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Learning to pronounce English words correctly is one of the hardest parts of learning English. It can deeply affect how you are perceived and how much your listener can truly understand you. It’s NOT easy!

As a foreign English speaker, you are training the muscles of your face to move in ways they aren’t used to moving. Keep in mind that the more you try the better you become. It’s not just because you are memorizing the sounds, it’s mainly because you are developing muscle memory.

These new movements help you create completely new sounds that might not be present in Italian, but are absolutely needed when speaking English. Some of the best ways to improve your pronunciation are through listening and paying attention to your new facial muscle and tongue movements. You can also write out some words so that you can better recognize them or, one of my favorites, is to actually write out what you hear next to the spelling of the word. There are so many techniques to this….

Some say it’s helpful to record yourself so that you can hear what you sound like from the outside. This is actually something I use with other things I am learning as well and we use it in our dance classes all the time. I would think it’s one of the greatest ways to encourage our self improvement and even challenge ourselves.

These are all great methods and I would say that none of them compare to ACTUALLY practicing with a buddy or “speaking” pal all the the time. No video, mirror or self help English speaking technique will ever compare to the quality of practicing with someone, as much as you possibly can, and then some more. The more you can keep talking and listening the more you’ll improve your pronunciation.

When we interact with another person, unlike video or podcast (which are both very helpful when learning English), they will have a reaction to what you say and how it sounds to them. These reactions will allow you to form a memory connected to that conversation and those words. Those memories will help you expand your vocabulary of course, and more importantly, the pronunciation is bound to stick with you as well.

Simply put, you remember much more easily when you practice listening and speaking English all the time. One of the suggestions I make to my students and friends here in Italy is to try and talk to someone in English at least a little bit every day. If you want to join an English speaking group you can find many online and in your town and even here at Me Speaking!

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