10 Ways to Improve Your English

10 Ways to Improve Your EnglishImprove_English_ESL_classes_SanJose_CA

Speaking

1.Join an ESL class for regular practice in English.

2.Practice with a native English speaker every day for a few minutes. Tell your American friend, neighbor or workmate you are trying to improve your English, and ask them to chat with you each day.

3.Learn English sounds and pronunciation rules. Most helpful to learn are TH, R,L and the different vowel sounds. Use the expected stress in longer words. Learn to link your words together smoothly in a sentence, and not pronounce each word separately.

Listening

4.Watch TV programs with the subtitles on. Pre-recorded shows are best. Newscasts and live shows will have a lag between the dialogue and the printed caption.

5.“Eavesdrop” on English speakers around you. Listen to others conversations and try to figure out what they’re saying.

6.Listen to books on CD. It may help to have the printed book to look at as you listen. Listen without text for an added challenge. Check you public library for books on CD.

Reading

7.Read “easy reader” or “graded readers” children’s books. Your public library has hundreds of easy readers in the ‘juvenile’ section.

Writing

8.Write more in English – letters, emails, cards, or keep a diary.

Vocabulary

9.Keep a small notebook handy for jotting down new words and their meanings. Review your list and use new words in a sentence to help memorize them.

General

10.Make a goal for your English learning. Setting a goal is the best way to improve a skill.

Click here for the free printable 10 Ways to Improve Your English.

ESL Classes and English Pronunciation

ESL Lessons English Pronunciation San Jose CAWestGate Church, South Hills Campus sponsors two ESL classes. One group meets on Monday at WestGate Church, South Hills Campus (6601 Camden Ave), and the other meets on Wednesday at Cornerstone Church (5655 Gallup Dr). For more information on our adult ESL English classes in San Jose, California (runs from September to May every year) contact Westgate Church, South Hills Campus at 408-268-1676 or staff@westgatechurch.org.

Improve your work.  Improve your life.  Learn English today.

Visit and “like” our FB page at WestGate South Hills ESL – San Jose, CA

Voiced & Voiceless Sounds for -ed Endings

Knowing if the ending sound of a verb has a voiced or voiceless sounds helps with correctly pronouncing -ed endings.Voiced and Unvoiced Sounds English Pronunciation

“Voiced” is when our vocal cords vibrate.  This happens on sounds B, V, G, S, Voiced TH, ZH, J Y, W, R, L, M, N, NG and all vowels.

“Unvoiced” is when our vocal cords don’t vibrate. This happens on P, F, K, S, Unvoiced TH, SH and CH.

Feel vibration by putting your hand to your neck in front where your Adam’s apple is.

The ending sound of a verb helps us to pronounce the correct -ed ending. For example,  Today we park our car (an unvoiced ending).  Yesterday we parked our car.  Parked sounds like [parkt]

Today I use a pencil. (a voiced ending) Yesterday I used a pencil.  Used sounds like [uzd]

Here’s the “exception” rule: Today I wait for the doctor.  (a T or D ending) Yesterday I waited for the doctor. Waited sounds like [wait  id] and the “id” is an extra syllable.

 

 

How to Find the Root Word in Past Tense

When pronouncing past tense in English you look for the “root” word and then add the ending.How to Find the Root Word in Past Tense

What is the Root Word?

The root word is the base word, the word that has the primary meaning, before you add any ending, such as -ing, -ed or -ness.  In going, GO is the root word. In started, START is the root word.  In happiness, HAPPY is the root word.

When trying to pronounce a past tense word, you need to find the root word. Take off the ending of the word and see what’s left.  The last sound of the root word helps you know how to pronounce the -ed.

Past tense word     – the ending    = root word

helped   -ed   =help

poured  -ed   =pour

waited   -ed   =wait

The ending sound of help is unvoiced, so say [helpt] for helped.

The ending sound of pour is voiced, so say [pourd] for poured.

The ending sound of wait is T, so say [wait id] – 2 syllables –  for waited.

Pronouncing Past Tense with /id/

Pronouncing -ed words (or regular past tense) in English means learning 3 rules:pronouncing -ed endings

  1. when the ending sound of the root word is unvoiced (vocal cords don’t vibrate – P, F, K, S, unvoiced TH, SH, CH or X ) say /t/
  2. when the ending sound of the root word is voiced (vocal cords vibrate – B, V, G, Z, voiced TH, ZH, J, R, L, M, N, NG and all vowel sounds ) say /d/
  3. when the ending sound of the root word is T or D, say /id/.  And /id/ is a separate syllable!

With Rule #3 we say /id/.  And /id/ is a separate syllable. I wanted to swim sounds like I [want  id] to swim.

See a free printable for pronouncing past tense with a /id/.

Pronouncing Past Tense with /d/

Pronouncing -ed words (or regular past tense) in English means learning 3 rules:how to pronounce past tense voiced /d/

  1. when the ending sound of the root word is unvoiced (vocal cords don’t vibrate – P, F, K, S, unvoiced TH, SH, CH or X ) say /t/
  2. when the ending sound of the root word is voiced (vocal cords vibrate – B, V, G, Z, voiced TH, ZH, J, R, L, M, N, NG and all vowel sounds ) say /d/
  3. when the ending sound of the root word is T or D, say /id/.  And /id/ is a separate syllable!

With Rule #2 we say /d/.  The tree bloomed sounds like The tree [bloomd].

See a free printable for pronouncing past tense with a /d/.

Pronouncing Past Tense with /t/

ESL English pronunciation Silicon ValleyPronouncing -ed words (or regular past tense) in English means learning 3 rules:

  1. when the ending sound of the root word is unvoiced (vocal cords don’t vibrate – P, F, K, S, unvoiced TH, SH, CH or X ) say /t/
  2. when the ending sound of the root word is voiced (vocal cords vibrate – B, V, G, Z, voiced TH, ZH, J, R, L, M, N, NG and all vowel sounds ) say /d/
  3. when the ending sound of the root word is T or D, say /id/.  And /id/ is a separate syllable!

 

With Rule #1 we say /t/.  The dog barked sounds like The dog [barkt].

Try this new free printable for -ed words ending in /t/.