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There is one student in the class. He is from South Korea. This student from Korea says that he has a question. He says that he has a big problem with pronunciation. He knows that his pronunciation is not very good but he doesn’t know how to make it better. He doesn’t speak much because he doesn’t like his pronunciation.
He says that he reads and watches films in English a lot. He understands very well but he also wants to speak well. He asks if there is something what he can do with his pronunciation.
The teacher says, “OK, I can tell you something about pronunciation and how to practise it. I also want to teach you a technique which can help you with pronunciation.
First, we have to look at why students have problems with pronunciation. When we speak, we have to move our mouth. We have to use muscles in our mouth. The problem is that when you speak English, sometimes you use your muscles like in your native language.Then your English pronunciation is like pronunciation in your native language.
This happens to many students who learn English. Almost every student has a little different pronunciation than native speakers have. It is not a big problem because usually people understand what you want to say. You are a student and it is logical that your pronunciation is not perfect when you study English.
But you can work on your pronunciation and make it better. There is a great technique that can help you a lot.
The name of this technique is shadowing. The technique is very simple. When you do shadowing, you simply copy the sound which you hear. When children learn their first language, they also copy what they hear. They copy after their parents again and again and after some time their pronunciation is perfect. You can learn English proununciation the same way.
You can take some video which is not very fast and which you understand very well. You listen and you copy what you hear when you hear it. It is all.”
Then our teacher tells us, “Shadowing is also good when you are prepareing for a presentation and you want to have good pronunciation. Before the presentation you can go to some place where you are alone and you can do shadowing for about 10 minutes. You will see how much it will help you to have better pronunciation during the presentation.”
When you want to have good pronunciation, repeat after native speakers.
Monica is a student from Italy. my teacher asks Monica some questions. My teacher knows Monica because Monica visited her class one year ago. It was a class for beginners and it was only for two weeks during summer holiday.
When Monica speaks, her English is beautiful. Her pronunciation is very good and she is very fluent.
My teacher is very happy and she tells Monica, “Your school in Italy must be very good.”
Monica says, “I don’t go to any school. I learn English at home. I use techniques from you. I do a lot of reading, shadowing and thinking aloud. I try to think more in English than in Italian.
This is how I work on my English. The two weeks which I spent last summer at your class helped me a lot. You showed me the way. I know how to work on my English every day. This is why I wanted to go to your class again because one year ago, I was a beginner and now I can speak English. I want to learn from you again.”
My teacher is very happy when she hears these words. She thanks Monica for her hard work.
Our teacher says, “It is a very effective technique. You have to have a strong motivation to learn English if you want to have benefit from this technique.
It is also good to know that for some people this technique is a little crazy. But when you start to think aloud, your English can be better very fast.”
“OK, it is actually very simple. You think in your native language all day every day. It is normal. Now, you can start to think in English. And when you start to think in English, then you can think aloud. You simply say aloud what you think. It is all.”
Then our teacher asks Monica if it is OK for her to speak about her experience with thinking aloud. It is no problem for Monica.
She says, “When I started with this technique, it wasn’t easy. I started with very simple sentences. For example, ‘I can speak English. It is good that I can speak English. I want to be better. I need to practise every day. I don’t know many words. But I can use these words well. I can say my ideas with these words. I can do this. This is great.’
The sentences were really simple. But at the beginning there was one problem. My thinking in Italian was long and complicated. I wasn’t able to say in English exactly what I was saying in Italian. I needed to find a simpler form for English. To think in simple English was the hardest part. But after some time it was normal for me to think in English.
Then something interesting happened. I met a girl from Australia. She was on holiday in Italy. I was still a beginner, but we started to speak English. I could see that I was able to speak with her without big problems. My sentences were simple and short, but I was able to speak. I didn’t translate in my head from Italian to English.
After the meeting with the girl from Australia, I started to use thinking aloud more. This technique helped me a lot with my speaking. I still use it every day. It is really a very effective technique.”
When you want to speak English fluently, think aloud.