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17 Speaking British English Lessons

It's not easy to teaching speaking skills remotely through a website, however good the site is. To really practice your speaking skills, you need someone to speak to who can correct your mistakes as you go. The lessons here will go some way to helping you to improve your speaking skills by helping you to mirror the speech you hear in the lesson. In this way, you can notice how your speech differs from that in the lesson and, by recording your own speech, you can adjust your pronunciation to more accurately match that in the lesson.

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10 of our 17 Speaking British English Lessons

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Connected Speech

Learn about pronunciation in connected speech and how it can lead to missed or added sounds. When students begin to learn English, they learn words in isolation. Teachers drill their students to pronounce individual words as though these words will always sound the same. Yet, words are seldom heard in isolation, and are usually produced in a stream of sound. In the stream of sound, words join together, and interesting things happen where one word meets another word. In this lesson, we will try to identify what added information we can hear in sentences. We will also try to hear what information is missing in sentences. Noticing how your speech differs will help you to correct the way you speak to sound more English. Connected Speech.  


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Function and Content Words

An explanation of function and content words in English. The difference between function and content words is one of the key factors in English sentence stress and the rhythm of English. This lesson help you to better understand them. I’ve used the terms function and content words several times in this course up to now. I thought it was a good time to tell you what they are. Function words are also known as structure words, grammatical words, grammatical functors, grammatical morphemes, function morphemes, form words, and empty words. That list will give you a good idea of what they are.


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How to Talk About Mealtimes

This lesson looks at the vocabulary of meals. It looks at the difference between meal and dish. It looks at the names of the meals that we eat throughout the day including, breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, high tea, afternoon tea, teatime, and supper. You will also learn some vocabulary that useful when talking about meals including, course, dietary, dish, filling, foray, full, meal, pastries, pudding, replete, snack, starter, stuffed, and sweet. I have used a video English lesson from the Daily Dose of English series that I made back in 2010. This lesson is finally what I would have liked to have made back then, had the technology been available at that time.


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Linking Consonants - An Introduction

An introduction to linking consonants in British English. Linking consonants occur when a consonant at the end of a word is followed by a vowel sound during the unbroken sound stream within a speech segment. This lesson explains how linking consonants work, gives examples of sentences containing linking consonants and examines why each linking consonant happens, and then moves on to activate your ability to hear the linking consonants in sentences. By understanding how linking consonants work, you will improve your listening skills, too.


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Linking Sounds - An Introduction

Whether you are English, Chinese, Polynesian, Russian, or any other nationality, you share the same anatomy as me. This anatomy, in terms of our vocal tract, limits the sounds that we can easily say in a sentence. Of the two types of sounds in English, consonants and vowels, we cannot easily say two vowel sounds one after the other. Linking sounds bridge the gap between such difficult-to-say combinations of sounds. There are three linking sounds in English: the linking W, the linking J, and the linking R. This lesson will help you to see and hear how linking sounds work and how they can help you to improve not only your accent but also your listening skills.


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Lost Syllables

Lost or dropped syllables are an important feature of British English pronunciation. Every word has at least one syllable, and many have more. Some words lose a syllable when speaking in order to make it easier to keep the underlying rhythm of English. This lesson explains in detail what syllables are and shows you which words lose syllables when speaking. The exercises in the interactive quiz give you some practice in hearing the dropped syllables and will help you to practice dropping the syllables yourself to sound more natural and fluent.


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S or Z

When do we use the /s/ sound and when do we use the /z/ sound, and what’s the difference? Let’s find out… The two sounds /s/ and /z/ are very close and cause endless confusion for students. There are some rules and the rules are normally to do with the voiced and unvoiced sounds. A voiced sound is that made when we use our vocal cords. /z/ is the voiced form of the sound /s/, which is unvoiced. Put your fingers on your throat when you say the word buzz. You should feel a vibration in your throat at the end of the word. This is caused by the vocal cords vibrating and adding to the sound. Now say hiss. This time you should not feel any vibration in your throat. Your vocal cords are not involved in making the sound /s/.  


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Silent H at the Beginning of Words

Some English words begin with the letter H but don’t start with the / h / sound. This is because these words were borrowed into English from the original French. At first, they kept their French pronunciation, but gradually, over time, most of them became Anglicised and lost their French connection. Some of them, however, refused to lose their posh French pronunciation. These words, like honour, never had the / h / sound inserted at the beginning. I made this video and the English Activation Pack to help students like you learn which words should be pronounced with an initial / h / sound and which should not.


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Soft Drinks - Elision

Say the words soft and drinks in isolation and we hear the /t/ at the end of soft. We rarely hear the two words in isolation, however, and when we bring them together as soft drinks, we no longer hear the /t/ sound. This is an example of elision, or deletion of sounds at word boundaries. This lesson will help you to use this elision to sound more natural when you speak English. By understanding elision, your listening skills will improve as well as your general pronunciation.


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Sunny London - Pronunciation Activator

Many students see the letter O and feel that it should be pronounced like the O in on /ɒn/ or clock /ˈklɒk/. This lesson will show you that many common words are not pronounced as you might think. The words in this lesson include: clock, funny, god, honey, London, money, monkey, moth, son, sun, waffle, wag, wallet, wand, wander, want, warrant, warrior, wash, wasp, watch, wax, won, and wonder.   


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10 of our 17 Speaking British English Lessons


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