Transcript: English Consonants Tutorial

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Welcome back to the Voice Science Channel. I’m so delighted that you are here.

Before you start working on improving your English Consonants there is some important information you need to know. This tutorial will prepare you to accomplish unlevelled success for your pronunciation. You will learn my top 4 tips about how to learn English consonant sounds so that you don’t waste your time, going around and around in circles stressing over your pronunciation.


TIP 1.

Know What English Consonant Sounds Are In Your First Language
If you plan to get remarkable results on your English consonants, it pays to check what consonant sounds in your first language are an equal match. This will give you confidence and also save you a lot of time. The last thing you need to do, is practise the sounds you already make correctly, right?    In my clinic at Voice Science, I meet clients on a daily basis who are worried about pronouncing their English consonants perfectly. In fact, it is normal for me to hear them say:

“Aw Sarah, it is all wrong. I really don‘t get anything right.”

 But when I do a full audit of their pronunciation, I usually find up to 60% of consonant sounds in error. Never 100%. Why is this? This is because we all speak our languages with the same speech machine! We all have a tongue, teeth, lips, voice, palate, nasal cavities etc., which means that all languages will have common consonants.  


Know What English Consonant Sounds You Produce Incorrectly
There are loads of people freaking out about their English speaking but not acting proactively to set a process in place to progress and improve it!  Don’t panic! That’s never helpful, no matter what you are trying to achieve. 

For example, let’s imagine I want to bake a black forest chocolate cake for my husband’s birthday. I keep thinking about how great it will be to surprise him and impress him with my beautiful creation. I imagine how wonderfully delicious the cake will look and how he will say, “Bella, this is the best cake I have ever tasted!” But then at night, when I go to sleep I worry about how i can get the cake right. How will I even manage to do the trimmings and make the mixture perfect so it’s fluffy and delicious? In the end I get so obsessed and stressed about my ability to make the perfect cake, that I don’t even check a recipe or know what ingredients I need, and then it is too late. By the time his birthday arrives I have to settle for a store bought cake.

  You would never use this attitude to make a cake, right? So I challenge you to not let yourself use this attitude to make your pronunciation better. It’s logical, right?   How can you get even closer to improving your English speaking if you don’t even know what you are doing incorrectly and you don’t even know what you need? Pronouncing English consonants is very concrete. Your either right or wrong. The problem is, when we learn our second language as adults, we don’t have the cognitive skill to work out what we are pronouncing incorrectly. This is where a personalised pronunciation audit is needed so that you can work systematically on correcting errors. You need the feedback and training from an expert in pronunciation before you can move forward, just like you need the best recipe to make a great cake.    There is no point panicking about how to improve your pronunciation if you have no idea what is incorrect and what you need to learn. That’s like studying for a maths test without knowing the numbers or baking a cake with no idea about the ingredients.    Ok, so you really want to perfectly pronounce English consonant sounds? I get that. There’s nothing wrong with aiming for a perfect score. But when it comes to improving your pronunciation, the best mindset to have is for “progress, not perfection” and a detailed blueprint or recipe for success.


The Laws of Physics Can Help You Understand Consonant Sounds Better
Before you freak out that I am getting all scientific and nerdy on you, hear me out! English consonants are sounds. It is so easy to focus on the sound of the sound, but did you know there are more concrete ways to learn about pronunciation than “what does it sound like?” Sound is defined by the laws of physics and consonant sounds are no exception. Our team will show you how the English consonant sounds vary in properties and you don’t need to be an astrophysicist to understand this! We do this through the use of:

✪ The International Phonetic Alphabet

✪ Spectrograms

✪ Cues and instructions around the air pressure, duration and mechanical adjustments in the mouth that you need to make to pronounce the sound correctly

Where possible we will also give you tips and tricks on how to get physical and visual feedback that you made a sound correctly. This might be through the use of a tissue (to measure air pressure), mirror work, straw work, air pressure contact against your hand, voice therapy techniques and tactile hand cues.


The First English Consonant Sounds You Work On Should Be Those That Impact The Most On Your Grammar
This is very important. Some English consonant sounds matter more than others. I hate to break it to you but if you don’t produce vital English sounds accurately enough,  your pronunciation is going to make your listener wonder about your grammar. Native speakers hear grammar errors a bit like someone scraping their nails down a blackboard. This is no matter the language. It kind of makes our ears burn because grammar is still king. Our team will audit you thoroughly to ensure that the core sounds of English you need to express English structure and grammar are stable.  You might work on correcting consonant sounds that are essential for

✪ Frequent phrases

✪ Tense

✪ Plural forms

✪ Prefixes and suffixes

✪ Core verbs and nouns in sessions with our team.

  Your English consonants must reflect your language skill accurately. The worst thing is, if a speaker is held back by their consonant accuracy, when they have brilliant written skill. Your mouth has to reflect equally your abilities on the page and we will help you bridge any gaps there.

Is English Pronunciation Confusing To You?

Sadly the beauty of English pronunciation is that it can feel like one big phonetic mystery… And it is, it really is. This is the true nature of the English language. There simply is not one hard and fast set of spelling rules to count on to decipher how to say all the things.

What Do We Know About English Pronunciation & Accent Reduction Training at Voice Science?

 Our team are qualified speech pathologists. We are educated in how children & adults learn pronunciation (yes, it’s different). Over the past six years we have worked closely with clients from all over the world. Our caseload has covered over 30 different languages. We have provided speaking training to people from all sorts of professions at different stages in their career path. Our sessions can be structured to first year university students through to company directors. Over 6 years I have developed a powerful and methodical approach to audit your speaking pronunciation and in so doing identify your core bottlenecks that are holding you back from speaking English beautifully. The bonus is, you can get started today, no matter where you live as this audit is done online.  I really want to share this audit with you, wherever you are as I believe geography and location should never be a barrier to you perfecting your English consonants and pronunciation in general!  And I want to share that with you. No matter where you are. So that you know where you stand and have a gameplan to progress.

Head to this link to enrol now in Your Personalised Pronunciation Audit where you can learn exactly what consonants you are saying correctly and which ones need some extra focus so you can drive your English pronunciation forward.

I will identify for you the main bottleneck you face that is stopping your speaking from improving and recommend the ways we can partner with you to solve it. Click the link below to enrol today! I Can’t wait to meet you, help you and support you!

I hope you enjoyed this video- if you found it helpful, don’t forget to give it a like & subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can also stay more up to date on our socials over on FB and instagram. 

Is there someone you know who also needs to see this video? Share away and make their day! Not only will you help them but you will hold yourself accountable to improving your own English speaking. Because I am here trying to advocate for the importance of communication confidence and comfort and as I always say, “communication is like string theory, it’s the foundation of everything” so go get them. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you next time!