Firstly I would like to thank for your effort and for your helpful website.As ESL student one of the worse things that I have to face is pronunciation(I am spanish) Despite that I am an advanced student because of my mother language I always find some difficulties with pronunciation.My dream is to sound like an English person.
What kind of actions would you recommend me to take in order to imrpove my pronunciation and to look more professional.I live in the uk but I found some difficulties for practising my english and because of my lack of confidence,I also teach spanish here.
Obviously I am not Steve but I have helped a few Spanish people for a short period with their English so I hope you find this useful and don't mind me contributing here.
If I were you I would identify sounds in spanish that are different to english and work on those specificly. For example, can you say juggle jam jar without sounding spanish? Do you say e-spanish? Can you tell the difference between the "i" in "difference"/English and the "i" in "diferencia"/Spanish. These are some of the common mistakes that I hear spanish natives make when trying to speak english. The reason I notice this is because I am learning spanish and my pronunciation could be better too! Hope it helps :)
My Mum is Spanish, she moved to England when she was 19 and is now 80. She has never got to grips with the accent, so good luck :) but saying that, i think she was always proud of her aspanish accent.
Some words can come out a little funny. As kids I recall us laughing when she would shout: 'throw your dirty sheets down'. She would pronounce 'ee' as we would 'i'.
However, I prefer to hear English spoken with an accent, it give identity to the speaker. I would ask why you would want to lose it. Believe me English people love Spanish accents, and it sounds no less professional.
The key thing is to relax and focus on communicating. Don't worry about your accent, just communicate and enjoy it. That is the first and most important thing. Work on using words well, that will earn you more respect than trying to sound like a native.
Now if you want to work on your accent, work on the rhythm and intonation of the language. Listen and imitate, and really focus on imitating the rhythm. There may be some sounds that are hard, but most are not, so get the rhythm right first. Then if there are specific sounds that cause trouble, you can work on them, but don't worry about them. Communicating is the key. But listen carefully when you hear these sounds, and then practice on your own.
But when you speak, just go for it, and communicate. Enjoy the privilege of communicating in another language, something that most British people can't do. Cheers.
Many thanks to everybody for your contribution.I do language exchange with my students English-Spanish and my students say that they can understand me perfectly but I know that they can get used to as I do with them.
Sometimes people can be quite critic with your spoken language specially when you live in a foreign country,but What I say to my students is ...if anyone is very critic with your Spanish is because they haven't learned any language at all and they think that they can pick it up from one day to another.
I listen to the radio for a few hours everyday,Lingq and speaking when I can...I cannot say that my English has not improved but I wish I could speed it up!.I love reading and I spend a lot of time reading everyday(almost everyday) my reading,writing and listening is quite good and balanced but when I have to speak I am always worried about messing things up.... I am so good at motivating others to speak but when my turn comes.....That's another story! hahaha.
I understand what you mean. When my wife first came to England, she was very nervous about talking to locals because some just didn't have the patience to listen to her, and were quite abrupt.
I find it embarrassing when I see my fellow country men lacking the empathy to help non natives communicate. Some have just never trained their ear to listen to non natives.