How can I improve my pronunciation?

Topic Starter   Fri Jul 06, 2007 6:34 pm GMT
Hi everyone,

How can I improve my pronunciation? Check out my accent sample below. Also, if you can guess where I'm from, go ahead. This is the text I used for my sample:

I started learning English when I was 6 years old. For 8 years I learned English the way everybody does — by going to English classes. It was awfully ineffective. I did everything that the teachers told me to do: the homework assignments, everything. But I didn't get any results. At least, no impressive results. I mean, I was always one of the best students in class. Still, reading English texts took me a long time, I made lots of mistakes when writing, my pronunciation was bad, and I could only speak English very slowly. Eight years of sacrifices, and these were the results...

It got a little better because of... computer games. When I got my first PC in 1991, I started playing lots of adventure games. I especially loved LucasArts (then called Lucasfilm) games, such as the Indiana Jones and Monkey Island series. Playing these games, I would read a lot of English sentences, and after some time I gained a little "grammar intuition". When I did well in a local English contest for 14-year olds, I thought that adventure games had taught me more than English classes. You see, I would often "feel" the right answers in grammar tests, while other students had to remember dozens of grammar rules. But my English was still pretty bad.

You can find the sample here:

Thanks in advance.
Guest   Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:40 pm GMT
funny accent. Well, no one is holding a gun at your head. Please speak up. You were speaking words inside your mouth. Were you feared of something? Your accent was incomprehensible. I'd give you 2 marks out of 10.
Guest   Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:54 pm GMT
Hi, I am not a native speaker of English either but it sonds like you're afraid of speaking. You slur your speech, it sounds like your speak without opening your mouth. I don't think I'd have understood most of it without the text. As said previously, speak up. And open your mouth. You should also pronounce stronger tonic accents because I think they're too weak. Finally you reduce and slur words whose vowels shouldn't be reduced, like in "grammar rules" for example, or "the way everybody does", which is incomprehensible indeed.
I think you need to listen and listen, and learn basic phonetic material in order to be able to see clearly the difference between the different sounds, especially the different vowels. Remember that English is a tonic language.
Guest   Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:48 pm GMT
I'm an American, so I don't know good your British-sounding accent is, but I did find you incomprehensible at certain points because you were mumbling too much, so I agree with the above posters that you need to learn to enunciate more.
Guest   Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:49 pm GMT
Correction: don't know HOW good
O'Gator   Sun Jul 08, 2007 10:13 pm GMT
Dutch? First of all, the others are right: speak up! Then, try to distinguish between voiced and voiceless consonants. You tend to pronounce /v/ as /f/ and /z/ as /s/ or even as /S/. As a matter of fact, you speak all kinds of 's's as /S/s. That's what makes it hard to understand, and that's why I guess you're Dutch;-) Am I right?
K. T.   Mon Jul 09, 2007 12:36 am GMT
"Were you feared of something?"

I wonder about this construction. Some people in the South say "a-feared", but I don't ever remember hearing this.

Very interesting.
Franco   Mon Jul 09, 2007 12:50 am GMT
It sounds natural, doesn't it? But only if you want to sound like a British Hooligan.
Liz   Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:38 pm GMT
Poor pronunciation, but cute voice.
Topic Starter   Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:01 pm GMT
All right, I din't think I was mumbling, but if you say so... I get this complaint sometimes, even if I speak in my two native languages.
I'll record a new sample soon.

<<Poor pronunciation, but cute voice.>>

In what way? The question was: "How can I improve my pronunciation?", right?
Topic Starter   Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:15 pm GMT
Oh well, I don't know why, but this one does sound completely different from the sample I posted before. ( ) Somehow my voice was higher than normal at that moment..

I guess I don't know what I'm doing. Anyway, you'll hear from me soon.
Guest   Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:02 pm GMT
I'm sorry to say this to you but your speaking is really wierd. It's not only flat but also absolutely depressing :-(