How to Break Bad Pronunciation Habits

How to Break Bad Pronunciation Habits

Bad pronunciation is a bad habit just
like any other. Some of us bite our nails. Others smoke cigarettes.
You probably don’t even remember the first time you did it, but now stopping
seems impossible. Today we’re talking about how to break those bad
pronunciation habits and save your speaking skills. Why don’t you start working on
forming a good habit right now and subscribe to our channel? We
publish new videos every week. So if you subscribe and hit that little bell to
turn on your notifications, you’ll be reminded to work on your listening
skills on a regular basis. I talked about why having good pronunciation is such an
asset for language learners in another video on our channel. Scroll down for the
link if you haven’t already seen it, or if you aren’t convinced that you need to
improve your accent. Forming bad habits is easy, but breaking them is hard. If
you’re an athlete, you’ll understand! It takes weeks of hard work to get into
good shape, but if you slack off for just a few days, you’ll end up nearly back to
where you started. And replacing a bad habit with a good one
is challenging, but not impossible. We often don’t realize that we’re forming
bad pronunciation habits. Obviously, if we did, we wouldn’t do it in the first place!
To make language learning as painless as possible, you should really try to learn
correct pronunciation right from the beginning. I’ll explain how to do that in
a minute, but first there are two main reasons why people develop bad
pronunciation habits. First, if you stick to reading and writing practice and
avoid speaking and listening, you’re never exposed to pronunciation. Your
memorization is influenced by how the language looks on paper, which for some
languages is worlds away from how it’s spoken. Think about the English word
“through.” If you only ever saw it written down and never heard it pronounced
correctly, there’s a very slim chance that the first time you pronounced it
you wouldn’t get it right, because of those three pesky silent letters. And the
second reason why many people develop bad pronunciation habits is that they
never practice with native speakers. Partnering up with a friend who’s
learning the same language as you is good because you can motivate each other
and hold each other accountable. But when it comes to actual practice,
they aren’t the ideal conversation partner, because they’re likely to make some of the same
mistakes you will. In order to avoid the need to break bad habits, it’s best to
form good ones from the very beginning of your language learning journey. To do
so, make sure your practice is balanced. Reading and writing are important skills
to learn, but make sure you don’t neglect listening and speaking. For speaking
practice, it’s best to do it with a native speaker. When you practice with an
expert at the language you’re learning, they’re able to point out your
pronunciation mistakes right when they happen, so that you can nip them in the
bud before they become ingrained bad habits. So, now you know why bad habits
form and how to build good ones from the get-go. But, if you’ve already developed a
bad habit, there are ways to break it. According to many studies, building or
replacing a habit takes between 21 and 30 days. You should make the effort to
deliberately change your pronunciation habit for about a month. At the beginning,
it will be a bit painful, because you’ll have to think a lot before you speak.
“Okay… I’m about to pronounce a word with the “th” sound… I need to make sure
my tongue is in the right position…” But eventually, you’ll end up on accent autopilot. Here
are some effective ways to correct your pronunciation habits in any language:
1) Find a native-speaking conversation partner This is my most important
recommendation. I’ve already told you why they’re so helpful. So now go find one! 2) Don’t shy away from tough sounds Once you have your conversation exchange set up,
and you know where your weaknesses lie, try to work those tricky
sounds into conversation as often as possible. You’ll have a tendency to shy
away from them, because they’re hard for you. But if you want to break your bad
pronunciation habits, you need to face your fears! The more you practice and get
corrected, the faster you’ll replace those bad pronunciation habits with good ones. 3) Focus on one or two sounds at a time Bad habits are already hard enough to
break on their own, and when you try to break a ton at once, it’s even harder.
Focus on one or two of your worst mistakes and really give it your all.
Once you’ve corrected those, which is already a major improvement, focus on
your more subtle errors. I made it a priority to work on the “u” and “ou” sounds when I was learning French, because it meant the difference between “beaucoup” and “beau cul”! 4) Practice with exercises to train
both your ear and your mouth You might not even realize that
you’ve formed a bad pronunciation habit. Sometimes, you’ll have to train your ear
to recognize the difference between the sound you’re saying and the correct sound. The International Phonetic
Alphabet, or IPA, can be a helpful tool for this. I’ve included a link to an explanation of the IPA, in case you’re not familiar with it. The MosaLingua Speak English with Confidence MasterClass is also a great resource for
English learners. Because it has special lessons for all of the trickiest sounds. 5) You may need to exaggerate a little bit as you work on replacing the bad
habits you’ve formed. When I was working on my rolled R in Spanish, I sounded like
a motorcycle engine. As silly as it sometimes felt, it really helped get my
mouth used to making that sound. And now I’ve toned it down a lot, and
almost sound like a normal person when I pronounce it… And finally, record yourself saying words with your target sounds periodically, so that you can measure
your progress. It’s encouraging to see – or hear – how far you’ve come. So, now it’s up
to you to identify your own bad pronunciation habits and get to work
breaking them. Luckily, now you have all the tools you need to do so! Good luck
and see you next time! If you learned something new from this
video, give it a thumbs up. Then, hit subscribe and turn on your notifications.
Have a look around our channel for more hacks and tips. And if you’re watching on
another social media platform, like or follow our page. See you next time!


5 thoughts on “How to Break Bad Pronunciation Habits”

  • Hello, there!

    I hope you enjoy the video. And if you have any questions, feel free to add a comment. We'll be happy to help!


  • Thanks for the video. I've had really bad habits pronunciation that I need to change, but it's a challenge because I am exposed to my mother language all time and no so much to English spoken.

  • Part of good pronunciation involves changing how letters, words and whole sentences are spoken. Good luck finding a native speaker who can explain the production of the sounds – Research is required!
    The other point is touched on, you may perceive sounds are the same because your native language hasn't required you to distinguish, or simply doesn't have the sounds.
    Again, finding explanation and quality native recording is required.
    Finally for English, alot of what you worry about actually doesn't matter to native speakers. If you are guided by what really causes unclear speech, you will save time
    Finally in English the vast majority of conversationa don't have a native speaker present! May be you need to think more globally rather than fixate on copying some standard accent

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