12 Oct Tips for learning English: 18 – Your Accent
Many students have problems related to their accent when they speak or learn English. This usually happens because the vowel sounds in English are so different to the sounds in their native language. I want to remind you that even in the UK, there are so many different accents and if you do come to study English in the UK, you will come across many different accents. My first piece of advice is, LOVE YOUR ACCENT. Embrace your accent. Feel comfortable with your accent. If you can communicate your ideas and other people understand you, then everything is just fine. Of course, your accent will depend on where you are from, so sometimes an accent can be so strong that people might not understand what you are saying. This is particularly important in business or exam settings too.
It is okay if you want to reduce your accent. Here are some tips to help you reduce your accent:
- Find a teacher. Yes, of course this isn’t always viable, but they can help you work on your accent through repetition, imitation and correction.
- Listen to YouTube or watch TV programmes, especially interview shows, such as The Graham Norton Show. This is very useful for imitating, particularly with local accents. You can watch or listen and then repeat and there are so many British or North American shows you can find for free online.
- Record your voice. I’ll write another post about this but this helps to compare what you are saying with what a native person is saying. You could listen to a TV programme, repeat a sentence that you hear and listen back to it to see where the differences are.
- Use an online dictionary. They always have the phonetic spelling and an example you can listen to, although not all of them sound very real so be careful!
- Focus on intonation, rhythm and speed of what you are saying. Sometimes, just lowering your intonation when you approach a comma or the end of a sentence sounds more natural. Again, a teacher can help with this a lot or watching a lot of TV!
- Read aloud to yourself. You can read more about this in this blog post – click here.
Below are some books you can browse. They are all to help you with your accent!
Most of all, I want to remind you to LOVE YOUR ACCENT AND YOURSELF!