5 ways to sound better with American English pronunciation
Whenever I work with new clients who are from China, India, Vietnam or Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea [and speak English as a second language], the first thing I notice is that it is hard to understand them mainly because they leave off the endings of the words, speak in continuous present tense and swallow some of the in-between syllables of words.
It is possible to improve American English pronunciation for [most] Asians who speak English here in Silicon Valley, particularly in IT.
1. When you say a word, be conscious that there is a /t/ or an /m/ at the end. Without these consonants, words such as /about/, /time/ won’t be understood.
2. When you speak about someone and say, “he needs, she challenges, he compares”, if you leave out the /s/, it makes you an unsophisticated speaker. While people will probably understand you, you aren’t functioning at your [probably high] educational level. Unfortunately, English speakers around you will assume you don’t understand either and might not seek you out with new, complicated ideas.
3. You know that you’re capable of writing in the past tense, now you have to develop the discipline of speaking in past tense as well. It’s confusing to listen to someone speak in one tense only – the present tense -, you never really know what has already happened and if she’s talking about a current situation.
4. Realize that English words are divided into syllables. So, /usually/ is /u/zhu/a/lly/, and you have to say all the syllables and not pull them together. The same goes for /actually/, it has 4 syllables; if you make it into a 3 syllable word, people won’t understand you unless you say it so often, they figure it out.
5. Become conscious of how you speak. If you take one item a day to practice – say, put all the /s/ at the end of the words – listen to how you speak AND then correct yourself.It takes discipline, yet with practice, it will make you a better speaker and you’ll also be happier with the way you sound.