4 easy steps to help you sound like a British person
Have you been studying the English language for years but when you speak with native speakers, they keep asking you to repeat. Are you familiar with Pardon? Can you repeat it, please? Say it again? but cannot understand why people find it difficult to understand you? Maybe the reason is not your grammar or knowledge of vocabulary but it may be a matter of pronunciation. However, once you have found out the problem it’s high time to fix, the next step is to focus on improving and defeating your weakness. So, here’s some advice that may help you to sound more like a British person.
- Learn to listen
As Beyoncè says in her song “You should have listened “. It may sound strange but learning to listen can help you to improve your pronunciation. What I mean is listening to a native speaker talks about general topics can give you tips to modify the sound of the words you generally use in your daily life. Hear the sound, get it and try to repeat it out loud. Do you feel like a toddler? Well, English is not your mother tongue, therefore, your brain needs to practise as well as you did when you learnt your language.
- Pay attention to your tongue.
The main difference between rice and lice is in your tongue. When you speak, you move your tongue to make sounds therefore to improve your English pronunciation, it’s a good idea to check what your tongue is doing.
Some difficult sounds for non-native speakers to make are the letters “L” and “R,” and the sound “TH.” Pronouncing them correctly is all in the tongue!
- To make the “L” sound, your tongue should touch the back of your front teeth and the top of your mouth, just behind your teeth
- To make the “R” sound, your tongue should not touch the top of your mouth. Pull your tongue back to the middle of your mouth, near where it naturally rests if you weren’t saying anything. As you say the sound, your lips should be a little rounded.
- Now for the “TH” sound. This one may seem strange if you don’t have a similar sound in your native language. To make this sound, put your tongue between your top and bottom teeth. Your tongue should stick out a little between your teeth, and as you push air out of your mouth, let some air escape between your tongue and teeth—that’s what makes the sound.
Now try to say rice, lice, thought following that advice knowing where to put your tongue. Can you hear the difference?
If you are still in doubt, the best solution is to ask help to a mate or a teacher who has more knowledge on this subject.
3. Practise using videos, podcasts, songs and British TV series.
The Internet is full of interesting and useful videos and/or podcasts which can help you to listen. Short audios are suitable to practise understanding British accent and repeating them out loud. You can find a lot of videos on YouTube. However, it may sound a bit boring nor enjoyable therefore the next option is watching British TV series and/or listening to British songs.
I recommend “Sherlock” “Down Town Abbey” and “The Crown” to watch and Ed Sheeran’s songs to listen to. What option you choose doesn’t really matter as long as you will practise what you heard!
4. Practise with your friends
As always, “Practice makes perfect!” and there is nothing easier than doing it with a friend. Find someone to practice pronunciation with. You may exercise going out and having fun with friends who are from different countries in order to get used to hearing different accents. Meet up with British buddies to make perfect your accent or you may search for speaking classes in school.
Sounding like a British is not impossible as you saw however practise and hard work is the secret to success!