To be a clear communicator in the mother tongue of Shakespeare, you need to master the intonation and pronunciation of the English language. In this article I'm sharing some of the tips I've learned in a course that I did in London regarding Accent Softening and Effective Communication.
- Vowels; they contain the feeling and the potential of the word. They are all made with an open mouth, where the position of the tongue is critical and the appropriate length of each vowel is fundamental. Ensure you open your mouth to express the vowels with all the emotions that they contain
- There are 20 vowel sound in the standard English language, 7 of then are show vowel sound and 5 of then are long vowel sound
- There are 8 diphthongs, which is the combination of two vowels sounds that are put together
- Words ;to unleash the full meaning of a word, you need to make sure its pronunciation is accurate, and really engage with the word, specially with the stressed syllable
- Stressed Syllable;if a word contains a stressed syllable, do concentrate and respect its sound
- Be mindful of the pauses ;that way you can present your thoughts and ideas more clearly and effective
- Mouth Consciousness ;be aware of what your mouth is doing when pronouncing tricky words, that will help you create new neurological paths for those words
It's all about intonation, by putting stress on the right word you are directing your listener's attention to what it is important. Remember that when you speak, only 30% of what you actually said gets into the mind of the person (and that if is the person pays full attention!) therefore intonation is critical.
- Words that have a meaning need to have emphasis in the sentence, give them enough air time to pronounce them properly
- Grammatical words, pronouns and certain verbs tend to go unstressed such as 'to go', 'to be' or 'to do'.
- However, they are stressed if they are in negative form or they come before a full stop: "I don't want to do that"
- All negative words need emphasis, otherwise people might understand otherwise
The 'R' sound
In grammar English there are two 'Rs', once is pronounced with a delicate sound and the other one is silence The 'R' that is pronounced is with the lips at the front moving forward (not with the tongue, the tongue is not involved at all), examples are Robert, Really, Raining. Notice that in all examples words the R is always before a vocal, and that is the rule you have to follow to pronounce it: whenever there is an R in front of a vocal, pronounced it with the lips at the front moving forward
- These "R" are not pronounced (silence as the vowel always wins): car, departure, party, farm, girl
- These "R" are to be pronounced: surprise, friend, orange