Writing in a foreign language might not be that difficult, but the most terrifying part of learning a language is actually speaking it. An individual can be fluent in putting words to paper, but knowing the accent of a foreign country may require quite some practise. Thankfully, there are ways in which you can make yourself sound like a native speaker, without putting in too much of your time and effort. This article will serve as a perfect guide for those who want to improve their foreign language pronunciation.
Listen carefully – Before you start to speak a foreign language, you should develop good listening skills. In order to get a good grasp on how to pronounce a language correctly, you need to first learn how it sounds. Listening as much as possible is key to your pronunciation, whether you are picking up a language for the first time, returning to it after a long time or have perfect reading comprehension but low speaking ability. Here are a few of the resources where you can listen to the language of your choice continuously:
- TV shows and movies
- YouTube videos created by native speakers;
- Podcasts on your favourite topics;
- Contemporary music (with the lyrics);
- Musicals and operas;
- Online radio stations.
Learn phonetics – Getting a hook of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) can help you break down every single sound that humans can possibly make, called phonemes. When you first start to learn a language, IPA can help standardise each letter and phoneme to avoid any confusion. It typically breaks down a specific language into characters based on their closest approximation that can enable you to tell exactly how a word sounds, regardless of its spelling. Paying special attention to phonetics is crucial when starting to learn a new language, as it puts emphasis on grammar and spelling.
Repeat yourself – It is essential that you pronounce sounds before you start to speak another language. Repeat phrases of a foreign language when you are alone that can lead to you gaining an understanding of how a sound is pronounced on a physical level. Repeating words and phrases will help you to master the quality of your speech. It is an effective exercise, which can allow you to speak whole sentences perfectly. Next, in order to understand your mistakes, you need to analyse how you speak. Recording your own speech will enable you to correct your mistakes. Through this, you will gain the ability to criticise yourself and minimise your drawbacks at the same time.
Use transcription regularly – Besides learning the theory of a particular language, it is also suggested that you take the help of transcription software. It is like using a language dictionary that further assists you in learning how a word should be pronounced. Furthermore, it will also make it easy for you to understand what certain symbols in a foreign language stand for, in terms of your native alphabets.
If you are learning a language from a completely different language family, then pursuing language courses can help you hone speaking skills of a desired foreign language.