Everybody wants to be able to speak English like a native speaker, but English pronunciation is always a big problem to ESL learners.
Bad English pronunciation may confuse people even if you used advanced English grammar. We can use simple words and simple grammar structures that make people understand you but we cannot use “simple pronunciation”.
On the other hand, good English pronunciation will make people understand you easily and be willing to listen to you!
So, how to speak English clearly and confidently? There are three ways: practice, practice and practice! First, practice speaking each word cleary, then, practice speaking each sentence clearly.
And here you are some tools:
–http://www.acapela-group.com/text-to-speech-interactive-demo.html This is a fabulous resource to help you with pronunciation . Choose your voice, type the text and you will get a perfectly enunciated version. Repeat and learn. Great help for preparing your speeches. Good luck!
–http://esl.about.com/cs/pronunciation/a/a_wordstress.htm In this website, you will find some helpful comments on how stress and intonation can change the meaning of a sentence.
As for your speaking practice, you have it easy in the language school: if your teacher asks you a question, take the opportunity to answer. Try to say as much as possible. If your teacher asks you to speak in pairs or groups with other students, try to say as much as possible. Don’t worry about your mistakes. Just speak!
Apart from the language school, you should try and find the opportunity to speak to other people different from your teachers and other students. When you go home, you can still practise listening, reading and writing, but you probably can’t practise speaking. Here you have some options:
Many cities around the world have conversation clubs where people can exchange one language for another. Look in your local newspaper to find a conversation club near you. They are usually free although some may charge a small entrance fee. The school has one: http://blogeoielche.blogspot.com/2010/02/circulo-de-conversacion-ingles.html
If you are living in an English-speaking area (remember you are very close to English-speaking communities: San Fulgencio, Gran Alacant, etc), you have a wonderful opportunity. Practise speaking to the local people such as shop assistants. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, you can ask questions about products that interest you in a shop. Often you can start a real conversation – and it costs you nothing!
-Pubs and Bars
In all Spanish towns, there are often American, British, Irish and Australian pubs. If you can find one of these pubs, you’ll probably meet many people speaking English as a first or second language.
-Songs and Video
Listen to the lyrics of an English-language song that you like. Then repeat them to yourself and try to sing with the music. Repeat the words as many times as possible until they become automatic. Soon you’ll be singing the whole song. You can visit http://www.lyrics.com/ to start trying. Or listen to one of your favourite actors on video and repeat one or two sentences that you like. Do it until it becomes automatic. It’s good practice for your memory and for the mouth muscles that you need for English.
Above all, don’t be afraid to speak. You must try to speak, even if you make mistakes. You cannot learn without mistakes. There is a saying: “The person who never made a mistake never made anything.” So think of your mistakes as something positive and useful.
Speak as much as possible! Make as many mistakes as possible! When you know that you have made a mistake, you know that you have made progress.