Ways to Improve Your English Accent 提高英语语音的一些方法

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请一位英美国家老师帮助你的英语语音

虽然根据录音和录像来学英语语音可以算是一个好方法,但是如果能够请到英美国家,那些第一语言就是英语的老师来帮助你的英语语音的话,那就更好了。如果你有一位这样的朋友, 当你一遇到语音方面的问题时候,你就可以请求他的帮忙。把你容易发错音的字列出来,然后请你的朋友一个字一个词地读给你听。

 

交第一语言是英语的人为朋友

很显然,如果你没有说英语的外国朋友,上面所说的也白搭。所以结交第一语言是英语的朋友就是一个重要因素了。设想一下,如果你整天都与说中文的人打交道,怎么能有机会学到你想要学的英文语音呢? 走出你熟悉的圈子,找机会与第一语言是英语的人们交个好朋友。这样的话,即使你在马路上行走的时候,也就有可能有机会练习正确的英语语音了。

 

说,说,说,不停地说!

如果你不对着镜子校正口型,不把你自己的发音用录音机录下来仔细听,你就很难有较大的进步。你必须把你自己沉浸在那些第一语言是英语的人中间,否则你是很难体会到正确的英语语音。教课书只是在语句的结构上提供一些帮助,这与日常生活中千变万化的语言是无可比拟的。在你开始学英语的时候就不要怕与老外用英语交流。要知道,犯错误是学习过程中所必然会出现的现象 ;失败是成功之母。

 

看电视

使你尽快地去掉你中国口音的一个最好的办法就是让你尽量出现在英语媒体面前。把你的电视开到美国或者其他英语国家的情景喜剧、电影频道,然而最理想的却是新闻节目。注意讲员说话的节奏和语调,细致观察他们讲话时嘴唇的动作。重复他们所说的话,模仿他们的发音。 虽然这是小孩学讲话的方法,但是这个方法对成年人也有同样的效果;虽然慢一点,但是有好的效果。

 

把你的进步录下来

学习语言常常是在不知不觉中进行的,因此就不容易知道到底有没有进步。使用一个录音机把你自己的声音录下来,以此来评定进步的情况:在训练一开始的时候,找书中间的一段大声地朗读一下;几个月以后,再来读同样的那一段。把这两个录音进行对比,看看有什么不一样的地方,记录你在哪个方面有了进步,那些方面还要继续努力。你也可以要求一位第一语言是英语的人也读同样的一段,然后把他读的与你自己的录音进行比较,看有什么不同的地方。

 

降低语速,提高发音质量

除掉你的中国口音的另一个方法就是降低语速,清楚地说出每一个音节。当你说得顺口了,常常容易忽略了对发音正确性的要求。从而养成了发音的坏习惯,老是发错音,自己还不觉得。比如把“th”发成了“d”的音。说慢了,自己就能听出问题,于是就有可能纠正你的口音。

  

比较英文的发音和中文的发音

不同的语言有不同的发音方式。有的样子很相像,但是发音却是完全不同。中文里的某些发音在英文里根本没有,所以,必须注意不要在说英文的时候发出中文所特有的,但是英文中没有的那些音。比如,法文中的“r”和德文中的“l”与英文里的发音不一样。(中文拼音中的 “ch”, “sh”, “th”,“q”, “x”,在英文里的发音都是不一样的。 【译者注】)

 

鉴别发音类似的单词

一些英文单词的发音很接近,这对英语作为第二语言的人说就会有困难。比如你是否能读出“bed”与“bad”的区别;“ship” 和“sheep”的区别,等等。夸大这些单词的元音的发音,这样的话,你才能听清楚这些词的发音。要达到能够明显区分各个元音的发音,从而提高英语语音的能力 。

提高你说英语语调的能力:语调是把你讲的词添上感情。如果语调不对,听的人有可能会理解错你的意思。如果你想要表达一件高兴的事,但是你的语调听起来是发怒的,这不就成问题了吗?学习语调的最好办法就是仔细听英语是母语的人说话,然后你就重复说你所听到的。在专题是如何减少外国口音的英语教课书和练习册上,有一些书面练习和作业可以使你更好地了解英语的语调。

 

注意英语中的连读

在日常的英语会话中,有时有些字的音是合并在一起的,就是连在一起读的。比如,“Won't you”中的“t”和后面的“you” 就连在一起发音。这样的发音是正确的,也是很自然的;这不是偷懒的发音。把每一个字都发音得十分精确,这是不错的;但是如果你要说得很流利,你必须按你所选的英语口音来连读。

 

发好每个字的尾音

学英语的人常常对单词最后的那个 “s”,“ed”和“t”的发音有困难。比如说,把“can't”读成“can”,意思都反了;把“girls”读成“girl”,多数变成了单数。花点时间来练习这些字的尾音,练好了这些将大大地改善听众对你的句子的理解。如果你实在没有办法发好尾音,那就把“can't”改成“cannot”来读,这样的话至少听众不会理解错;同时不断地练习那些尾音,直到你能正确发音了以后才用“can't”。

 

利用电子书籍并浏览网站

电子书籍和录音可以教你怎样正确发音。你可以在(美国的【译者注】)图书馆免费借用或到商场购买这样的书籍和录音。网络也是一个学习外语的良好途径。在很多网站上都有视频,清楚地向你显示发辅音和元音连接时嘴唇的动作。尽量按照你听到的来发音,这样的话你就一定会正确地读那些难读的单字的。

 

以朗诵诗歌和说绕口令来练习

在教科书和录音里学的英文都是很清楚、有条有理规规矩矩的。这对你开始学的时候有好处,但是当的你英文水准提高了以后,你就需要高级的教材来作参考。读一些绕口令和诗歌可以提高你的语音学习的速度,因为这些材料的可塑性比较强,而且语调的变化也比较多。

 

使用一本好的、公认的词典

词典可能不直接告诉你一个字是应该怎样发音,但是给你指出怎样来用这个字的方向。如果你觉得你对某个字的发音可能有问题,你就可以找一本词典,看看上面所说的和你的发音是否接近。然后你可能可以问一下一个母语是英语的人该怎样读这个字,以此来证实你对词典上解释的理解是正确的。另外,在网上的“在线词典”具有发音查询的功能,你就可以听。不要操之过急,事实上,对一个成年人来说学外语要比一个孩子学外语难很多。不要对自己要求过严,如果经过一个月的学习以后还没有明显的进步,不要自责。只要继续按照课程的安排学习;在英语会话中每次完成的好的话,给自己一个鼓励。你必定会对你自己的语音越来越有信心,你也一定会按应该的语音说得越来越流利。


讨论问题:

1.   除了在这个课堂里,你用什么方法来提高你的英语口语?

2.   以上所说的几种方法,你觉得哪一个对你比较容易做到?哪一个方法比较难做到?为什么?

3.   你是否寻找一个说英文的外国人来练习你的英文口语?你会对那些外国人说些什么?

Ask for the help of a native English speaker: 

Learning from tapes and instructional videos is good, but learning from a live native speaker is better. If you have a friend who's a native speaker of English, approach him if you encounter any difficulties in your training. List the words you find difficult to pronounce, and then have your friend pronounce them for you.

 

Make friends with native English speakers: 

Obviously, you'll find the previous tip problematic if you don't have a friend who's a native English speaker, which is why it's important for you to go out and make friends with native English speakers. Face it: if you're surrounded by speakers of your own native tongue all day, you won't absorb the accent you want very quickly. Step out of your comfort zone, find opportunities to socialize with native English speakers and make new friends and acquaintances. This way, you'll have more opportunities to practice your accent even when you're just walking down the road on a regular day.

 

Talk, talk, talk! 

You won't achieve anything significant if you limit yourself to talking in front of a recorder or a mirror. You need to immerse yourself in actual conversations with native English speakers to get the feel of the language. Books will help, but they mostly present a structured view of language that is different from the flexible language spoken in the real world. Don't be shy, and always engage native speakers in conversations even in the early stages of your training. Remember that mistakes are part of the process to being a fluent English speaker.

 

Watch TV: 

The best way to quickly get rid of your accent is to expose yourself to as much English media as possible. Tune in to American or English-language sitcoms, movie channels, and especially news programs. Pay attention to the rhythm and intonation of the speakers, and closely observe the movement of their lips. Try to imitate the sounds they are making by saying sentences exactly how they say them. This is the same technique that a young child does to learn a language, and it works for adults too, albeit at a slower rate.

 

Record your progress: 

Language learning is largely done unconsciously, so it's hard to know whether you're progressing or not. Use a tape recorder to record your voice and evaluate how much you've improved. At the start of your training, read portions of English books or magazines aloud. After a couple of months, read the same passages again, and then listen for differences. Take note of which aspects you've improved on and what areas need more development. You can also ask a native English speaker to read the same passages, and then compare his recording to yours.

 

Speak slower and improve your pronunciation: 

A good technique to reduce your accent is to speak slowly and clearly. It's easy to forget to pay attention to your pronunciation once you learn to speak fluently. You may also develop bad pronunciation habits that are incorrect, such as pronouncing “th” as “d.” Speak slower and pronounce each word clearly to polish up your accent.

 

Compare English sounds with the sounds of your native accent: 

Different languages have different ways of producing sounds. Some alphabets are pretty much the same, but their sounds are very different. Your native language may have sounds that English doesn't use. Be careful not to accidentally produce such sounds when speaking English. For instance, the French “r” and the German “l” are pronounced differently from their English equivalents.

 

Examine minimal pairs

Minimal pairs are pairs of sounds that non- native English speakers often confuse, such as “bed” and “bad” or “ship” and “sheep.”       Exaggerate the sounds of minimal pairs of vowels when you practice their pronunciation so you can clearly hear the difference. Vowel sounds largely distinguish one accent from another.

Improve your intonation: Intonation gives feelings to your spoken words. You may send out the wrong message if your intonation is wrong. For instance, you might sound angry when you're actually happy. The best method to improve your intonation is to listen to and repeat spoken English. Accent reduction textbooks and workbooks for advanced ESL (English as Second Language) students also have written exercises that can help you understand English intonation better.

 

Listen to sound combinations

In normal spoken English, sounds are often blended or linked together. For instance, “Won't you?” often sounds “Wonchoo?” when spoken. This sound blending is correct, natural, and not lazy speech. Pronouncing each word clearly works, but to be fluent with your chosen English accent, you must also learn how to blend these sounds.

 

Clearly pronounce endings of words

Many students of English have a hard time pronouncing word endings like “s,” “ed,” and “t.” For example, “can't” becomes “can” or “girls” becomes “girl.” Take your time pronouncing these word endings, because they may greatly alter the thought of your sentences. In the case of can't, if you're not comfortable saying it, try saying “cannot” instead. You may do this until you've perfected saying the word “can't” clearly.

 

Use audio books and surf the Web: 

Audio books or tapes help a lot in teaching you how to properly pronounce words. You can borrow these tapes from the local library or purchase them. The Internet is also a great tool to help you get to know your preferred accent more. Lots of websites have videos that clearly show you how the lips move when pronouncing combinations of consonants and vowels. Try to duplicate the sounds that you hear, and you will eventually feel comfortable saying difficult words.

 

Practice with poetry and tongue-twisters: 

The English language you learn from textbooks and audio CDs is mostly very clean and structured. While this will help you in the early stages of your training, you need more advanced reference materials as you go along. Reading tongue-twisters and poems is a good trick to fast-track your accent training since these materials have more flexibility and changes in intonation.

 

Use a good, old dictionary: 

A dictionary may not exactly tell you how a word is pronounced, but it points you at the right direction on how to say a word. If you think you're not pronouncing a word correctly, just grab a dictionary and see if your pronunciation is close or not. Later, you may ask a native speaker how to pronounce that particular word just to be sure you understand what the dictionary says. In addition, there are “online dictionaries” on the Internet that have libraries of pronunciation recordings that you can listen to. Be patient: The truth is, learning a second language is much harder for adults than it is for children. Don't be too hard on yourself if there seems to be no improvement after the first month. Just continue on your training routine, and give yourself a pat on the back for every English conversation you've handled well. Eventually, you'll feel more comfortable speaking with your chosen accent and on your way to fluency.


Source: http://www.improvespokenenglish.org/2010/02/15-ways-to-improve-your-english-accent.html


Discussion questions:

1.       What ways are you using to improve your spoken English besides taking this class?

2.       Which of the above ways would be easy for you to do?  Which ways will be hard for you to do?  Explain why.

3.       Would you approach an English speaking foreigner to practice your English?  What would you say to them?

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