5 Best Books for Improving Your English Pronunciation
Learning English is more than just grammar and vocabulary. How many times have you been asked:
“Can you repeat what you said?”
“What did you say?”
Or been shown that dumbfounded look of confusion from the person you are conversing with.
You may have perfected the rules, but people won’t understand you if you don’t use the right pronunciations.
The pronunciation for some of the words might be tricky. Whether you’re learning for business or a side hobby, it’s crucial to pay attention to your accent.
The Problem with English Pronunciation
The problem is, when you are studying pronunciation, the English words might not be reflective of how you should say it.
For example, “some” and “sum” have different spellings but are pronounced quite similar.
Another example is “height” and “eight.” They have almost the same letters, but they are read differently. Even “read” (present tense) and “read” (past tense) are not pronounced the same way.
And don’t get me started with British English and American English. Both quite have a lot of differences in pronunciation with the same words. How can you learn language pronunciation with this overwhelming dilemma?
Learning the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) Standard
English is not a phonetic language. It will have different sounding words when certain consonants and vowels are combined.
That’s why you should be familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as a tool. Linguists designed the IPA to help language learners to know the proper way to speak certain words.
I tell you this because some books are useful in your English learning journey. And most have the IPA included in the text.
The IPA contains a set of symbols that has only one pronunciation. Usually, most languages only use a subgroup of symbols. So when you learn IPA, you can use it as a tool for other languages as well.
There is a total of 163 symbols for IPA. But you don’t need to memorize everything. Check out this link for a quick guide to IPA symbols commonly used in modern English.
With that, here are 5 books you can use to improve your English pronunciation.
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary by A.S. Hornby, Anthony Paul Cowie, J. Windsor Lewis, is arguably the best dictionary for learners. It teaches you not only the meaning of the words but also explains it in a simplified manner.
It includes American and British English as well, with great coverage and illustrations. Learning the IPA is pretty helpful alongside getting this dictionary to understand vocabulary quickly while bettering your pronunciation.
Pronunciation Pairs Student’s Book: An Introductory Course for Students of English
Proper pronunciation doesn’t only apply to individual words. It would be best if you also learned what words to stress in a sentence to convey your ideas effectively.
The book Pronunciation Pairs Student’s Book: An Introductory Course for Students of English by Ann Baker, Sharon Goldstein, can help you achieve that. With practical tips and comparisons, it enables you to learn North American English with proper sentence stress and intonation.
Learning English pronunciation can be fun! With the book Pronunciation Games by Mark Hancock can make your learning experience interactive with different kinds of games to choose from.
There are Crossword puzzles, bingos, mazes, and so much more. It’s good to find a study partner to play the games with them as well.
Three hundred & Thirty-Three Twisted Tongue Twisters
Ever mispronounced similar sounding words in one sentence? Then, the book Three hundred & Thirty-Three Twisted Tongue Twisters by Byron L. Reeder can help you practice some tongue twisters for that perfect pronunciation.
It can assist you in mastering complicated sentences with a fun twist. If you have extra time to practice, take this book out and weave some tongue twisters for your delight.
After all, if you can speak these well, you can have better pronunciation for the more straightforward sentences.
Work on Your Accent
Another aspect of pronunciation is your accent. Your native accent might get in the way of effective communication. The book Work on Your Accent by Helen Ashton, Sarah Shepherd, can help you improve in that regard.
It provides 36 units of study about the consonant and vowel sounds in English. It also has modules about rhythm and pitch to imitate the proper accent of a native speaker.
Learning English pronunciation can be a daunting task. But mastering it needs your hard work and dedication.
It’s also good to have a mentor to guide you every step of the way. LingualBox is an excellent option for your English learning journey. For as low as 3 USD per session, you can have one-on-one mentorship with high-caliber TESOL certified English teachers.
They can help you further your English-speaking ability and pronunciation with systematized lesson plans based on your current level. With the books above plus their mentorship, you can achieve more in no time!