How can I improve my pronunciation?

Improving one's pronunciation is, by necessity, a very important element of language learning. When learning a foreign language, one of the greatest difficulties is reproducing the specific sounds and tones. But that is also true for languages ​​that are far from German Learning the correct pronunciation absolutely feasible. It's all a matter of approach. Below are our tips on how to go about it, as well as golden rules to improve your pronunciation.

Last update: September 5th, 2020

Improving pronunciation: Let's get rid of a few clichés to begin with

  1. The pronunciation doesn't have to be perfect. Your goal should be to get the sounds right back so that others can understand you. Relax and do not put yourself under too much pressure, especially not at the beginning, and you will see: you will make progress step by step! You can also have good pronunciation but still keep your accent. Why should you bother to hide your accent? You can reproduce the sounds of a language correctly, even if you keep the intonation and idiosyncrasies of your mother tongue. Nobody asks you to speak English with a British accent like Hugh Grant. It is important that you are understood well.
  2. The German accent is no obstacle to being understood. Our accent actually never hampers the understanding of the other person, on the contrary: it often arouses the interest of our interlocutors, who find it sympathetic and charming. The German accent is no longer as negative as it used to be. But of course there are limits - if it's too strong, you really won't be understood.
  3. It is not possible to have a perfect pronunciation from the start. It takes a little time and patience to study: but you will find that you will also make progress with your pronunciation.
  4. Nobody is completely untalented for foreign languages. Don't try to convince yourself that you have no talent for languages: it is wrong to think that you will never speak a foreign language just because you have some pronunciation problems. It's true: we are all different and some people find it easier to reproduce certain sounds that differ from our mother tongue. But with a little effort, we can all do it.

 

Golden rules for getting a good pronunciation

Now, let's turn to the Golden Rules to help you improve your pronunciation. I have had the opportunity to implement this advice and I can testify to its great effectiveness.

  1. Expose yourself a lot and often to the language you want to learn. Regularly hear people speaking in their native language. Take advantage of the many opportunities the Internet has to offer you by listening to podcasts and the radio, watching TV on the Internet or simply watching videos on YouTube, DailyMotion and the other video networks such as the great dotsub.com, which specializes in videos with subtitles, look at. For example, make a habit of listening to the language you want to learn for 5 to 10 minutes a day. Without your really noticing it, you will gradually improve (through this passive and intense listening, children learn their mother tongue).
  2. Actively concentrate on the pronunciation of the sounds that do not exist in German. In every language you will find sounds similar to German - some are very easy to reproduce, others a little more difficult. Memorize the most difficult sounds and practice playing them back. For example: in Spanish the rolled "R.", In Italian the"gl" of the word "aglio” (= Garlic), in English the sound "th" out "therefore” (= so). Once you have found these sounds, you can use interactive dictionaries or the great website forvo.com, which offers the pronunciation of the most important languages. Listen to the correct pronunciation and repeat it out loud. (By the way, our mobile app MosaLingua allows native speakers to record every word)
  3. Find analogies. In every language you will find sounds that are also used in German. Use analogies to help yourself and you will see that things get a lot easier. For example, the "C." of "cipolla”Pronounced in Italian like“ tsch ”in“ Tschau ”and the sound“ci" of "gracias” (= Danke) like that "th" in English "think” (= think).
  4. At the beginning, speak slowly and exaggerate the sounds. In the first phase, speak slowly and exaggerate the sounds. In English, for example, B. the “i” in “sheep” (= Sheep) in length to make it clear from "ship” (= Ship). In Italian, on the other hand, you have to change the pronunciation of the open “O” into “verrò” (= I'll come) exaggerate and finally in French the “egg” in “seize” (= seighteen) pronounce as in “cheese”.
  5. Practice briefly but regularly. The secret of success for foreign languages: instead of investing an entire hour every now and then in pronunciation, plan short learning units of a maximum of 15 minutes and, if possible, every day. In a short time you will be making significant progress.
  6. Have fun mimicking the sounds native speakers make. Listen to native speakers pronunciation and imitate their way of speaking by pronouncing words and phrases in the same way. If you enjoy going to the cinema, memorize the sentences of your favorite actors and imitate them. Watch videos and get inspired. Sing along to songs at the same time and try to reproduce the sounds of your favorite artists. While it may be difficult at first, the whole thing is pretty fun and you will progress without even realizing it.
  7. Read aloud. Read articles or books out loud from time to time to get used to hearing your pronunciation. This will help you identify the sounds you have the most difficulty with while practicing the language at the same time. Learn the classic mistakes every person learning a language makes. In French, we Germans have a habit of pronouncing the “H”, but in French the “H” is mostly silent. The “Th” in English also gives us difficulties and we like to turn it into a “Z” or a “D”. In Spanish, we pronounce the “V” as “W”, while the Spanish actually pronounce it as “B”.

Check out our English Pronunciation Guide for the best tips & tricks to improve your English.

And with our MasterClass “Speak English With Confidence” we guarantee that in just 30 days you will be able to speak English more confidently and confidently.

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