One of the most frustrating things about learning English is that the spelling and pronunciation are not consistent. In other words: we don’t know how a word sounds by looking at the spelling. In fact, it’s not unusual for native speakers to pronounce a word incorrectly because they’ve only seen the word written down and never heard it said aloud.
Fortunately, there are a lot of tools to help with learning how to pronounce words. Many online dictionaries have recordings so you can hear the word out loud. For example, you can look up the word “comfortable”, a difficult word for learners, in wiktionary, in Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, or in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and each has recordings of how this word sounds.
Another useful tool which someone recently shared with me is the youglish website. This is a fun and useful website which allows you to search for a word and gives you examples of people using that word in youtube videos. It even allows you to choose between US English, UK English and Australian English pronunciation. This is great because you can click through multiple examples of people using this word, compare the word in different accents, and, importantly, hear the word being used in context instead of by itself. I encourage you to click through to this website and try it out for yourself!
But don’t forget: the best method for improving your pronunciation is to have lessons with a qualified English teacher!
What other resources have you used to improve your pronunciation? What problems are you still having? What advice do you have for other learners? Leave a comment or send me a message and let me know!
“Yes, English can be weird. It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.” David Burge