Learning the pronunciation of English as a foreign language is not just a matter of motivating yourself properly. You've got to know what to do to produce a particular English sound or sound sequence. Explaining, giving examples and providing exercises is all a teacher can do besides motivating you.
From fingering to articulation (not far off, is it?):
Here are some hints and tips:
- Practise on a daily basis (make sure you understand the meaning of 'daily').
- Practising a sound problem for 10-15 mins per day is more efficient than one hour twice a week.
- Use the technique of soliloquy in case nobody is present who can monitor you; talk to yourself loudly repeating one or two of the problem sounds embedded in words or short phrases.
- Speak slowly – don’t rush! Give your articulators and your brain time to learn these rapid movements and delicate co-ordinations – you are a human being, not a robot.
- Make transitions between sounds smoothly. When you practise sound combinations that you have difficulties with, start at such a slow speed that allows you to articulate this combination smoothly, without any pause between the sounds; if you mess it up, produce it even more slowly.
- Have someone competent monitor your attempts. In all probability, your self-discrimination is very poor at the beginning. Mistrust your ears!
- The person monitoring you has to combine in him- or herself three faculties:
- The person must have a good pronunciation and
- the person must be able to spot every mistake you make and
- the person must kick you in the shins whenever you make a mistake.
- Try backward-chaining complicated phrases, i.e. piece a complicated phrase together backwards. Here's an example:
- and thread
- needle and thread
- a needle and thread
- for a needle and thread
- looking for a needle and thread
- I'm looking for a needle and thread