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How to get good at pronunciation

One of the most effective pronunciation learning methods is via listening to audio files of the basic sounds of your target language using five hundred or so most commonly used words. 

This way, you will be able to hear and repeat examples of most common sounds while reinforcing your knowledge of basic vocabulary. 

All of this is readily available through robust online courses, such as ours, or any alternative found floating around the internet.

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There also exist texts using basic vocabulary where each sentence is an individual audio file that you can repeat or download for repetitive listening. 

Using this kind of material your pronunciation activity should consist of four steps to train yourself to pronounce correctly:

First, LISTEN repeatedly to material within your basic range of comprehension, concentrating on pronunciation. Listen carefully to the intonation. Try to become conscious of the rhythm and breathing pattern. 

Try to identify separate words and phrases. With repetition, this gradually becomes easier. The language sounds strange at first but will become more familiar with repetitive listening.

Second, REPEAT individual words and phrases out loud, both during and after listening. You will remember certain phrases. Try to say them over and over again to yourself while doing other tasks. You will have trouble with certain sounds. 

Work especially hard to master them. Then practice repeating phrases and sentences with the proper emphasis and intonation.

Third, READ sentences and paragraphs out loud, first very slowly and then more quickly, and always in a loud voice. Imagine you are a native speaker. 

Exaggerate – pretend you are an actor. Have fun with it! You should alternate between reading unfamiliar material, and reading something that you have written and had corrected.

Fourth, RECORD your own pronunciation and compare it to a native speaker. This will train you to hear the differences in pronunciation between yourself and a native speaker. 

You have to hear it to be able to pronounce it! Recording your own pronunciation also serves as a record of your progress as your pronunciation improves.

The sounds, the intonation and even the writing system of your native language can influence your pronunciation of the second language. You have to force yourself to train the muscles of your mouth to make the new sounds accurately. 

You may have to breathe differently to pronounce the new language correctly. Work at imitating the new rhythm. The more you are able to establish freedom from the influence of your native language, including the influence on pronunciation, the better you will learn the second language.

Learn to be your own toughest pronunciation critic when you are working on it alone, and then forget about it and be relaxed when speaking to others. People are unlikely to comment on your pronunciation, as long as you are easily understood.

Remember that perfection is not the goal, just comfortable communication.

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