June 26, 2016 Changing Your Pronunciation: Let’s Get (Re)Wired
Many of my clients express concern that they know what changes need to be made to produce English speech sounds accurately, and that they can make those changes when they are in training session, but that they find it difficult to make the changes when they are communicating out in the real world. This comes as no surprise. The brain is lousy multitasker! You can really only focus on one item at a time, and since we have to focus on the content of our speech when we talk, pronunciation usually is forced to take the back seat. It’s impossible to be your own speech police all the time, listening in for speech crimes. Think of speech is a collection of habits. You mastered the habit of your first language by the time you were 6 or 7. Chances are you have mastered many English sound habits too. So to get to the next level of pronunciation, it is a matter of habit formation and less self monitoring all the time when you are speaking “online”. The fact is, our brain cells are linked to each other in a vast network, and we have organized our networks for our first language. The good news is that through practice it is possible to rewire those networks so that the speech features of a second language happen without the need to make the changes consciously.
The key is practice. But just parroting lists of words and phrases alone is not a very effective way of reaching your goal of accurate English speech production.