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Peppy English Pronunciation Lessons

Learn English with Steve Ford - Peppy English Pronunciation 7

Hello! Hello! Hello all of my online students! Here is my next Peppy Pronunciation video 7. All of the tips you will find in this video are based on my experience with my teaching both in the classroom as well as with my online students.

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?


Many students feel discouraged because they’ve studied English for years, but they haven’t made much headway with their pronunciation. It makes them feel insecure when they speak. I see this all the time. For example, when I am doing my classes with my one-to-one students, I record a review at the end of the lesson. During the review, the student can hear his/her own voice. Many students say to me, “Steve, I can’t believe I really sound like that when I am talking in English”. Well, what I can tell you as I tell my students is that it’s never too late to polish your pronunciation with a few helpful tips.

Telephone English

Do you know how many people tell me they are scared to talk on the phone in English? I can tell you there are many! And I don’t blame them because some native speakers of English talk very quickly and link all of their words together. For example, when we want to confirm that someone has understood what we have said, we commonly will say, “Do you know what I mean?”. The thing is nobody would ever bother saying it that way. They would first of all take out the auxiliary verb do:

“You know what I mean?”

Then they would link the words together to make it roll off their tongue:


So try that one three times slowly and build up your speed so that you can not only understand how native speakers would say this, but also internalize it so that you can use it yourself. Use it or lose it as I say. :)


Dangerous Words

There are quite a few words in English whose vowel sounds are so close in the way they sound that they can be extremely embarrassing for non-native speakers. Let’s look at some examples:

sheet vs. shit (now that could be embarrassing)

beach vs. bitch(now that could be really embarrassing)

focus vs. f*ck us(now that’s just downright embarrassing)

You want to be sure that you can train the pronunciation of these words by finding words which have  similar vowel sounds. I mention a few in my video.


Is it necessary for me to speak like a native speaker?

My answer is a resounding YES! If you want to get a better paying job or get into a good university, pronunciation is taken into account. My personal experience ranges from teaching accent reduction to professionals working for multinational companies in their home country, professionals living in the USA or Canada as well as those who are preparing for University. Heck, I even teach the children of my students and I always make sure they pronounce the words correctly the first time to save them trouble further down the line.(later on)


Words of Advice

So many people ask me how they can improve their speaking in English. You need to set goals for how high you want to reach. Do you want English for travelling? Do you need English for your job? your studies? It’s important to know how high you want to go. It’s crucial that you can correct your incorrect pronunciation habits, but it takes time:

1. you make a mistake and don’t even notice

2. you make a mistake and notice after the fact

3. you make a mistake and notice just as the word comes out of your mouth

4. you catch yourself before you make the mistake in time to correct yourself

5. you totally eliminate your pronunciation mistake


Enjoy the video and have a great day! By the way, the corrected dialogue version is at the bottom of the “Quiz Answers” page.
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Learn English with Steve Ford - Peppy Pronunciation 6

Does pronunciation get you down in English? Do you need help with your speaking? You are not alone. With more than 8 million people and counting who have seen my videos, the most common question I get from everyone around the world is, "how can I improve my speaking?". You asked for help and I am answering back with a video to show you how you can create your own notation style to remember how to pronounce long tricky words effortlessly. I base my tips on my own personal experience learning French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Russian. You need to make the pronunciation of new words like a game, just as a child makes a game of it. If not, you are going to fall asleep 1 minute after you start training. If you feel you can learn through phonetic alphabets, lucky you. I have had so many one-to-one students come to me after studying at the top English schools of their country who still couldn't get their pronunciation right.

Confusing Phonetic Alphabets

Learning new words in English is hard enough without having to learn an entire new phonetic alphabet on top of that. Oh please! Even advanced of fluency students struggle with finding the right word to say in English. Do you think “in the heat of the moment” they’re going to remember the phonetic alphabet? My answer is why bother. You can try and find ways to spell out the pronunciation of any word in English with the English alphabet period! You don’t need to follow any pattern, make it up yourself. Let’s take a few examples!


Many students struggle with the following word: “culture”

What’s the problem here? When in many other languages the “u” sound sounds like “ewe”. That’s the sound we make when we feel repulsed by something. “Ewe” that’s gross!!!

But we don’t say C+EWE+L+CHURE, we say C+AH+L+CHURE.

How about another example: world

Oh this is a classic pain in the neck for my students. So break it apart: were +old

Can you say “were”? Sure you can! Can you say “old”?  Sure!

So put them far apart at first: were……..old, then closer: were…..old, then closer:were…old

were..old, then wereold. If you are still having problems, try practicing the “rl” sound as in “girl” and you should get the hang of it.

Syllable Stress

If you have many problems with syllable stress with long words in English, you might not be understood by native speakers. This can be very frustrating to say the least. So I have given you some tips once again based on my 20 years of teaching experience so please take advantage of it. It’s all laid out in the video so enjoy!
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