Your goal when speaking English is to speak clearly and to be understood by others the first time you say something. In order to do this, you must learn how to pronounce all the sounds in words, while maintaining a smooth flow when speaking. To get you started with this skill, try the following exercises:
Practice reading aloud for two minutes each day for one week. Speak slowly and concentrate on each sound in the words as you say them. Try to link your words together as you speak, rather than pronouncing each word separately. Pay attention to pronouncing consonants in the middle of words and word endings.
During the second week of practice, pronounce all the sounds in words as you read aloud for five minutes on at least three different days. You will notice that you are slightly exaggerating some of the words so that you can pronounce all the sounds. The focus here is to just to remember to pronounce all the sounds in words, so don’t worry if it doesn’t sound natural.
By the third week, you should be much more aware of the sounds in words and should be ready to incorporate your skills into everyday conversation. During this week focus on pronouncing all the sounds in words while you speak to others. This time try to make your speech sound more natural by including word connections to link words together. Hopefully you will notice that you are no longer omitting the middle syllables in multi-syllabic words and are more conscious of word endings.
The following are examples of what might happen if a consonant is omitted in a word when it shouldn’t be: 1. Omitting a consonant in a word can make the word difficult to understand. Example: Incorrect: I can harly see. Correct: I can hardly see.
2. Omitting a final consonant can make the sentence grammatically incorrect. Example: Incorrect: She want to go home. Correct: She wants to go home.
3. Omitting the final sound of a verb can change the tense and confuse the listener. Exmpls: Incorrect: Yesterday I miss him. Correct: Yesterday I missed him”.
4. Omitting a syllable in a multi-syllabic word can change the word completely or make it difficult to understand. Example: Incorrect: Her name is Peneppe. Correct: Her name is Penelope.
Practice the following sentences. Focus on including all the sounds in each word, except for when word connections occur. 1. Jonathan can hardly throw a ball anymore. 2. My favorite subject in school is mathematics. 3. Sally wants to buy a new puppy, but her mother won’t let her. 4. Why don’t you like to fly on planes? 5. I can’t afford to buy a new automobile because they are too costly. 6. Did you know that my telephone hasn’t been working for three days? 7. My dog, Baxter, still thinks he’s a puppy. 8. My daughter lost her balloon at the carnival last Wednesday. 9. Bobby threw the big brown ball into the woods and lost it. 10. I bought a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s before I went to work.