Now that you have decided to work on your pronunciation of English, you will be wondering, where can you start!
The English Language has 26 letters, however, it has 44 sounds! Confusing isn’t it? Now, how do we say each sound? Let me break it down into consonants and vowels.
There are 24 consonant sounds. What is a consonant? ( Hint, it is pretty much anything that is not a, e, I, o,u) . We use our tongue, lips, teeth, jaw and larynx to create these sounds. Since we use our larynx, some of these sounds are voiced and voiceless.
Consonants can be broken down further into five different groups. But we shall keep it easy and not go into the sounds this time.
Vowels : These are created by shaping air as it leaves the mouth. We use our oral resonators ( lips, jaw, tongue) to shape the sounds. The sound of vowels differs based on the positions of the mouth. We have 4 different groups of vowels: front, back, centre and diphthongs ( combination of vowels)
With all these sounds, how do we choose which sound to work on? Mind boggling isn’t it?
One simple way of working finding your speech sound errors, is by looking at the typical errors that someone speaking your language makes. Check out this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-native_pronunciations_of_English
It tells you the most common speech sound errors that speakers of a particular language make. Once you find these speech sounds, check the difference between your pronunciation and the native pronunciation.
Another way of analysing differences is : Going through my International Phonetic Alphabet ( IPA) list and going through all the sounds and words I have recorded. I have attached the International Phonetic Alphabet- Consonants & vowels document here as well as my AUDIO IPA vowels. You can listen to me first, read the words out aloud yourself, and record them. After which, you should listen to the differences in my sounds and yours.
So in summary, there are 2 ways to identify the differences in speech sounds: Looking at a common list, with link here. And the other method is reading through IPA words and comparing the differences. If that is too much for you still, you can contact me for a through speech sound analysis!