the English language.

That's the schwa!

The schwa is the lazier sound

and it shows up everywhere in English.

It even shows up in words that

don't even have a vowel

and still there's the schwa sound there.

And English speakers tend to get very lazy

when we speak. We reduce our sounds down

and so our sentences fill up with this lazy sound.

Take a look at this sentence.

Now if you look up each of these words in a dictionary

well then you'll see that they should be pronounced

like this:

But you're more likely to hear a native English speaker

say something like:

Now notice how this sentence is suddenly

full of schwa sounds when it's spoken at natural speed.

Like I said, the schwa pops up everywhere.

Now if you've never heard of the schwa before,

if you're not sure what reduced forms are

and other things I've been talking about, don't worry!

This video right here will explain

everything that you need to know about this

important and very common English sound.

Okay so there's two more tips to keep going with, right?

To improve your pronunciation.

Number four. Syllable stress.

Now stress is really important in English.

I'm not talking about

stress that you feel before a big exam

when you can't sleep and you get really nervous.

I'm talking about how some syllables in English

are stronger than others

and that means you pronounce one syllable

more clearly in a louder,

in a stronger way with a higher pitch.

Okay and this can be

quite challenging if your native language

doesn't have any stress. You're not used to it, right?

Some languages have very simple rules about

where and when to stress a syllable, right?

It's so easy in Spanish!

You probably already know that English

is not a flat language, right?

There's rises and falls and rhythm

in the way that we speak

and stress can actually change

the meaning of a sentence.

So how do you know which syllable to stress?

Learning to recognise stress in the phonemic script

is a really good place to start.

So every time you look up a word,

you'll see this stress symbol

before the syllable that's stressed.

And it will signal, it will tell you

which syllable needs to be stronger,

louder and higher in pitch.

Now if you want to learn more about

syllable stress in words,

then check out this lesson right here.

And guess what? Again, imitating native speakers

is a really great way to practise the correct

syllable stress in a word.

And practising the correct accent is important here

because sometimes syllables stress between accents

changes a little. So you really want to make sure

that you are speaking with the accent

that you want to use.

Number five, the last one.

Linking sounds.

Have you ever heard a native English speaker say:

Probably not. That'd be nice because it's

very easy to understand but not realistic.

And if you're trying to sound more fluent

and more natural in English,

then you really should try to avoid

that type of speech as well.

You need to learn how to link words together in English

and there are some simple rules to help you do that.

You just need to learn which words can link together

and which linking sounds are commonly used in English

Let me show you some examples.

Now can you hear how all of those words link together?

That's the linking that I'm talking about.

This is an extra linking sound.

One that we've added to help those words

roll out of our mouths really easily.

My next lesson here on the mmmEnglish channel

will help you with this. I'll take you on an adventure

to learn more about the linking sounds in English.

Just make sure that you're a subscriber

so that you know when that lesson comes out.

Practising linking sounds is actually really simple

once you know the rules.

You can practise just simply by reading out loud.

You can look for the clues

that will help you to link together

and you'll make that a habit. It will become

easier and easier each time you do it.

That's right! You're done! You've got through the five tips

that I have for you today.

Now I just want to review them quickly with you

so that you keep them top of mind when you're

practising your pronunciation and you are

sounding awesome when you're using English.

So say them with me.

Choose your accent.

Practise vowel sounds in particular.

Really understand the schwa and how it's used.

Use syllable stress correctly.

And learn a little more about linking sounds.

You got it! Incorporate those five tips

into your pronunciation practice and I know

you're going to start sounding more natural

when you use English.

Now don't forget that next week's lesson

is going to focus on linking sounds

so make sure you come back and join me next week

same time, same place.

I really hope this lesson was useful for you

and if you have any questions or ideas or suggestions,

pop them in the comments below.

Now let's go practise linking sounds

and natural English pronunciation right here

in my 'Can you say it?' series.

Or we can also practise together in

this imitation lesson right here.

See you in there!