Podcast intro:

Welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m Hadar. And this is episode number 297. And today we are going to talk about how to know if it’s time for you to work on your pronunciation.

Hello everyone. Thank you so much for being here today. I hope you’re well and happy and safe and healthy. And today I’m gonna talk about something that I love, which is pronunciation. I’m not gonna teach you pronunciation, but I’m going to talk about how to know that it’s time to work on your pronunciation.

If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, then you’re probably doing something related to pronunciation already. Maybe you have the pronunciation bug and you just love it. And sometimes you’re a little obsessed about pronunciation. Maybe you have heard something in the past about the fact that you’re not clear or that you have an accent. Everyone has an accent, you know. And you have decided to explore more this idea of sounds in English. And maybe you feel like you have reached a point in your English journey where you had to just do a little bit more. And that more is pronunciation.

But maybe you’re here, but you’re still not convinced fully that pronunciation is what you need to focus on. Maybe you don’t know if it’s the right time to work on pronunciation. Maybe you think that there are other things that are more important than pronunciation. Like grammar and speaking time and vocabulary, and maybe that could be the case. So I wanted to record this for you to help you understand and know when it’s time to work on your pronunciation, when it’s a sign for you, six signs in a way, for you to know that it’s time for you to work on your pronunciation.

Because if you are experiencing one of the things that I’m gonna mention in today’s episode, then pronunciation can definitely help with that. Because it really isn’t just about sounding more native or less foreign. There is so much more that goes into pronunciation, and I wanted to share that with you. And maybe offer some perspectives around what pronunciation can help you with that you’re not even aware of. So, that’s what we have for you today. I hope you enjoy it.

And by the way, as this episode is released, I think it’s going to be around the end of February, we are going to be hosting a 7-day free pronunciation challenge, and you are so invited to join. It is going to be so much fun. And I’m going to help you understand how to define your priorities, know what to focus on, how to practice pronunciation effectively. And I’m gonna be teaching some of the key sounds in English in a way that will make sense for you, and in a way that will help you see results. And again, it’s absolutely free. I’m going to link to the registration page in the description. And I wholeheartedly invite you to join so you can pronounce ‘wholeheartedly’ simply and accurately. All right, enough talking. Let’s listen to today’s episode.

Video transcript:

How do you know that it’s time for you to work on your pronunciation in English? Before we begin, I wanna share with you a personal story. When I first started teaching pronunciation about 15 years ago – now, I don’t live in an English speaking country – I used to call up companies offering my services as a pronunciation coach. “Hi, would you like me to teach you pronunciation?” And the response I would get was always sheer surprise: “Pronunciation? Who needs pronunciation? We don’t need pronunciation. We need grammar, we need business English, we need vocabulary. We don’t need to improve our accent. That doesn’t matter.”

15 years later, I know that pronunciation is so much more than just sounding American. It’s so much more than just making it easy for others to understand. And in this episode, I’m actually going to share with you the signs for you to know if it’s time for you to work on your pronunciation to reach your goals in English.

In this episode, I’m going to talk about why pronunciation is important even earlier on, and why it’s important for your fluency and confidence. And at the end of the video I’m also going to share with you how you can train and practice your pronunciation with me for free. We have a special event coming up, so make sure you watch all the way to the end.

If you’re new to my channel, then hi, my name is Hadar. I’m a speech and pronunciation coach. I’m a non-native speaker of English. And I’m here to teach you everything that I have learned myself about speaking English with clarity, confidence, and freedom.

So here are six signs for you to know that it’s time for you to start working on your pronunciation. The first sign is that you don’t feel comfortable with your voice, you resent your voice in English, and you avoid listening to it. Why is that a sign that you need to work on your pronunciation? Because pronunciation can help you with that. One of the reasons why you feel that is because you might hear that there is a gap between the English that you hear in your head and the English that comes out of your mouth, and you avoid it. And because you avoid it, you just don’t like hearing yourself speaking.

If you don’t like hearing yourself speaking when you’re on your own, how would you give yourself permission to speak when there are others around? It’s going to be really, really hard. So pronunciation work can help you with minimizing that gap between the English that you hear in your head and the English that comes out of your mouth. Also, it will confront you with your voice because when you practice pronunciation, you record yourself and you listen back to it, and you normalize listening to your voice, and you’ll even start liking your voice. And that is going to help you become more confident with expressing your voice in public.

The second sign is that you avoid using specific words. And here I talk about words that you know, but you don’t use. And here’s the reason. A lot of times, we know certain words because we were exposed to them, but we haven’t used them. So you might feel self-conscious about how to pronounce that word, maybe you’ve never pronounced it so you don’t know how to pronounce it.

Or maybe it has a certain sound that you struggle with. Maybe words with R, you try to avoid words with R, or words with TH. And if you find yourself searching for other words, because you don’t wanna use a specific word, it’s time for you to work on your pronunciation because it’s going to help you use all the words and all the sounds effortlessly and spontaneously. Because when you avoid using words, think about all the extra work that your brain has to do looking for other words where retrieving any words could be challenging anyway.

The next sign is when you feel that people may not fully understand you. Now, it is not your fault. If you weren’t born into English, you probably use sounds, intonation, and rhythm of your first language. And sometimes it’s not aligned, and sometimes what you say is not what people expect to hear. How would you know that you’re not understood?

First of all, people may ask you to repeat yourself, okay? That’s a sign that you weren’t fully understood. Another sign is that you might be seeing like this questioning look or an expression that says, I didn’t really understand what you just said. We all know that expression, we can experience it in our first language as well.

So if you feel that that is something that you see often, this is a sign. You might also see that people respond to you, but they’re responding to something else and not something that you asked or that you said. So that means that they didn’t fully understand what it is that you were saying. And it could be because of pronunciation, but it could also be because of stress or rhythm or maybe even tone of voice.

So as you can see, for you to be able to communicate what you need to say and for you to get what you want, you want to be understood. And pronunciation work, prosody – which is intonation, rhythm, and stress – are definitely going to help you with that.

Another sign is when you feel tired or exhausted or drained after speaking English. And the reason why that usually happens is because you are investing a lot more energy than you need. When we are using sounds that we don’t have in our first language, sometimes we use a lot more muscles to produce those sounds. And that creates a lot of effort, and you don’t need to invest all that effort.

When you learn pronunciation, you learn what muscles you actually need to use to produce each sound and what muscles to let go of. And you’ll see that when you start understanding that and practice pronunciation efficiently, you will be investing a lot less energy into your speaking, and you’ll feel more effortless and more at ease when communicating.

Another sign is that you simply don’t have enough speaking practice. Now, speaking is essential to improve your fluency, communication, and flow, and of course confidence. But sometimes, especially if you don’t live in an English speaking country, you may not have a lot of speaking practice.

So while you have to increase the time of you communicating with others, pronunciation work can help you bridge that gap between the English that you know and the English that you use. Because when you practice pronunciation, you use your voice, you produce the language. Unlike working on grammar or learning vocabulary that when a lot of times it’s just in your head, pronunciation has to be vocal. You use your voice actively, you practice speaking, even if it’s on your own. And that helps you bridge that gap between what you know and how you use it. So even if you don’t have a lot of opportunities to speak, pronunciation work can definitely help you with that, even if it’s not real speaking.

And another sign, and that’s my favorite one, you’re just drawn to it. You love listening to the differences between the sounds in your first language and in English. You enjoy understanding the different nuances in someone else’s speech. And if you enjoy that, there is no reason why you shouldn’t incorporate that into your English practice and into your work.

You don’t have to wait until you are at a certain level to practice pronunciation. You can start learning pronunciation from day one. Because it is a part of learning a language and using a language. And especially if you enjoy it – I mean, learning English is meant to be fun – it’s definitely a sign that you need to work on your pronunciation.

All right, so these are the signs for you to know if it’s time for you to work on your pronunciation. So if any of the things that I talked about resonated with you, then it might be a good time for you to immerse yourself into pronunciation work, if you haven’t yet.

And now, this is the best part where I tell you how you can do that with me for free. Because on March 6th we are starting a 7-day Pronunciation Challenge. Where I will be teaching pronunciation, the key sounds, how to understand what you need to focus on, how to practice effectively, and how to use the right sounds when you’re speaking.

We’re gonna teach you all these different techniques. You’re gonna practice with me and my coaches, and all of that is absolutely free. So that is happening March 6th, and you can sign up today to start working on your pronunciation. So now you know if you need to work on your pronunciation, and you also know how to do it with us inside of the Pronunciation Challenge.

All right, that’s it. If you like this video, make sure to like it and subscribe. You can also follow me at @hadar.accentsway on Instagram and my other social media accounts. And you can also check out my website at hadarshemesh.com for more free stuff.

If you’re gonna join us, let me know in the comments below. I really hope to see you there. In the meantime, have a great day, and I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.