Students often ask me how they can lose their accent when speaking English. I have two things to say on the topic.
My first point is that you don’t want to entirely lose your accent. Accents protect you. When you’re in an English-speaking environment, an accent helps people know that you are not a native of their culture. If you make any mistakes, people are more likely to forgive you.
The second point is, of course, if your accent keeps people from understanding you, then you must try and reduce it as much as possible. Keeping in mind my first point – an accent is not always a bad thing – here are TEN TIPS that will help your pronunciation improve so that your accent does not interfere with understanding.
I want to ask you four questions that will help you think about whether you are a good language learner. Answer these questions honestly:
- Are you aware of your own learning style, and do you try to learn in ways that suit you?
- Do you do things outside of class that give you the chance to learn and use English?
- Are you curious about English? Do you try to understand how the language works?
- Do you have a realistic sense of how long you’re willing to learn English, and try to overcome your feelings of frustration?
For years, researchers have known that some people are better at learning languages than others. The question is why.
While it is true that people have different learning styles – and some methods may not be appropriate for all learners – it is also true that there are some qualities that all effective language learners share.
Here are four qualities shared by all good language learners.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an entire television station producing high-quality video programs designed to help you learn English? Well, I have news for you: there is! It’s the Australia Network, and whatever your English level, you can find professionally produced and entertaining programs to help you build your skills.
The Australia Network is Australia’s international television service. It streams Australian programs all over the world, via television and the Internet. Along with news, sports, and entertainment, the Australia Network also produces a number of video programs designed for English language learners. You can find all these videos online at http://australianetwork.com/learningenglish/. And best of all: they’re free!
Is it necessary to get English correct every time?
The short answer is NO! Speaking English correctly every time is a great goal, but it can give students a problem – especially when speaking English.
The problem is that too many students are scared of getting something wrong and this shuts them up. Bad move. Don’t be scared of making mistakes when you speak. You don’t have to be right all the time – you only need to communicate.
Here are three tips that will help you speak with confidence, even if your English skills are not 100%.
Consider the following learning situations, and decide which one YOU would prefer:
- You record a university professor giving a lecture. Later, you listen to the lecture again at home.
- Your teacher draws a lot of words and diagrams on the white board. You copy those words and diagrams in your notebook.
- Your teacher asks you to work on the computer. He doesn’t give you a lot of explanation; he lets you figure things out on your own, but is willing to answer questions.
All three examples represent good teaching and studying techniques, but if you prefer one situation over the others, it may tell you something about your learning style.
What is a learning style? Your learning style is how you, personally, like to learn. By understanding your learning style, you can find study strategies that will help you learn best.
During my first year at university in the United States, I had to:
- Read about 1,000 pages per week
- Participate in class seminars (discussions) nearly every day
- Write one 3-5 page paper every two weeks
- Write a 15-20 page independent research paper twice per semester
- Give a large, public presentation with a group of students
I did not take a single test my entire first year. I was judged entirely on my written and spoken work. My question for students who are planning to study abroad:
Are you ready for this?
The fact is, many Vietnamese students struggle during their first year in foreign universities. Why? Because even though they scored 7.0 or above on the IELTS, they have not prepared themselves with the foundation they need to succeed in a foreign academic environment.
What if I told you there’s a tool that can expand your English vocabulary and improve your writing – and it’s 100% FREE? Would you be interested?
Well, there is such a tool, and it’s called a thesaurus. Learning to use a thesaurus is one of the best things you can do to develop your vocabulary and writing skills.
What A Thesaurus Can Do For You
A thesaurus can add style to your writing and make it more interesting to read. Consider this sentence:
I had a great vacation and did a lot of interesting things.
Is that an interesting sentence? No, not at all. But let’s put a few of these words into the thesaurus and see what comes up:
Language Link Vietnam’s Board of Managers (BOM) creates the school’s executive strategy and is responsible for heading all major departments. The BOM has two foreign and two Vietnamese members.
It may be interesting for you to know that all four BOM members have a background in language education, both as teachers and as learners. Watch these short videos to:
- Practice listening to authentic English
- Test your understanding
- Get free, practical study tips from the people who run the school
To get the most from these videos, first listen and try to answer the questions below, before you look at the answers!
Watch the videos! →