ES Dubai - The Most Common English Pronunciation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
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The Most Common English Pronunciation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Are you a non-native English speaker? If yes, then using the correct pronunciation of English words might be a major challenge that you are facing. This may be because the English language includes many unique sounds that are different from other languages. Also, you might be studying English as a second language and not have much interaction with native speakers to practise your skills and understand the correct pronunciations. But don’t worry! Here at our ES Dubai English School, we will help you improve your English pronunciation and become a confident speaker through practice and patience. This blog covers the common pronunciation mistakes in English and how you can avoid them.

Mispronouncing Vowels

This is one of the common pronunciation mistakes made by most non-native speakers. The difference between various vowel sounds in English, which include both short, long, and double (diphthong) vowel sounds, can usually be difficult. For instance, although the words ‘cost’ and ‘most’ have the same vowels, their pronunciations differ. In the word ‘most’, the vowel ‘o’ is pronounced with a sound like ‘ou’. You can learn the correct pronunciation by interacting with native English speakers and paying close attention to how they pronounce vowels found in certain words. When you study English, practise and try saying them repeatedly until you are able to differentiate between the different vowel sounds.

Stressing the Wrong Syllables

If you stress the wrong syllable in a word, it may come out as unclear to the listener. For instance, while pronouncing the word ‘stable’, the vowel ‘a’ should be pronounced with the sound ‘ei’. Pay close attention to the stress patterns used in English words so that you can avoid focusing on the wrong syllables. Here’s a simple trick to fix most of your pronunciations. While pronouncing nouns and adjectives, the stress is often put on the first syllable, whereas in the case of verbs, the stress is typically placed on the second syllable.

Incorrect Word Endings

The accurate pronunciation of word ends like -ed and -s is a challenge for a lot of people who aren’t native English speakers. For instance, depending on the sound that comes before it, the -ed ending can be pronounced as either /d/, /t/, or /id/, meaning it’s pronounced differently in all three words – ‘need,’ ‘prepared,’ and ‘baked.’

Mixing Up Homophones

Homophones are words that have the same pronunciation but different spellings and meanings. Some examples of homophones are ‘there,’ ‘their,’ and ‘they’re.’ By focusing on the context in which a word is used, you can identify the correct spelling and pronunciation of the word and avoid making this pronunciation error, while speaking English.

Lacking Intonation

When you speak English, the rise and fall in your voice is referred to as intonation. Intonation plays an important role in communicating the right meaning, emotion, and emphasis. However, people who are learning English usually don’t focus much on their intonation, which may make their spoken English sound a little strange and confusing. For instance, if you are asking a question, it is important to raise your tone at the end of the sentence to not make it sound like a statement. To avoid this mistake, you need to understand the use of rising and falling intonation patterns. While saying statements, asking WH- questions, exclamatory sentences, and alternative questions, you should slightly lower the pitch at the end of the sentence. Whereas, in the case of yes/no questions, offers, and enumerations, you should use a higher or rising intonation at the end of the sentence.

Overemphasise Accents

Accents are a lovely and distinctive aspect of a person’s speech, but putting too much emphasis on an accent might make it difficult for native speakers to comprehend what is being said. Therefore, instead of attempting to speak in a native accent, you should strive to concentrate on speaking correctly and accurately pronouncing each word to avoid this error.

You can avoid these common pronunciation mistakes and improve your overall English communication skills by listening carefully to people who speak English as their first language, paying attention to how words are stressed, and practising the right way to say vowels, consonants, and word endings. At ES Dubai, we offer quality English Speaking classes to help you learn, make mistakes, practise and improve your communication skills.

Check out our fun pronunciation videos on different commonly used English words here!

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