Hi, It’s Lisa Scott with losemyaccent.com. Over the next few weeks, I want to address a very common problem I see with my clients who are trying to improve their pronunciation. Does this sound familiar? You’ve been working very hard to improve your spoken English, practicing those new sounds whenever you have the chance, but it’s hard to remember to use your new American pronunciation in everyday conversation. If you stop to think about each sound you’re trying to say correctly, you’d never finish a sentence!
So, what can you do to remind yourself to use your new skills when talking with friends or discussing a project at work?
It’s really a matter of developing a new habit, and it works much the same as any new habit you might try to learn, like making your bed in the morning or unloading the dishwasher before bed. The hard part at this point is not figuring out HOW to do it, but consistently remembering to do it every day.
Research has shown that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit, so if you want to improve your spoken English in everyday life, you need to remind yourself to use the new pronunciation for at least 21 days. Of course, you will feel overwhelmed if you try to remember every sound you’ve learned all at once.
So, here is my recommendation. Pick one sound to focus on at a time.
Now, you need to figure out the best way to remind yourself to use that new sound. We’re going to discuss how to use your senses to do just that. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing these options in more detail, but I want to give you an overview to get started.
Unless you have a disability, you use the five senses of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling every day. You probably prefer one sense over another, but you may not know which one helps you remember the best.
Well, we’re going to do some experiments to find out. I will show you how to use each of your senses as a cue to remind you to use your new and improved spoken English in daily conversations. We’ll try things like looking at brightly-colored paper, listening to a bell, touching a rock, tasting sour candy, and smelling perfume.
How do you think you could use these activities to remind you to use better American pronunciation?
Share your ideas in the comments below, and be sure to watch next week to learn how brightly colored sticky notes could be your key to English- speaking success! See you next time!