My pronunciation practice based on English phonetics and phonology

Hi everyone. I’m a real EFL learner from Thailand. I don’t know how to write and speak English until the age of 15. When I was young, I lived in a rural area of Thailand. I didn’t have a chance to listen to English audios spoken by English native speakers or speak English with foreigners that much. When I was around 18, I was fortunate to be introduced to a linguistic course during my time at the university.
While my friends seem to learn English just to be able to communicate effectively, I constantly practice my English speaking skill.
Because I neither live in the U.S. and U.K nor have a native-speaker boyfriend, I start thinking about ways to sharpen my English listening and pronunciation by devoting most of my free time to study English phonetics and phonology. I self-study most of the time, so learning the phonological rules and training my speech articulators seem to be constructive and systematic methods in getting acquainted with English natural speech.
Since my practicing seems to be alone and lack of helpful suggestions for improvement, I’m eager to share my learning results with you. You can follow the link below to listen to my voice speaking English.

Audio 1 : Stream episode LightCandii- VOA News-May 15 2017 - Austrian Court Tells Facebook To Remove Hateful Speech by Light Candii podcast | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
Audio 2 : Stream episode LightCandii -VOA News-May 14 2017- Artificial Womb May Help Smallest Babies by Light Candii podcast | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

I’d love to hear some comments from you all.
I like learning English and also like helping others learn. Please feel free to let me know if you may have some questions to ask me.

Thank you. :slight_smile:


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You sound like a google translate robot.

It’s very nasal and it’s almost like you have partial deafness - that’s the only way i can explain it. When someone is partially deaf they can talk but it sounds like some things are muted and like some things go through the nose. Don’t take offence, none is meant.

It’s very good though. Just try to make it sound less robotic.

Hi. You’ve got a point. That doesn’t sound like an offense at all. I think 5% of my practice is from Google Text-to-speech English. That’s why it sounds pretty robotic. And It’s indeed very nasal. I’ve never expected my English speech to be nasal, but it’s always like that. I don’t know why. For the partial deafness, this point is very interesting. I’ve never thought about it before. Thank you. ^^

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Your English is very good, i would just try to make it sound more natural. Maybe imitate some real speakers and choose someone whose voice you like and copy them ?

I think that your English is very good.
Studying English phonetics and phonology seems to have been very effective.

French people speak English with a French accent, and German people, with a German accent. I suppose you speak English with a Thai accent. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you don’t have to choose and imitate any “weird” accent spoken by native speakers of English.

I would put more emphasis on writing than speaking.
(Who is your favorite English “writer”?)

If you are really interested in phonetics and the like, you might want to study English spoken with a French accent, for example.
How to Fake a French Accent

I would say the pronunciation of each individual word is pretty good, but the intonation/flow is lacking. If you don’t already, try shadowing while paying attention to the shape of whole phrases/sentences as opposed single words.

Isn’t it a “style” adopted in the VOA Special English?

Ah that makes sense. Perhaps it might be more effective to imitate something more conversational at natural speed. “Slow news” is much too easy for people at her level imho. It also doesn’t sound very realistic…

Oh, thanks a lot for saying that my English is good. I’m happy to know that my efforts pay off. ^^ I like reading and writing as well especially classical plays, poems, and literatures. My favorite authors are Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, John Steinbeck, etc. I think listening and talking seem to be my little bias because these skills are difficult for me to master when I get older. I also find it a little more challenging because Grammarly cannot correct my speech before I say things. Everything has to be trained from home so that I can try to say things in English as good as I can in real situations. In addition, I’ve observed that EFL adult learners seem to struggle a lot when trying to produce clear and fluent speeches. In many cases, it doesn’t mean they don’t know the rules or how to say things intelligibly. In fact, there may be something to do with regular practice and the flexibility of their speech articulators.
Well, I choose VOA because the reporter speaks English clearly and slowly. I can enjoy listening to VOA audios like I enjoy listening to music. Is it weird? ^^
I do have a keen interest in studying English phonetics and phonology, however, issues relating to English accents seem to be my less focus. I speak Isaan, a dialect widely spoken in the northeast of Thailand which is very similar to Loa language, with my family. I speak Thai language at work and school. I think my English accent may combine both Isaan and Thai languages/dialects. The reason that I do what I’m doing with my English speaking skill is because I just want to know how far I can go. I know well that EFL learners may or may not speak English with their mother tongue accents. Of course, some accents are really hard to understand. But in reality, I can’t do anything about it. :joy:

“Well, I choose VOA because the reporter speaks English clearly and slowly. Is it weird?”

I don’t think it is weird.

@Lara, you say your phonetics are good, but I heard many mistakes. I would give you more specific feedback, but I only do that if the recording is less than 1 minute long and a transcript is included in the post.

Hi, @Wulfgar. Thank you for your offer. I see your point. From my view, I like phonetics subject and I just got As from both phonetics and phonology subjects. That’s why I say I know something about it and can do it well (at least in the mentioned subjects back in 2012-2013). However, I’m still not a master. I still make mistakes. Also, I’m still not sure if I understand all the rules and theories I learned from those subjects and can even perfectly apply them. Seriously, I don’t mean that my phonetics in every aspect are perfect. Like I said earlier, I want to see how far I can go and I’m willing to hear feedback from you.
This is an audio I recently recorded. Stream episode My Treasured Memory by Light Candii podcast | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
Here is the script:
My most treasured memory is the experience of working at Walt Disney World.
Back then in 2012 during the spring months, I had an opportunity to do my internship as a lifeguard at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. I was just 21 and I was officially and exclusively introduced to Disney. At Disney, I learned how to work and live independently. I passed all training and was accepted as a crew member. I also made friends with my colleagues and learned how to connect with people from across the globe. No matter how many times I look back, this has become my most precious and unforgettable memory.
Thank you. ^^

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Hey @amop567, thank you for your comments. I do have problems with the intonation/flow. I’ve heard that shadowing technique is really helpful to level up the intonation/flow. I’ve realized for awhile now that phrases and sentences do have shapes. Even though the shape of a speech is not easy to be detected, I found the rules of intonation in a phonetics book a couple of years ago. But I haven’t managed to exclusively dig in and give myself a training related intonation yet. I’m gonna start focusing on this aspect in my next training. ^^

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I see. Even though the news is slow, it’s still difficult, really. I’ll try to practice “something that is more conversational at natural speed” in my next training. ^^

I put problem areas in parentheses:

My most treasured(treachured) memory is the experience of working at Walt(wall) Disney World. Back then in 2012 during the spring months(mawnts), I had an opportunity to do my internship(stressed tern instead of in) as a lifeguard at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon(lageun). I was just(jus) 21 and I was officially and exclusively introduced to Disney.(wrong tone – sounded like a question) At Disney, I learned how to work and live(love) independently. I passed all(aw) training and was accepted as a crew member. I also made friends with(wes) my colleagues and learned how to connect with(wis) people from across the globe. No(nuh) matter how many times(tams) I look back, this has become my most precious and unforgettable memory.

You have some other issues at the sentence level. Rather than describe those, I’ve provided a recording of the reading in west coast US pronunciation.

(note - I mispronounced “unforgettable” a little bit)

There are channels on YouTube dedicated to improving the pronunciation of non-native English speakers. Search for “accent reduction”. Rachel’s English ( Rachel's English - YouTube ) and Gabby Wallace ( 8 Ways to Speak English with an American Accent | Go Natural English - YouTube ) are two such channels. There are many others.

Your speech is very intelligible, however, and your accent is light. I agree with the previous suggestion to pay attention to the rhythm and intonation of your speech. Some related videos: How To Use English Rhythm & Intonation: Chunking Part 1 - YouTube and English: A Stress-Timed Language - American Pronunciation - YouTube