Using a key word sentence whether you are still working on your English pronunciation training, or whether you are practising a new accent in English, or whether you are about to do an English speaking test for Example like an IELTS test, really helps.
I was listening to an actress talking on the radio the other day. The actress was saying whenever she wanted to put on a certain accent, she had a particular sentence or phrase she would use to cue her into the accent. For example she used the words ‘car park’ to cue herself into a South African accent because it’s a good example of the way certain consonants and vowels are said in that accent, especially the ‘ar’ vowel. You can use this technique of a key word sentence or phrase, to work for you as well.
When we do English pronunciation training, we use all sorts of training material to help us, which is important and necessary. We can also use a ‘key word sentence’ to help us get in to the pronunciation we need quickly, in a real life situation.
English Pronunciation Training- Key Word Sentence. How does it work?
1. Choose a sentence or phrase that you know you can say really well. This means:-
- you say all the vowels in the words correctly
- you are making all the consonants lightly and aspirated enough for English
- you say it with the right stress and rhythm patterns- it flows well
- you use the right vocal tone and intonation ( for example the German vocal tone and pitch is much lower than that habitually used in English; or the intonation/pitch in English doesn’t go as high as that in Hindi when putting stress on a word in a sentence).
- you’re mimicking the accent or speech clarity you want exactly, with all it’s subtle elements. For example are you taking the /r/ sound out of the ‘or’, ‘ar’ and ‘er’ vowels in words for the British and Australian accent? Are you leaving the /r/ sounds in for the American accent? If you are leaving the /r/ in, is it the correct /r/- your new /r/ sound and not your original one?
You may ask ” How do I know I’m saying it exactly as it should be said? I.e., whether you’ve ‘nailed it’?
Record yourself and listen really carefully to all the elements, and also note if it sounds like the accent you want.
2. As you go in to the situation you need it for, say this key word phrase or sentence to yourself aloud a couple of times to cue yourself in to the English pronunciation or accent you need.
Oh, and don’t forget to breath deeply, and then smile to relax yourself (and those you are going to speak to).
This is a great tool so use it.
Best wishes, Esther