Hi, it’s Hadar, and you’re watching the Accent’s Way, your way to finding clarity, confidence, and freedom in English. And today we’re going to talk about a few things you can do starting from this exact moment that will help you get more comfortable with how English feels in your mouth, help the words be more accessible, so you won’t have to search one hour for one word, and of course, improve your clarity. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.
Speak as much as possible. Now, yeah, I know it may seem like an obvious and trivial advice, probably is. But if you live in a non-English speaking country, you already know that finding situations to practice your English are a little bit harder to find. So, basically, you need to artificially set up situations for conversation. And here are a few examples on how you can do it.
Find a friend who’s also interested in practicing his or her English and meet up with them for coffee in English once a week. Practice English at home with your spouses, your parents, your children. Speak English for an entire hour without switching back to your native tongue, even though you get stuck or you need to say something really quickly, all right.
The act of searching for the words, hearing your voice out loud and even getting stuck, you know, those moments are the most interesting and productive moments. It may be frustrating, but then when you search for the word you make it more accessible. All right? And then in a more important situation, when you have to use this word, it’s already going to be available.
Another thing you can do is try conversationexchange.com. That’s where you can find native speakers who are interested in practicing your native tongue, and then you just have a conversation both in English and your native tongue. So try it.
And the last thing I want to recommend is to speak to yourself. The good thing about speaking is that you don’t have to have anyone around you. So speak out your thoughts, list things that you need to do, simulate conversations. Anything works as long as you keep English not only in your head.
Read out loud. Reading is great, but it’s still passive if you’re looking to improve your speech. Reading aloud will enable you to detect the difficult sounds where you get stuck and what words you’re not sure on how to pronounce.
Also, it’s a really great muscle practice. Read aloud for 5 to 10 minutes every day. Doesn’t matter what: it can be an article, a book, an email. If you come across an interesting word, put it down in your word list. If you’re looking to improve your pronunciation, then focus on one sound and make sure that you use it throughout the text.
“Since we started in 1985, that wisdom has helped to guide us”.
Practice tongue-twisters. For example, “There was a minimum of cinnamon in the aluminum pan”. Think of it as taking your tongue to the gym. I love this practice because it combines your brain, your eyes, and your tongue muscles. Below this video, you’ll find the list of my favorite tongue twisters and a link to many more.
Pick three to five tongue twisters every day and practice them a few times. Start slowly and make sure that you pronounce all sounds, and all the transitions are smooth. And then see if you can start saying them a little quicker. And only stop when you’re saying all of them smoothly and quickly. You’ll see that when you deal with difficult transitions in practice, you’re a lot more equipped to deal with difficult transitions in your daily speech.
<Practicing the “sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” tongue twister>
Imitation exercises. Now, I wouldn’t say it about anything else in life, but when it comes to practicing your speech, imitation really, really helps. Pick a movie scene that you like, an interview, a talk. I personally love using TED talks or NPR news items. Listen to the audio or video for a line or two, pause it, and repeat. Try to detect the sounds.
If you have the script with you, you can also mark the important sounds, stressed words, or just difficult transitions. I find it super useful. It doesn’t matter if you get everything right. It’s all about getting in the fluency and the flow of the, of whatever you’re working with.
<Practicing a scene from “A Few Good Men” movie>
And let me tell you a little secret. When I walk behind native speakers and I hear them speak out loud, I always imitate them. Out loud! I’m just repeating whatever they’re saying, I’m kinda like echoing what they’re saying. I find it super useful and a lot of fun. And I haven’t been caught yet. Yet.
The last tip for today has to do with your actual practice. All the tips and pronunciation practices you got here today should become a part of your daily routine. Do it on your way to work, in the car, when you walk your dog, or in the shower, you know what, especially in the shower. Don’t count on freeing up 30 minutes every day just to do your English practice.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s great. But from my experience, it’s going to last exactly four days. Because there’s always something more important to do, and then it becomes a burden and too much. So no, do it on the go. 10 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon when you’re doing something else. It’s effective, and you’re probably going to find it a lot more fun.
Do you have something that works really well for you that helps you improve your English and your clarity, something you find super effective? If you do, please share it with us below this video. And I might just add it to the next pronunciation tips video.
All right. Now turn off your computer and start talking to yourself. But before that, if you like this video, please share it with your friends. I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.