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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Can you help me improve my pronunciation?

    I only have been trying to learn to speak English for less than one month. I know it sounds terrible and monotone-ish, but I’m willing to hear criticism for the sake of improvement. I have only learnt how to write English, never have I ever tried to speak it correctly :(
    Do I sound weird, unnatural, or anything negative to the native's ears? Does my accent specifically point me out as belonging to a certain region? I could not be more grateful if anyone could provide me with some help.


    https://voca.ro/jzJyynb3n9Z
    Here’s the text I have tried to read out loud:
    “By the time your readers reach this sentence, they should know from context that it's a disappointed smile. The trick is to show them, not literally tell them, that she's disappointed. It's far more engaging. Less is more.”

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Can you help me improve my pronunciation?

    Quote Originally Posted by VietHoang View Post
    I only have been trying to learn to speak English for less than one month. I know it sounds terrible and monotone-ish, but I’m willing to hear criticism for the sake of improvement. I have only learnt only how to write English; never have I ever tried to speak it correctly.

    :( Please don't use homemade emoticons.

    Do I sound weird, unnatural, or anything negative to the native's ears? Does my accent specifically point me out as belonging to a certain region? I could not be more grateful if anyone could provide me with some help.

    https://voca.ro/jzJyynb3n9Z

    Here’s the text I have tried to read out loud:
    “By the time your readers reach this sentence, they should know from the context that it's a disappointed smile. The trick is to show them, not literally tell them, that she's disappointed. It's far more engaging and less is more.”
    Welcome to the forum.

    My honest opinion is that, although you enunciate all the words very carefully and clearly, you still have a strong accent. I would have guessed where you were from (roughly). The problem with reading pre-prepared texts is that they sound very artificial. Make a new recording - don't plan anything - just talk about yourself a little bit. It's much more useful for us to hear that so we can hear how naturally you speak the language.

    Note my corrections above. I have added two words to the text to reflect what you actually said in the recording.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Can you help me improve my pronunciation?

    Quote Originally Posted by VietHoang View Post
    Do I sound weird, unnatural, or anything negative to the native's ears? Does my accent specifically point me out as belonging to a certain region?
    Yes, yes, yes. Yes, you sound like you're from South-East Asia.

    I'd make a very different suggestion from that of emsr2d2 in post #2 above, which is this:

    Find a short audio/video clip of a native-speaker speaking clearly and naturally. Around two or three sentences. Make sure you select this very carefully. Make sure it's a young adult male. Choose someone you would like to sound like, or at least someone you think you could sound like. Listen to it over and over again, and proceed to try to imitate it as closely as you can, until you think that you sound the same. Then post a recording of yourself here.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 12-Nov-2019 at 18:20.

  4. Newbie
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    #4

    Re: Can you help me improve my pronunciation?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Welcome to the forum.

    My honest opinion is that, although you enunciate all the words very carefully and clearly, you still have a strong accent. I would have guessed where you were from (roughly). The problem with reading pre-prepared texts is that they sound very artificial. Make a new recording - don't plan anything - just talk about yourself a little bit. It's much more useful for us to hear that so we can hear how naturally you speak the language.

    Note my corrections above. I have added two words to the text to reflect what you actually said in the recording.
    Thank you so much for pointing out for me the errors. Since I learn English all by myself, It could be quite difficult for me to realize what I did incorrectly, for I donÂ’t have any teacher or someone alike to give me helpful and honest feedback.

    I know that it would probably be for the best if I try to aim for a more neutralize accent since the fact that people’s first impression of one’s accent could be judgemental sometimes is a thing which I’m well awared of. I only started learning how to speak English recently as you might know, and that the older you are the harder it is to change your accent doesn’t help either as it would just get more and more fixed. I don’t know if I could ever truly adopt a “better” accent. I could try to imitate a native person I like, which would help me recognising the intonation pattern and so on. One tip which I was given is to imitate TV reporters’s accents and ways of speaking, for theirs are the standard.

    Thank you for your time spent on listening to that terrible recording.

  5. Newbie
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    #5

    Re: Can you help me improve my pronunciation?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Yes, yes, yes. Yes, you sound like you're from South-East Asia.

    I'd make a very different suggestion from that of emsr2d2 in post #2 above, which is this:

    Find a short audio/video clip of a native-speaker speaking clearly and naturally. Around two or three sentences. Make sure you select this very carefully. Make sure it's a young adult male. Choose someone you would like to sound like, or at least someone you think you could sound like. Listen to it over and over again, and proceed to try to imitate it as closely as you can, until you think that you sound the same. Then post a recording of yourself here.
    Yes, I do come from SEA. It must be painfully obvious to the ear when anyone hears the posted recording.

    There is a funny thing that I couldn’t quite find a nice, male voice which I like enough to make me want to imitate them. But I absolutely adore Jessica Lange’s voice in this short interview. I just love her voice and want to sound like her so badly.

    Here’s a link which you can figure out why I love her voice, I wonder how I could sound like her:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=V3PK_fBIzBM

  6. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Can you help me improve my pronunciation?

    The problem is not your accent. The problem is that you have poor pronunciation. That's not the same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by VietHoang View Post
    Since I learn English all by myself, It could be quite difficult for me to realize what I did incorrectly, for I donÂ’t have any teacher or someone alike to give me helpful and honest feedback.
    This is just as I suspected, and this is partly why I suggested you find a good model and try to perform feedback on yourself.

    I know that it would probably be for the best if I try to aim for a more neutralize accent since the fact that people’s first impression of one’s accent could be judgemental sometimes is a thing which I’m well awared of. I only started learning how to speak English recently as you might know, and that the older you are the harder it is to change your accent doesn’t help either as it would just get more and more fixed. I don’t know if I could ever truly adopt a “better” accent. I could try to imitate a native person I like, which would help me recognising the intonation pattern and so on. One tip which I was given is to imitate TV reporters’s accents and ways of speaking, for theirs are the standard.
    I think you may misunderstand. You will always have a Vietnamese accent, but that is not a problem. Your aim should be to improve your pronunciation to an acceptable level. This is extremely hard to do without a teacher, especially at the level you're currently at.


    Quote Originally Posted by VietHoang View Post
    There is a funny thing that I couldn’t quite find a nice, male voice which I like enough to make me want to imitate them. But I absolutely adore Jessica Lange’s voice in this short interview. I just love her voice and want to sound like her so badly.
    You're absolutely sure you want to sound like a woman in her seventies? Well, if that's really what you want, okay, but I suggest you find a different model.

    May I ask how old you are?
    Last edited by jutfrank; 13-Nov-2019 at 03:16.

  7. Newbie
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    #7

    Re: Can you help me improve my pronunciation?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    The problem is not your accent. The problem is that you have poor pronunciation. That's not the same thing.

    This is just as I suspected, and this is partly why I suggested you find a good model and try to perform feedback on yourself.

    I think you may misunderstand. You will always have a Vietnamese accent, but that is not a problem. Your aim should be to improve your pronunciation to an acceptable level. This is extremely hard to do without a teacher, especially at the level you're currently at.

    You're absolutely sure you want to sound like a woman in her seventies? Well, if that's really what you want, okay, but I suggest you find a different model.

    May I ask how old you are?
    I’m so sorry for my poor pronunciation. Like what I’ve said, I don’t have a teacher and I’m not good at judging my own self at all. It would be such great if you could tell me my biggest pronunciation mistakes so I can change it for good.

    And I really do like Jessica Lange’s voice. It’s such an elegant and soft and just plain pleasing voice to my ear. I would love to be able to speak like that, and of course I wouldn’t or couldn’t sound exactly like that, but I could try to imitate her intonation and things.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 13-Nov-2019 at 22:45. Reason: Removed extra line breaks in the quote

  8. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Can you help me improve my pronunciation?

    Quote Originally Posted by VietHoang View Post
    It would be such great if you could tell me my biggest pronunciation mistakes so I can change it for good.
    It's not possible for us to work with you effectively. You need a teacher for that. You have many issues you need to work on. The two biggest problems are your intonation and fluency (the way you connect words together).

    And I really do like Jessica Lange’s voice. It’s such an elegant and soft and just plain pleasing voice to my ear. I would love to be able to speak like that, and of course I wouldn’t or couldn’t sound exactly like that, but I could try to imitate her intonation and things.
    Well, okay. Choose a part of that clip that's about eight seconds long and try to imitate her. Don't stop until you can do the best you can do.

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