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The Roadmap

The Road Map To Clearer Pronunciation


Introduction


Forget about accent reduction.   The first goal is not to reduce any accent, the first goal is to communicate.    If you can't form the work correctly, it is impossible to speak clearly and to improve your intonation of words and intonation of sentence.   

It is true that native speaker uses a lot of intonation in sentences.  However, we all have to understand that without a solid basic individual sound forming, you will not able to make it to that level at all.    It is just a big fat dream.

It is not a problem to "THINK BIG", but please start small.   Think big, start small and never stop.  

(You may know that learning English in particular can suffer from New Year resolution syndrome.   Most of the time it is because of Think big, start big, and give up once find out in reality that it is too difficult or find no immediate improvement.)

It is more like an exercise where consistency is the name of the game.


Identifying weakness

  • Good news is you have already pronounced a lot of words and sounds correctly, improve only sounds (consonants, vowels, and diphthongs) that you haven't got them right.
    • Talk to your English teacher (preferably a native one) from your English class.   Ask if he could help listen to your reading of the most basic sound lists published here on this website.    
      • Get a checklist, tick sound that you have already pronounced correctly, highlight the sound that your teacher suspects you may not pronounce correctly, distinctly or clearly.
        • Ask him for a specific word or words that he think he doesn't understand when you say it or he thinks you can improve on pronunciation. 
        • Later on, we will focus only on those words to analyze what exactly is problematic
          • Vowels in the word?
          • Initial consonant in the word?
          • Ending consonant in the word?
          • Syllabic division?
          • Stress position?
          • etc.
      • To single out improvable sound, you can start reading to him from any of these lists
        • Initial consonant sound
          • The bare list of "single" initial consonant sounds (apply to all vowels and diphthongs)
          • The bare list of blending "double" initial consonant sounds (apply to all vowels and diphthongs)
          • The bare list of blending "triple" initial consonant sounds (apply to all vowels and diphthongs)
        • Ending consonant sound
          • The bare list of "single" ending consonant sounds (apply to all vowels and diphthongs)
          • The bare list of blending "double" ending consonant sounds (apply to all vowels and diphthongs)
          • The bare list of blending "triple" ending consonant sounds (apply to all vowels and diphthongs)
        • Vowels
          • The bare list of vowel sounds (apply to all initial consonant sounds - single, double and triple)
          • The bare list of vowel sounds (apply to all initial consonant sounds - single, double and triple as well as ending consonant sounds)

Sound Correction

  • At his point, you know what sound you want to improve, it can be consonant, vowel or diphthong. 
  • Find out what is the tongue and mouth position as well as how to form and pronounce that individual sound correctly
  • Practice from the wordlist of that sounds
    • Initial position, medial position, and ending position for consonants
    • Single, double, and triple blend consonants
    • Word that contain syllable with vowel/diphthongs in question
  • Understand syllables and stress syllables (i.e. problem is "pro blem" not "prob blem"
  • Practice from those lists often to build up muscles that are needed to form the sound correctly.  
  • You can exaggerate both the stress and the sound to ensure that you can pronounce with high level of distinction

Ongoing notice of weakness


  • If you speak a word, and your native friend (or teacher) have to ask you to repeat it, write it down.   Then go back to sound correction stage.

See also:

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