How to pronounce english words correctly? (2022)

Correct pronunciation is tricky since it’s not just a question of knowledge, but it’s a physical skill requiring lots of practice.This article explains how to start pronouncing English words correctly.

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What is the International Phonetic Alphabet?

There is little consistency between the 26 letters of the English alphabet and the sounds we use when saying them out loud. Besides, there are just 5 vowel letters (a, e, i, u, o) and 15 vowel sounds. Furthermore, English alphabet has 21 consonant letters and 24 consonant sounds. So how can you pronounce a word you have never heard of? Guessing is a terrible strategy that leads to a lot of errors and bad habits. What is the way out? To pronounce words correctly, you need to learn to recognize all the sounds in American English and their symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

International Phonetic Alphabet or IPA is the system to transcribe words of any language as they sound using universal phonetic symbols. In the IPA, each symbol is associated with a unique sound. If you learn all the symbols, you will know exactly how to pronounce any word because most English dictionaries use IPA to describe pronunciation of the words. Using the IPA, you’ll be able to improve your pronunciation and feel more confident speaking English. Keep reading to learn how to pronounce IPA symbols.

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How to find the correct pronunciation of vowels?

When it comes to pronunciation, vowels are the hardest part of American English since 5 vowel letters hide behind themself 15 unique sounds.Here are the all the vowel sounds of American English. By following the links, you will find descriptions of pronunciation, additional example words, and practical exercises.

  • /i/ is used in words beet, heat, and sea. How to pronounce sound /i/ right.
  • /ɪ/ can be found in words bit, kit, and fill. How to pronounce sound /ɪ/ correctly.
  • /ɛ/ as found in words set, bed, and ten. How to say sound /ɛ/ correctly.
  • /æ/ as in words bad, cat, and land. How to say sound /æ/ right.
  • /ɑ/ is used in words cot, hot, and god. How to pronounce sound /ɑ/ correctly.
  • /ɔ/ as used in words all, saw, and want. How to pronounce sound /ɔ/ right.
  • /ʊ/ is used in words good, book, and put. How to say sound /ʊ/ right.
  • /u/ as used in words school, too, and cool. How to say sound /u/ correctly.
  • /ʌ/ is used in words cup, one, and but. How to pronounce sound /ʌ/ right.
  • /ə/ can be found in words about, people, and common. How to say sound /ə/ accurately.

The following vowel sounds are diphthongs, meaning that they combine two sounds into one.

  • /ɛɪ/ as used in words bait, make, and way. How to say sound /eɪ/ right.
  • /aɪ/ is used in words bite, five, and time. How to pronounce sound /aɪ/ correctly.
  • /ɔɪ/ can be found in words point, boy, and choice. How to pronounce sound /ɔɪ/ accurately.
  • /aʊ/ as found in words now, mouth, and out. How to pronounce sound /aʊ/ right.
  • /oʊ/ is used in words so, both, and go. How to say sound /oʊ/ right.

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(Video) How to Improve Your English Pronunciation (The First Thing You Must Do)

How to ensure that you pronounce consonants right?

Pronouncing consonant sounds correctly is as important as vowels.Below is a full list of consonants used in American English. By following the links, you will find descriptions of pronunciation, additional example words, and practical exercises.

  • /p/ is used in words pan, pen, and happy. How to pronounce sound /p/ right.
  • /b/ can be found in words bag, ribbon, and bad. How to pronounce sound /b/ correctly.
  • /t/ as found in words today, tea, and still. How to pronounce sound /t/ accurately.
  • /d/ is used in words day, dog, and add. How to say sound /d/ right.
  • /k/ is used in words kite, cat, and queen. How to say sound /k/ right.
  • /g/ can be found in words got, guest, and egg. How to pronounce sound /g/ accurately.
  • /tʃ/ is used in words chicken, much, and teacher. How to pronounce sound /tʃ/ right.
  • /dʒ/ is used words jacket, age, and major. How to say sound /dʒ/ correctly.
  • /f/ as found in words fall, life, and often. How to pronounce sound /f/ accurately.
  • /v/ is used in words voice, give, and ever. How to pronounce sound /v/ right.
  • /θ/ is used in words three, death, and nothing. How to say sound /θ/ right.
  • /ð/ can be found in words this, smooth, and mother. How to say sound /ð/ accurately.
  • /s/ is used in words sun, also, and so. How to pronounce sound /s/ right.
  • /z/ is used in words zoo, does, and music. How to pronounce sound /z/ accurately.
  • /ʃ/ can be found in words shoe, fish, and social. How to pronounce sound /ʃ/ correcty.
  • /ʒ/ is used in words genre, vision, and garage. How to say sound /ʒ/ right.
  • /h/ is used in words he, how, and perhaps. How to pronounce sound /h/ right.
  • /m/ can be found in words milk, man, and summer. How to pronounce sound /m/ accurately.
  • /n/ as found in words nine, know, and penny. How to say sound /n/ accurately.
  • /ŋ/ is used in words thing, think, and sing. How to say sound /ŋ/ right.
  • /l/ can be found in words lip, last, and fell. How to say sound /l/ correctly.
  • /ɹ/ is used in words red, wrist, and rat. How to pronounce sound /ɹ/ right.
  • /j/ can be found in words yes, million, and yet. How to pronounce sound /j/ correctly.

Despite /w/ is technically an approximant sound rather than a consonant, it’s still often grouped with consonants.

  • /w/ is found in words wine, wet, and why. How to pronounce sound /w/ right.

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Simple and useful strategies to master pronunciation

Now that you know how to pronounce all American English sounds correctly, it’s time to train your pronunciation skills.Here are some tips on how you can effectively master your American accent.

Listen as much as possible

Get your ear used to the way native speakers sound. Watch TV shows, movies, find free videos on YouTube, and listen to songs and podcasts.Focus on the sounds that don’t exist in your native language and learn to distinguish them.Besides, you should pay attention to difficult words and focus on the rhythm, breaks, and intonation.

Read out loud

Find interesting English texts and practice reading them aloud. When not sure how to pronounce a specific word, always consult a phonetic dictionary.English has many pronunciation exceptions. Pay attention to how you pronunce sounds, put syllable stress in words, and make sentence-level intonation.

Record yourself

The best way to achieve success in any challenge is to keep track of your improvements.Recording yourself is very important since it will give you an objective way to evaluate your accent.Once you are comfortable analyzing your recordings, try asking native speakers to comment on them.You can be surprised by the differences in what they will say what is important compared to what you would have thought.

If you’re curious how the recording of your voice impacts your assessment of your accent, take a look atAccent Hero's accent test for American English.

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(Video) Learn English Pronunciation | Vowel Sounds | 23 Lessons

How your native language makes it harder for you to pronounce English words right?

When we learn a second language, our pronunciation is influenced by our mother tongue. The closer your native languageis to the language you are learning, the better you’ll be able to speak the target language. For example, English learners whose native languageis Spanish or French face fewer difficulties when learning English than those whose native language is Japanese or Chinese.Nevertheless, every non-native speaker has his or her own issues with English pronunciation.

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Which pronunciation mistakes Russian speakers make?

Russian speakers face many of the same obstacles to the correct English pronunciation that learners from other countries do but theyalso have their own share of pronunciation difficulties.

  • Russian speakers tend to pronounce dark l sound even darker than native English speakers. Besides, they pronounce dark l in all positions, even where light l should be pronounced.
  • Russian speakers often substitute /w/ which doesn’t exist in their native language with /v/.
  • They often pronounce “th” as s and z sounds because there are no /θ/ and /ð/ in Russian.
  • They often replace /h/ with its closest Russian equivalent /x/.
  • Russians typically say /n/ or /ng/ instead of /ŋ/ which doesn’t exist in the Russian language.
  • Russians find it challenging to pronounce various vowels and diphthongs, particularly, they struggle to pronounce /æ/ and often use /ɛ/ instead.

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How Chinese speakers tend to pronounce words not right?

Chinese speakers usually face a number of pronunciation errors because many English sounds don’t exist in Chinese and are new to them.Here are some of the most common problems that cause miscomprehension:

  • Consonant clusters don’t exist in Chinese and Chinese speakers find it challenging to pronounce a group of consonants especially if it contains “r” or “l” sounds. They often add vowel sounds between consonants or substitute consonants that are easier for them to pronounce.
  • In Chinese, words and syllables never end with consonants except with /n/ and /ŋ/. Chinese speakers often add an extra schwa sound after a consonant or omit the final consonant.
  • In Chinese, there is no word stress. That’s why most Chinese speakers have problems with vowel reduction and schwa sound.
  • English sounds /r/ and /v/ don’t exist in Chinese. Chinese speakers often replace /r/ with /l/ and /w/. Sound /v/ is typically replaced with /b/ or /w/.
  • Chinese learners often confuse /l/ and /n/ sounds.

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How do Spanish speakers say it wrong?

English and Spanish have a lot of differences in terms of phonetics and one of the most important of them is that there are 5 vowel sounds inSpanish and 15 vowel sounds in American English:

(Video) 10 English Words You're (probably) Mispronouncing! | Difficult Pronunciation | Common Mistakes

  • Spanish doesn’t have a distinction between short and long vowels so Spanish speakers often confuse pairs of short and long vowels like /i/ and /ɪ/, /u:/ and /ʊ/.
  • They often substitute the schwa sound /ə/ for another vowel sound, pronouncing the English letters as in Spanish.
  • In Spanish, words never start with consonant clusters such as /sl-, sm-, st-, sn-, sk-, sp-/ so Spanish speakers commonly insert a schwa sound before words that begin with /s/+ another consonant.
  • Spanish learners often voice and devoice consonants. They may have difficulties with z pronunciation in a combination /z/+ vowel and s pronunciation in /s/+ consonant.

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Which inaccurcies in pronunciation Japanese speakers make?

Japanese speakers can have a difficult time with English pronunciation due to the significant differences between English and their native language.The most common pronunciation problems for Japanese speakers are:

  • They confuse l sound and r sound because /r/ doesn’t exist in Japanese.
  • They insert vowel sounds in consonant clusters.
  • They add vowel sounds at the end of English words.
  • They often replace /θ/ and /ð/ which don’t exist in Japanese with /s/ and /d/.

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How to improve your pronunciation?

Despite the challenges that non-native speakers face, there are solutions that can help. One can hire an accent coach or take a pronunciation course. Sure, that takes time, but when your goal is to be fully accepted into a society, it is totally worth it.

If you consider taking a pronunciation course, we suggest to check out Accent Hero’s online accent courses, which are provided completely free of charge.

Try out Accent Hero

(Video) English Alphabet PRONUNCIATION | Pronounce each letter correctly!!!!

FAQs

How do you pronounce all English words? ›

Dictionary. Both macmillan and cambridge use ipa symbols that is the international phonetic alphabet

How do you pronounce the word accurately? ›

What can you do to ensure that you are improving your diction? There are a few simple things to try to speak more clearly.
  1. Slow your rate of speech.
  2. Put endings on words.
  3. Lengthen the vowels of stressed words.
  4. Over-articulate or exaggerate your words.
21 Oct 2019

Why can't I pronounce words correctly? ›

Usually, a nerve or brain disorder has made it difficult to control the tongue, lips, larynx, or vocal cords, which make speech. Dysarthria, which is difficulty pronouncing words, is sometimes confused with aphasia, which is difficulty producing language.

How do I read English? ›

Reading in English| How to READ in English - 3 STEPS - YouTube

Which English accent is best? ›

British accent has been rated as the most attractive English accent in the world, according to a new survey by the CEOWORLD magazine. The results were revealed in a global study, which questioned 96,398 people across 32 countries worldwide to list “most attractive English accents” other than their own.

How do you increase oral fluency? ›

Each of these principles will now be discussed, along with illustrative sample classroom activities.
  1. Repeat, repeat, repeat. ...
  2. Increase the amount of speaking time. ...
  3. Allow time to prepare before speaking. ...
  4. Use familiar and motivating topics. ...
  5. Ensure appropriate language level. ...
  6. Set time limits. ...
  7. Teach formulaic sequences.

How can Indians improve their English accent? ›

How to Change Your Indian Accent
  1. SOS - Speak Slowly, Open Your Mouth and Say Each Sound and Syllable. SOS is Change Your Accent's number one tip for accent reduction because of its huge impact on speech. ...
  2. Improve English Pronunciation. ...
  3. Figure Out Intonation and Syllable Stress. ...
  4. Avoid Using Fillers.
4 Oct 2016

What are the top 10 hardest words to pronounce? ›

20 Most Difficult Words to Pronounce in the English Language
  • Colonel.
  • Worcestershire.
  • Mischievous.
  • Draught.
  • Quinoa.
  • Onomatopoeia.
  • Scissors.
  • Anemone.
10 Apr 2019

How do you teach students to pronounce? ›

Word Stress Patterns - Help students improve their pronunciation by focusing on short sentences using standard word stress patterns. Introduce Stress and Intonation - One of the best ways to help students is to focus their attention on the music of English through the use of stress and intonation.

How do the British say water? ›

How to Pronounce "Water" in British English and American English

Why do I mess up my words when I talk? ›

When stress responses are active, we can experience a wide range of abnormal actions, such as mixing up our words when speaking. Many anxious and overly stressed people experience mixing up their words when speaking. Because this is just another symptom of anxiety and/or stress, it needn't be a need for concern.

Why do I mix up my words? ›

Aphasia is a communication disorder due to brain damage in one or more areas of the brain that control language. It can interfere with your verbal communication (getting words mixed up when speaking), written communication, or both. Aphasia can cause problems with your ability to: read.

Why do we forget words while talking? ›

It is not necessarily a sign of something serious*, but more of an occasional brain glitch. Scientists have found that some things make TOTs more common – such as caffeine, fatigue, and strong emotions – and that words learned later in life are more likely to be forgotten.

How can I learn English fluently in 10 days? ›

How to learn English fluently in 10 days!
  1. Here is how you can Learn English Fluently in 10 Days! ...
  2. #1: Read English Newspapers Loudly. ...
  3. #2: Think and Express in English as much as you Can. ...
  4. #3: Listen to English Radio. ...
  5. #4: Watch English Shows. ...
  6. #5: Write and Rewrite whatever you Learn. ...
  7. #6: Learn new words and their synonyms.
28 Sept 2021

How can I read English faster? ›

  1. Tip #1: Learn common academic vocabulary. The more words you know, the swifter you'll be able to get through texts. ...
  2. Tip #2: Read out loud… at first. OK, this tip may sound a little strange. ...
  3. Tip #3: Practice active reading. ...
  4. Tip # 4: Skim your texts. ...
  5. Tip # 5: Scan your texts.
10 Nov 2016

How can I improve my English communication in 30 days? ›

Make Small Talk Count
  1. Learn the dos and don'ts of small talk in business meeting and other situations.
  2. Practice and learn useful phrases and conversation starters for small talk.
  3. Practice starting a conversation and using it to your advantage.
  4. Get feedback on your small talk abiltites and how to improve them!

Who speaks the clearest English? ›

The Netherlands has emerged as the nation with the highest English language proficiency, according to the EF English Proficiency Index, with a score of 72.

What is the easiest accent? ›

Option 1: the American accent

The most popular English accent of them all. Spread around the world by American cinema, music, television and more than 350 million North Americans (including Canadians, eh), this is the easiest accent for most people to understand, whether native speakers or non-native speakers.

Which country speaks purest English? ›

Fourteen countries were placed in the “very high” category: The Netherlands (No.
...
Revealed: The World's Best Non-Native English Speaking Countries, 2019.
Rank1
CountryNetherlands
Score70.27
ProficiencyVery high
99 more columns
5 Nov 2019

How can I improve my reading fluency at home? ›

Any child who struggles with reading fluency can improve with practice, attention, and consistent feedback.
...
5 easy ways parents/guardians can increase their child's reading...
  1. Model fluent reading. ...
  2. Stopwatch readings. ...
  3. Choral read aloud sessions. ...
  4. Marked reading. ...
  5. Re-read favorite books.
14 Oct 2015

What is the 10 longest word in English? ›

10 Longest Words in the English Language
  • Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters) ...
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (36 letters) ...
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (34 letters) ...
  • Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (30 letters) ...
  • Floccinaucinihilipilification (29 letters)
28 Jun 2019

What is world's hardest word? ›

7 most difficult English words that will let you forget what you wanted to say
  • Rural. ...
  • Sixth. ...
  • Sesquipedalian. ...
  • Phenomenon. ...
  • Onomatopoeia. ...
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. ...
  • Worcestershire.

Is there a word with all 26 letters? ›

What word has all 26 letters in it - YouTube

How can I learn English speaking at home? ›

13 Tips - How To Learn & Practice English At Home Alone ... - YouTube

Is Indian accent similar to British? ›

Indian accents are indeed influenced by British English, but that is not the end of the story. Indian Accented English has its own unique patterns that set it apart from British English.

How can I speak like Indian? ›

How to Do an Indian Accent | Accent Training - YouTube

What are 20 hard words to spell? ›

What are the Top 20 Hardest Words to Spell?
  • Nauseous. “Nauseous” is a hard word to spell because of the number of vowels in the word and the pronunciation. ...
  • Dilate. “Dilate” might be easy to spell for some, but its pronunciation makes it more challenging. ...
  • Indict. ...
  • Liquefy. ...
  • Wednesday. ...
  • Sherbet​ ...
  • Bologna. ...
  • Ingenious.

What is the longest word in English? ›

14 of the Longest Words in English
  1. 1 Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (forty-five letters): ...
  2. 2 Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (thirty letters): ...
  3. 3 Floccinaucinihilipilification (twenty-nine letters): ...
  4. 4 Antidisestablishmentarianism (twenty-eight letters):

Why is it important to pronounce the words correctly? ›

By using the correct sounds when you speak, others can quickly understand what you're trying to say. If you are great at grammar and know many different words, good pronunciation will help others hear and understand you even more clearly.

How do you get Google to pronounce? ›

How to use Google Search to pronounce a word - YouTube

How do you pronounce the English alphabet? ›

How to Pronounce the Alphabet in British English - YouTube

How do the British say water? ›

How to Pronounce "Water" in British English and American English

What is a good pronunciation? ›

Good pronunciation is more than just mastering individual sounds. It's also understanding intonation (the rise and fall of the voice) and stress (some sounds in words and some words in sentences are louder or clearer than others). Read poems, speeches and songs aloud, concentrating on the word stress and intonation.

How do you teach students to pronounce? ›

Word Stress Patterns - Help students improve their pronunciation by focusing on short sentences using standard word stress patterns. Introduce Stress and Intonation - One of the best ways to help students is to focus their attention on the music of English through the use of stress and intonation.

What are the main types of pronunciation? ›

Essential Pronunciation Features

Sounds Consonants & Vowels 2. Speech chunks Chunking & Pausing 3. Stress Word stress & Sentence stress 4. Intonation Pitch level & Direction 5.

Is there a pronunciation app? ›

The English Pronunciation app helps you learn, practice and play with American pronunciation of words wherever you are. English Pronunciation app teaches you how to pronounce English text properly.

How can I say dog? ›

How to pronounce DOG American English Pronunciation Lesson

How do u say a in French? ›

Pronunciation of A À Â in French | Lesson 19 - YouTube

What is the A to Z alphabet? ›

The English Alphabet consists of 26 letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.

What is the 27th letter in the alphabet? ›

Ampersand
Alphabetical position(27)
History
Development𐌄𐌕 E T et &
Time periodc. 100 CE to present
14 more rows

What letter is K in the alphabet? ›

k, eleventh letter of the alphabet.

How do British people say banana? ›

British vs American English - Bananas! - YouTube

What is the most common English accent? ›

Option 1: the American accent

The most popular English accent of them all. Spread around the world by American cinema, music, television and more than 350 million North Americans (including Canadians, eh), this is the easiest accent for most people to understand, whether native speakers or non-native speakers.

How do you pronounce GIF? ›

It's pronounced JIF, not GIF.” Just like the peanut butter. “The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,” Wilhite told The New York Times. “They are wrong. It is a soft 'G,' pronounced 'jif.

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