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Khoa Pham
Khoa Pham

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Improving communication - English pronunciation

Improving communication - English pronunciation

Improving communication - English pronunciation

People often say that it is easier to deal with computers than with human. Being able to solve computer problems and learn new things from the internet is so much fun and self rewarding. And what’s better than getting paid for doing what you love?

Well, the world is not always between you and the computer. If you turn your neck and see outside, there’s another thing called life. That is your family, your friends, your colleagues.

Work takes most of your time. You can just go to the office, do your own tasks, go home and call it a day. But normally you’re working in a team to deliver a product. You need to talk and discuss with other members to not only agree upon some solutions, but also build team spirit. The same goes in life. There’s lot more interesting things that worth discussing.

No one is busy in this world. It’s all about priorities. ~ anonymous

Effective communication

Do you have any moment when you discovered that you have been slicing oranges wrongly all in your life? Did you brush your hair correctly? There’s many small things that you assume you do correctly, but maybe you don’t.

Did you ever tell a joke and no one get it, simply because they couldn’t catch what you ‘re saying? Or if you ‘re trying to ask the speaker and he begged you to repeat several times? That’s quite embarrassed. Many of those things happened to me before. It takes some effort to communicate well.

Lucky for you if you was born in the culture and speak the native language. If you don’t then it’s something we can learn, not to 100% perfect but hopefully not too bad.


There are many factors in effective communication. The most basic thing is to use the language correctly. This post is about English pronunciation.

There’s lots of words we may pronounce incorrectly. Even if we work in an English speaking environment, we may overlook pronunciation and live on the assumption that we did it right. Until our friends complains that we do not. It’s OK to make mistakes, but not very OK to make them twice. Time to fix it.

What you don’t know is what you haven’t learned ~me

I’ve recently revised pronunciation and here are some lessons I learned. Hope it is helpful to you as well. This is not English teaching series, just some of the things I learned and I note it down. Of course the only way to learn fast is to talk with native speaker and practise a lot. But it’s also good to master the tiny fundamental bits. There are many Youtube videos in here.

Commonly mispronounced words

There are words we use often but possibly get them pronounced wrongly. I must say that English is weird language in that sometimes the word shouldn’t be pronounced it looks. It can be because of borrowed words or historical reasons. When you’re not sure how to pronounce, check in dictionary, don’t make assumption.

There can be some differences because of British and American English. I myself prefer study American English.

Here are some words that I used to pronounce wrongly 😂

have — /hæv/

of — /əv/

goes — /ɡoʊz/

rain — /reɪn/

back — /bæk/

content — /ˈkɑːntent/

salt — /sɔːlt/

file — /faɪl/

Here are some useful videos

Commonly mispronounced patterns

There are words that are pronounced differently depends on their part of speech and how syllables are stressed.

International phonetics alphabet

There are many ways to pronounce the same alphabet, so IPA is there to help you know how to pronounce the word. Unfortunately there are many versions of IPA and its derivatives. The correct way is to check the dictionary you’re using if they ‘re using some kind of Pronunciation respelling

Google Translate

I used to use Google Translate for its easy to use, and ability to translate a whole sentence at once. Some people ask What phonetic notation is Google dictionary using? and the phonetics is similar to Merriam Webster
Word Pronunciation Key | Merriam-Webster
*Hear the pronunciations for our written word pronunciation guides. Pronunciation Key: Quick Reference... Find out more…*

Oxford Dictionaries

Although Oxford may sound a bit British, they actually have both British and American English pronunciation. It’s also good to check their phonetics system
Key to pronunciation | Oxford English Dictionary
*To hear any pronunciation spoken aloud, click the blue play icon to the left of each transcription. The pronunciations…*

Silent letters

Silent letters are annoying and tricky to pronounced. They seem to be there just to confuse you.

Here are 2 videos that covers all letters that can be silent

Sound, stress, tone, rhythm

It’s not only about pronunciation, but they way we stress and say the sentence makes a big difference


When speaking fast, some letters get squeezed and omitted.


A good way to practise is to imitate and speak along. I myself really like TED talks, speeches and keynotes

Where to go from here

It’s quite embarrassed to discover something that we ‘ve been doing wrongly for the entire life, and it’s better to fix it early. Every little effort counts.

For another version of this post with Youtube videos embedded, check

Top comments (5)

mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

Nice article, I never knew non-english people thought this much about it.

Speaking just myself, and probably several I've worked with, I don't think pronunciation has ever been a real problem (assuming it's good enough to understand). Keep in mind us native speakers disagree a lot on this as well.

It's mostly about attitude. If I like somebody and want to understand them it makes very little difference how well they speak English. I dislike somebody, like an annoying colleague, it doesn't matter how refined their enunciation is, I'll just ignore them anyway.

onmyway133 profile image
Khoa Pham Author

Hi thanks. The most important is communication and attitude, like you said. I think pronunciation is a first step into getting people to understand us

midblue profile image
Jasper Stephenson • Edited on

I love this article! Thanks for stepping up to support all the non-native-English-speaking devs out there!

mrnoctv profile image
loctv • Edited on

Thanks, quite nice.

Btw, I've found a bug, 'not to bad' :))

🌚 Friends don't let friends browse without dark mode.

Sorry, it's true.