If you are currently working towards improving your English pronunciation clarity (or if you’d like to start), you’ll know that it’s such a specific and interesting process, but in other ways, it is quite similar to many other personal growth endeavours that you’ve embarked upon in your lifetime.
When we decide to learn something new we often start with little to no idea about the topic. We learn a few key things that make us feel like we know all the secrets! Eureka! But unfortunately we don’t stop there…
We keep diving deeper and deeper (as we should!), and suddenly our increasing awareness leads us to take that infamous step into… knowing that there is so much we don’t know…while also knowing that we don’t know how much we don’t know. Is your head spinning yet?
Times like these call for none other than a revamp to keep morale and motivation high, and to keep us stepping closer and closer to those goals that we have our hearts set on. If your English pronunciation needs a revamp, take a look at these 11 ways that you can do exactly that.
🕵🏻♀️ 11 Ways to Completely Revamp Your English Pronunciation
ESTABLISH YOUR PRONUNCIATION BASELINE, AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.
At Voice Science, we’re not into the new-year’s-resolution style of goal setting, unless, of course, it turns into something tangible. Imagine that we’ve decided that we want to increase our fitness. That goal in itself will vary drastically from person to person, and, let’s be honest, it means a whole lot of nothing until we work out what our current fitness level is, what specific elements of fitness we want to improve, what kinds of exercise we have access to, and more!
Improving your pronunciation clarity (and we mean really improving it, not just mentioning it on January 1st), requires thorough data analysis and a translation of what that data means for you and your pronunciation needs specifically. This is where we come in.
The whole point of a baseline is that we grow away from it. When that happens, you have two choices: continue to grow or plateau. If you chose option number one, new baseline data is your winning ticket.
If you’ve worked with our team already and want to set yourself an updated set of goals relative to your new level, doing a fresh Personalised Pronunciation Audit (PPA) yearly is the best way to establish your current progress points and identify where you next need strategies. An additional session or silver program with the Voice Science team at a distance from your initial time with us can be the perfect way to take all the hard work you’ve put in so far and push your pronunciation even further!
FIND AND FRAME THE MOTIVATION BEHIND YOUR PRONUNCIATION GOALS
Setting and achieving goals is all about having a growth mindset. Identify what motivates your ambition in this particular direction and make sure you listen to the kind of language you use with yourself. The emotional impact of not being understood or feeling that your pronunciation stands in the way of your identity or career is valid and a true challenge. Give these emotions the respect they deserve and then frame them as positive growth-based goals like:
“I will enhance my clarity to promote greater comprehension in my communication with my colleagues”
“I will learn to produce sounds clearly to increase my confidence when expressing my ideas in English.”
Once you have identified why pronunciation clarity is important to you specifically, be sure to share your motivation with our team so we can provide strategies and advocacy best suited to the context and purpose of your goal.
We won’t deny it, there is something inherently frustrating about not being able to instantly pronounce something exactly how we want to. Let’s have a think about why that might be the case.
We started from the top now we’re… here.
We are EXPERT communicators in our native languages, and learning a new language doesn’t change this fact at all, but it does mean that we’re suddenly applying our expertise to unfamiliar techniques.
Imagine if an Olympic swimmer decided to switch to elite-level tennis. They would perhaps have the advantage of their athleticism, but they would need to adopt an entirely new set of motoric physical skills, and let’s be honest, if they compared it with their experience at the Olympics, they’d probably feel quite frustrated to only be at community-level competition!
EXPRESS YOUR IDENTITY THROUGH YOUR PRONUNCIATION
Our identity is tied up in our communication in more ways than we can even imagine. Have a think about which elements of your pronunciation are important to expressing your authentic self. For example:
- Would you prefer to have more precise pronunciation at work but then relaxed speech sounds at home?
- Would you prefer to adopt the regional accent of where you’re living or do you prefer an accent system you have studied?
- Would you prefer that people don’t ask about your origin when they hear you speak or do you like that your speech reflects your heritage?
Our clinicians can help you explore all of these concepts with all the empathy they have gained from their own multilingual lived experiences.
Anyone who has constant, unwavering motivation when working towards a goal is living the dream as far as we’re concerned! The truth of any kind of training is that there will always be days (even weeks or months!) in which motivation runs dry, and that is precisely when our good friend discipline needs to take over. If you find that you’re not making progress towards your pronunciation goals, give yourself a really honest evaluation of how consistent and disciplined your practice has been recently. But no harsh self-talk please! Discipline is born from realistic goals; speak to your Voice Science clinician for help establishing a practice routine.
REMEMBER: Improving your English pronunciation clarity is a challenging process that takes time and dedicated practice. Be kind to yourself as you're working towards your goals!
ESTABLISH WHICH PRONUNCIATION CUES WORK BEST FOR YOU
As you work with the Voice Science team, our speech pathologists will give you all the pieces of the puzzle in terms of pronouncing your target sounds. You might find that some occur quite naturally in your mouth and others are make-or-break! Our clinicians can help you choose specific to you personally what you should pay the most attention to when you’re setting up your speech sounds. This is also a useful way to troubleshoot any sounds you’ve been working on for a while!
Generally speaking, we usually aren’t very aware of the precise movements occurring in our mouths as we are producing sounds. What we say is the voluntary part of the process, and then the brain takes things from there and coordinates. For us to play a voluntary part in what our muscles are doing, we need to address the skill as exactly that: muscular.
Look no further than research in the field to see that explicit instruction of the placement and motor movements of the articulators (lips, tongue etc) promotes the best outcomes amongst adults integrating foreign accents. Step into our virtual office at Voice Science through a Personalised Pronunciation Audit to be guided through the process!
rememberClear pronunciation is a wonderful goal, but a fairly vague one until we assess our current situation and implement concrete steps to move forward!
MAKE IT FUN AND ENGAGING
Aside from some very impressive parrots, learning to pronounce English speech is exclusively human, so we can’t ignore human nature in the process! We are drawn to things that we enjoy, things that are motivating and engaging. Be sure to find fun ways to practise, here are some we prepared earlier!
PERSONALIZE YOUR PRONUNCIATION PATHWAY
We’re so lucky at Voice Science to have such wonderful clients that we honestly feel quite sad saying goodbye to them at the end of their pronunciation programs. We make a point of reminding clients that we’re always here if they ever need anything in future, and the response is quite often a sigh of relief! Our silver, gold, and platinum programs give structure but aren’t designed to set any kind of limit, so always feel free to decide for yourself what aligns with your goals if you’d ever like to re-engage with the team!
JUST LIKE WITH MELBOURNE’S WEATHER, LAYERS ARE IMPORTANT
Have you ever noticed that sometimes even perfectly pronounced speech sounds still leave something to be desired? Congratulations, this means that you are accessing elite level pronunciation awareness! At Voice Science we guide you through layers starting with consonants and vowels, moving up through rhythm and stress, linking and flow, and intonation and resonance. (If you’re interested in the “and beyond” layer, see details about the C-suite below!)
Take some time to reflect on which of the layers mentioned above are currently standing in the way of your English pronunciation goals. If it’s hard to be sure, give yourself some credit: pronunciation and accent is multifaceted and complex, but sometimes hypothesising, or simply identifying that there is something acting as a pronunciation challenge is the best initial step. Why? Because through identification, we can start to outline solutions.
A Personalised Pronunciation Audit (PPA) conducted by one of our speech pathologists is the optimal way for you to get an idea of which layer most needs your attention at present. That being said, additional PPAs down the track might be a great personal progress goal and a way to unlock higher layers as you level up!
ESTABLISH A SUPPORT NETWORK, OR DON’T
Communication is something that is inherently shared between people, but in the early stages of pronunciation work, the process will probably feel extremely independent, and so it should! However, as we progress through target sounds, there will obviously come a time that we’ll want to start using them in conversation with the people around us. Should we tell them? The choice is individual and completely up to you, but should be made with a few important factors in mind.
Comfort and confidence
We’re all different, so we need to consider what will make us personally feel most comfortable and confident. For example, telling our family and friends that they might notice us really focusing on our speech during our conversation might make us feel less self-conscious, or maybe we’d prefer to just go for it with no extra attention. If you do decide to mention it to others, we recommend that you point out that you won’t be needing feedback from them.
NO ADVICE PLEASE!
We highly recommend that you don’t ask the people around you for pronunciation advice, and here’s why.
If you ask a native English speaker how to pronounce the word “button”, they’ll probably pronounce it with an unmistakable /t/ in the middle:
- “button” /bʌtən/
But then later on they ask you to push a “bu’on” and you’re wondering where that /t/ from earlier disappeared to!
These are two completely acceptable variations in English, but this example highlights that simply being a native speaker does not give us any scientific or linguistic awareness of the specific phonetic processes that are occurring when we speak. Bring questions to the trained professionals at Voice Science! It’s our bread and butter/bu’er!
REMEMBER: It is better to give yourself feedback using self-evaluation techniques from your Voice Science clinicians rather than asking for feedback from people around you.
So there you have it, 11 strategies to push your English pronunciation closer to your personal and professional clarity goals. Whether for the first time or as a next step, the time to revamp your pronunciation is now!
If working on pronunciation has made you see the many dimensions of communication and left you hungry for more communication guidance, you might like to take another learning safari into the wide open plains of professional career-based communication.
Compelling communication is not a fluke.
What about your career based communication?
Getting the influence you can only dream of counts on you drilling down, planning and refining your interpersonal skills.
If you want to learn to communicate with clarity and charisma and transform your career and leadership potential, join the C-Suite waitlist. This program is for anyone who decides their core speaking goals are not all about pronunciation but more about their delivery and social intelligence skills!
If you want to refine your pronunciation however still after reading this post, click here to enrol in our best selling audit- the first step to clarifying your pronunciation.
Your Personalised Pronunciation Audit from Cadenza™Find Out Exactly How to Progress Your English Speaking Strategically
There’s no second guessing if you have a Personalised Pronunciation Audit because we will diagnose and prescribe exactly what your English speaking needs at the moment to move forward.
Your Personalised Pronunciation Audit leads you by the hand.
We will identify which one of the 5 Bottlenecks to Pronunciation Clarity you need to overcome now.
It’s simple, clear and clean. It’s fun & engaging.
You can do it right here & right now.