Understanding English—and making yourself understood

In my experience of teaching, tutoring and language coaching in Spain, these two frequent questions about learning English are surprisingly common—and very closely linked.

They are:

How can I improve my comprehension?
Why is proper pronunciation important?

To answer the above two questions, let us first consider another two questions:

Do you know how to pronounce ship and sheep in English? Two sheep
And the plurals?

A ship - not a sheep

—What about it and eat?

Or live and leave?

Or his and he’s?

Then (finally!), there’s the difference between (a) V and F, and (b) live music/football (etc.) vs to live a life of luxury.

Good pronunciation is essential because:

  1. English speakers will understand you when you speak to them and have a conversation.
  2. YOUR comprehension improves, too. When you listen, you will notice and understand more.
  3. It could help you to get a good job with a major employer and earn a high salary.
    (Was this third one the most important?
    If so, you might like to read this professional opinion from an English Human Resources recruitment specialist.)


Now, here are some pronunciation ideas for you to practise this week.

The letter R in English
There is no double R sound (air-ray air-ray) in English. Or at least, it is very infrequent – with a few possible exceptions in the Outer Hebrides! If you want to know how to pronounce the letter R in English, remember to keep your tongue DOWN and BACK in the mouth.

The letter T in English
Different from the letter D. Practise this sentence with a native speaker:
”David and Timothy decided that they wanted to do it on Tuesday or Thursday.”

Now, why not make a BIG difference to your auditory comprehension (listening skills) and pronunciation? Watch this video (for Spanish-speaking students) on this page, today. Hear how to pronounce the letter T and the letter R in English explained.

Remember, when your pronunciation is right, you will understand English speakers much more.
Practise with a native speaker or book lessons with an experienced language teacher, tutor and coach.

Good luck!

P.S. In case you didn’t notice the link above, see this email reply with feedback and observations from an HR interviewer who recruited Spanish job applicants during her career.


Good pronunciation in English helps applicants to get a good job - como pronunciar correctamente la R en ingles como pronunciar bien la letra T en ingles
Click the above to read why an HR expert says good pronunciation is essential in job interviews





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