Sound like a native speaker: the BEST pronunciation advice

Categories English By JadePosted on Format Film
Sound like a native speaker: the BEST pronunciation advice

Are you following the wrong pronunciation advice? Do you think that to have good English pronunciation you need to say every word per-fect-ly? Have you been told that you need to say each syllable in exactly the same way that it is written? Well, in this video I explain why what seems like logical advice is actually COMPLETELY WRONG.

The secret to getting excellent English pronunciation is to relax your tongue and to start missing syllables! That’s because native speakers do not speak perfectly in natural, everyday speech. In fact, it even sounds strange to say every word perfectly.

I explain to you how we use 'elision’ to make our speech more connected, flowing, and relaxed. This means that we don’t say every vowel and sometimes even miss words. I also tell you about the most important sound you need to know about in English to improve your pronunciation – the schwa sound: /ə/.


Hi, everyone. I’m Jade. What we’re talking about today, is elision. And that’s one of the things that makes the speech of native speakers hard to understand because we don’t say every single word perfectly, like, how it is on the page. We squash words together, and we miss sounds out. So I’m showing you how we do that in today’s lesson.

So you know we like tea in England, right? We like to drink tea. Well, we call it a „cuppa tea”. And if I were to offer you that, I’d say, „Dju wanna cuppa tea?” „Dju wanna cuppa tea?” And we’ve got an example of elision in that sentence. The written sentence would be, „Do you want a cup of tea?” All the different syllables being pronounced. But colloquial, relaxed spoken English, „Dju wanna cuppa tea?” So the „of” joins the words before. So remember, it’s „cup of tea”, „cuppa tea.” „Dju want a cuppa tea?” We join that. And that’s an example of elision.

We can also elide consonants. For example, in this sentence, the reply, „I don wanna tea.” Some people will not say the T at the end of a word if the next word is another consonant. So saying it properly is more effort. „I don’t want a cup of tea.” Or, again, there’s more elision here. „I don’t want a tea.” The A joins „want” and becomes „wanna”. „I don wanna tea.” Two examples of elision there: not saying the T and A joining „want”, the word before.

What about the next example here? Here, I’ve written it out, „I don’t want a tea.” What we see here is the contraction, and that is standard English. We can write that. We can write „don’t” like that, „do not”. „I don’t want a tea.” But you cannot write it exactly how it sounds. You cannot write it, „I don”. You need the T there. And the difference between contractions and elision is that contractions are okay when we write them, and elision isn’t — it’s not necessarily the case that we can write down an elision and it be grammatically correct English. I’ll show you two examples.

„Wanna” and „gonna” are two common forms in colloquial speech. We say them all the time. „I wanna do that.” „I’m gonna go there later.” But we can’t write them. The reason we can’t write them is that they’re not contractions. They’re not recognized as being standard English. We can say it, but we can’t write it that way. In general, we use elision in our speech because it’s just easier than saying every single sound in a sentence.

Some people think that posh accents are made up of just saying every single word properly and giving it good enunciation and definition and making sure you say everything correctly. But in fact, as we’ll see in a sec, posh people and posh accents also use elision in their speech. But they will have some rules that they consider wrong. So for example, „wanna” and „gonna” in some posh accents are considered sloppy or not right or not a correct way of speaking. But I think a good thing to say about that is a lot of people think and perceive that they don’t use these words when in fact they do. So you could ask a posh person, „Do you ever say this?” „Oh, no. I wouldn’t say that. It’s not right. It’s not proper English.” When in fact, David Cameron would also use „wanna” and „gonna”. He’s the prime minister of the UK at the moment. So I’d say he’s a pretty posh guy, and he’s using „wanna” and „gonna”. That shows me that these are quite standard forms now. Some people will judge you for it, „Oh, it’s not right. You don’t say it that way.” And also, some people will not realize that they say it themselves. So —

So — yeah. What to think about elision? It just shows us how when we try to speak English correctly just by reading everything properly, this is not going to help you sound like a relaxed, natural speaker of English who actually sounds good because our real speech doesn’t fit the actual words on the page.y of the vowels.