How to pronounce

I've been struggling with my limited listening skill these days. I'm apt to feel lost when I'm listening to CNN news or an interview program in English. I'd say it doesn't happen to me all the time. I suppose I have no trouble when I'm in conversation with people. Why is that? If I don't get what they are talking about, I can ask them to explain to me. However, I have no chance to do it especially when I'm taking a listening test. I want to fix my weakness.

This is why I've just started to study how to pronounce from the start. If I can pronounce words properly, I should be able to understand them appropriately. I need to make progress for my listening.

This is "my pronounce" you can hear.


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If you're up for a challenge, here's a poem that includes many of the sounds of English while also illustrating that similar-looking words may be pronounced very differently. Even a native speaker might find this challenging to read aloud without stumbling a bit.

I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble but not you
On hiccough, thorough, slough and through.
Well done! And now you wish perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead, it's said like bed, not bead --
for goodness' sake don't call it 'deed'!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(they rhyme with suite and straight and debt).

A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there's doze and rose and lose --
Just look them up -- and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward
And font and front and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart --
Come, I've hardly made a start!

A dreadful language? Why, man alive!
I learned to speak it when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I sigh,
I'll not learn how before I die.

I used to have an MP3 of myself reading it, but I can't find it at the moment. If it turns up, I'll upload it somewhere and give you the link.

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Hi Emi. To get better at listening to CNN news, I suggest you listen to the news that you already know about. If you have some knowledge about the news already, you would know some of the words that they use, so it should be easier to understand.

Also, the accent that they use in those news is different. It is not too different, but is not exactly the same with what they use in NY, CA, or somewhere down south in the U.S. It is the standard English in U.S., and is clearer than other accents (I believe) and you just have to get used to it. The more you listen, the better you get.

Another thing that helped me with listening was movies. You can pick any movies, but have the English subtitles on when you watch it in English. Then you can match the sound with the letters. Especially, since you seem to like reading a lot, this might be a good way to improve your listening.

To Michael

It seems like a big challenge to me... I'm also interested in this. Would you please check my pronounciation if I try to read this and post it on this blog?

To tomo

Thanks! I t totally understand what you are saying. As you mentioned, some news are easy for me to get. That's because the topics are already familiar to me. To get use to CNN, I'm going to pick ones I know what happened. And I love movies, this seems to help me a lot!

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Hi Emi,
I'd be happy to check your pronunciation on this or anything else you'd like to record yourself reading. Just pick anything you find challenging and interesting and strive to deliver it well. If unsure how to say something, try looking it up on, then once you've nailed it you can work on reading out the whole thing smoothly.

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