4 Motivating TED Talks in Portuguese For Polishing Your Language Skills
Have you ever watched TED talks? If you have, did you find them useful and amusing?
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If you think you’re the only one who’s struggling to improve your English pronunciation, think again.
It can be really challenging especially when English isn’t the main language you speak on a daily basis.
The good thing is that there are many tricks out there to help us develop the skill.
Before you read through how you can help yourself pronounce English impressively, there are some questions that we should address first.
Sometimes, we don’t really feel the need to improve anything because it’s not even a language we speak daily.
But what if you’re not really fluent and you suddenly have to relocate for a year to a country where English is the only language that’s spoken?
Let’s say it’s for work so you don’t really have a choice unless you quit. Would you really even want to quit just because of that?
There are a ton of reasons other than that, but let’s just say you’ve been eyeing that promotion because you’re planning to buy a new house.
Isn’t that reason enough to just wing it?
We can’t really get away with situations like this, so all we have to do is push our boundaries and just do what we have to do.
If you’re hesitant because it sounds like rocket science, no worries.
We got your back.
Just like with other foreign languages, if you’re not speaking the language everyday, it’s really going to be tricky.
However, there are many effective and easy ways to master and improve English pronunciation.
If you’ve tried some ways before and they didn’t work, then you’re in luck because there are a lot more that you could try.
Why is it easy for some but stressful for others? Your mindset is actually what’s making it stressful.
You don’t have to take rigid lessons just to see some results, because there are techniques that you can incorporate in your daily life.
Practice and patience always makes perfect.
Some kids in multilingual households are only able to speak in English.
They are trained to speak the language early because it’s also the medium of instruction in schools and is used widely at work. Some parents even teach English first before their main language.
When they are older and would interact with their peers then that’s the time they’ll learn their native tongue.
So how were they trained to speak in English?
All the ways that we’re sharing with you is more or less the same way kids are taught.
The only difference is, they are kids and all of you are adults.
So if they can follow it, I bet you’d be able to succeed, too.
Whether you’re in the Eastern or the Western part of the world, being able to converse in English clearly can be a lifesaver.
Since the world is already a global village, at one point in our lives, we end up interacting with people from different cultures and walks of life.
If our pronunciation improves and we are able to share our thoughts easily, our conversations with people will become more relaxed and enjoyable.
Sometimes, insecurities creep in when we make mistakes and the people we’re talking to make subtle but awkward reactions.
If only we’re open to pushing ourselves further and mastering how words are spoken correctly, we won’t have to worry about anything.
Interactions would go smoothly and information would be conveyed clearly. We would become more confident in expressing ourselves
How would you like that for a change?
Here are some of the proven and tested tips to help you improve your English pronunciation.
How else would we know how to pronounce if we didn’t listen to how it’s done?
This tip is pretty much understandable as it’s one of the basic steps in learning speech.
Kids follow this technique all the time. That’s one of the reasons it’s easier for them to learn foreign languages.
According to Becky L Spivey M.Ed., auditory skills are critical in developing our receptive language or our understanding of what we hear.
We shouldn’t stop developing our receptive language just because we are already fluent in the language that we speak daily.
When we learn other languages, all the more we need to comprehend what we hear so that we can speak it properly.
Customer service representatives speak to their customers on the phone on a daily basis so some companies provide mirrors to be placed beside their monitors.
They can pay attention to their facial expressions and the movement of their mouths.
They are also reminded to always smile to give off a positive vibe when speaking to customers.
The movement of our mouth, lips, tongue and even our jaws matter a lot in pronouncing clearly because the movements we make differ in every word that comes out of our mouths.
You can do this exercise after brushing your teeth in the morning or at night, try to pronounce words that you have a hard time saying.
Different cultures have their weaknesses in letters and syllables.
There are some who interchange P and F or B and V. Others omit R in their language that’s why they also end up omitting it in English words.
You can start with those words which contain those letters and keep practicing them in front of the mirror.
Apart from, keeping an eye on the movement of your mouth, while at it, exaggerate the way you say the words.
This way you can see the difference of the formation of your mouth in every word you say. Try to say it slowly at first and then later on when you’re used to the movement, you can say it normally.
There are certain cultures who tend to mumble when they speak in their language, they don’t really open their mouths wide enough that’s why we can barely see any differences in how they verbalize.
It would be a challenge to open our mouths and prolong certain vowels and syllables but it’s going to pay off eventually.
While you’re exaggerating it would also be helpful to make your voice a bit louder so you can easily comprehend what you’re saying.
Although I was taught this trick since I was younger, it never gets old because it really is effective.
When we syllabicate or chop up the words in portions according to how we sound them, it’s easier for us to pronounce it and remember how it’s pronounced.
Write words on cut up cardboard and make sure every syllable is separated with a dash so you can get used to pronouncing them separately at first and then say it as just one word after.
It would be helpful if the words you write were the ones that are challenging for you so you can practice them every day.
Other than syllabicating the words, you must also learn the stresses present in the words.
This is important because some words spell the same way but are actually pronounced differently depending on how it is used in a sentence.
A good example would be the word “contest”.
If you use the word as a noun which means competition, it is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable. It then should be read as “CON-test”
But if it’s used as a verb and would mean disagreeing with something, as in grass, it should be pronounced with a stress on the second syllable. You’ll read it as “con-TEST”.
Can you hear which syllable has the stress on it?
Let me construct sentences for you so that you easily see the difference.
If it’s pronounced as a noun, you can say, “I am going to join a CONtest.”.
If you pronounce it as a verb, you can say, “Please conTEST the results of the game.”.
There are other words that vary in pronunciation depending on if it’s used as a noun or verb or for other reasons. It would be useful to memorize them too.
Although there is a neutral English accent that is now popularly used around the world, we can’t rule out the chances of being immersed in different English dialects
We may be familiar with this already because of the different accents that we’ve heard on TV or among friends like between Americans and Australians.
If we dig deeper though, it’s not only the accent that is actually different, spelling and word usage also differ even if it’s still English.
Some cultures are familiar with dialects because, in the countries that they live in, different dialects are used per region.
It’s the same in English countries.
Once you know what dialect you should be using, use the resources available for that dialect so you won’t be confused.
We’ve played this language exercise while we’re growing up so why not keep using it as adults and for a greater purpose?
Since I used the word “fun” in the title of this article, I added this technique to justify it.
It’s probably the most entertaining way to improve English pronunciation.
Although it can be really tricky for some but you’ll definitely end up giggling and laughing at yourself while you’re at it, so it’s also good for the heart and your sanity.
These short, seemingly poetic, lines exercise your jaws and tongue while making you say the words with similar sounds repeatedly.
If you’re having a difficult time with certain syllables, then you can choose tongue twisters containing those so your mouth can get used to verbalizing them.
There are plenty of tongue twisters that you can find online. It might be helpful for you to watch videos or audio files of them so you can easily follow the correct pronunciation, too.
Other than tongue twisters, this technique is a chill and relaxing way to learn.
No-fuss and no brain drain necessary.
There’s Netflix and Youtube where you can enjoy countless English shows and movies.
There are also plenty of shows and documentaries on cable TV so you don’t really need to have an internet connection.
You can also download shows and watch them while you’re offline or when travelling and there’s no way you can go online.
If you’re used to going to the cinema to watch movies then why not watch English movies instead of foreign films so that you get to hit two birds with one stone.
If you want something that’s easier to digest and words are spoken clearly, watch documentary videos online or shows in documentary channels on cable TV.
It’s great if the movies, shows and documentaries you watch have English subtitles to make your learning experience much easier.
As always tutorial videos or even podcasts are a great way to learn languages especially pronunciation.
You get to hear the speaker say the words and if it’s not enough to hear it just once you can play it back for as many times as you want.
The most popular platform where you can watch and possibly download videos is Youtube. There are a lot of channels there catering to those who want to learn English and other languages.
There are also websites where you can download language learning podcasts and it’s convenient for those who can’t really sit down and learn by watching.
Instead of listening to music, you can always listen to pronunciation podcasts while you’re on the go.
Why do we have to think in English?
The logic is quite simple.
When you think in the language, you don’t have to translate the words anymore before you say it. So it comes out of your mouth quickly.
If you keep familiarizing the pronunciation of English words and use them in your thoughts then it’s already easier for you to say them.
This is a trick that I’ve taught my students in the past.
I told them that the reason why people stutter or pause for a few seconds before answering in the language is because the brain has to translate from the language you’re using daily to English.
Some can do it quickly, but others can’t.
That’s the real problem.
You can either think in English silently or think out loud in English when you’re alone. Trust me, it’s going to work wonders.
English is a universal language and it’s spoken all around the world.
There are so many countries that use English as a second language and a bigger population can understand the language even though they don’t speak it.
Being able to speak it fluently and improving our pronunciation is no longer a trend that we follow, it’s, at some point, already a means of survival.
You’ll have an edge in interacting with a larger audience and gain connections around the world.
There are so many ways to improve your pronunciation and those tricks may not be in this list but they are effective nonetheless.
You just have to focus, be passionate and use all the resources available to develop your English communication skills.
Have you tried using any of these techniques before? What do you think will work for you the best? Share your experiences in the comment section below.
Listen and comprehend, Pay attention to the movement of your mouth, lips, and tongue, Exaggerate when you enunciate, Syllabicate words, Know the meaning of the word so you can say it properly, Decide which English dialect you’re going to learn, Practice with tongue twisters, Watch English movies, series, and documentaries, Download pronunciation podcasts and videos, Practice thinking in English.
Say it, FluentU, ELSA Speak, Pronunroid, Sounds.
ust like with other foreign languages, if you’re not speaking the language everyday, it’s really going to be tricky. However, there are many effective and easy ways to master and improve English pronunciation. If you’ve tried some ways before and they didn’t work, then you’re in luck because there are a lot more that you could try. Why is it easy for some but stressful for others? Your mindset is actually what’s making it stressful. You don’t have to take rigid lessons just to see some results, because there are techniques that you can incorporate in your daily life. Practice and patience always makes perfect. Some kids in multilingual households are only able to speak in English. They are trained to speak the language early because it’s also the medium of instruction in schools and is used widely at work. Some parents even teach English first before their main language. When they are older and would interact with their peers then that’s the time they’ll learn their native tongue.
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