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99 Pronunciation British English Lessons

No matter how good your English grammar and vocabulary may be, if your pronunciation is so bad that nobody can understand a word you say, then you are at a grave disadvantage in regards to your English. These lessons have been designed to help you to improve your pronunciation, as well as other areas of your English.

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10 of our 99 Pronunciation British English Lessons

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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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Schwa Vowel / ə /

Activate your use of the Schwa, the most common English sound, with this Pronunciation Activation Pack. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack we will be looking at the sixth of the pure vowels the schwa / ə /. The schwa is the most commonly heard vowel sound in English. The schwa / ə / is a neutral central vowel which occurs as the peak of unstressed syllables. The exact sound and quality of the schwa / ə / depends on the sounds around it and so it is very difficult to produce it in isolation. The schwa sound / ə / has many spellings and can be made with any of the vowel letters A, E, I, O, and U, and any combination of these vowel letters. Only words of more than one syllable can contain the schwa sound. The schwa / ə / is the most commonly heard sound in British English.


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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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Snake

Snake is one of D. H. Lawrence's most famous poems and was published in the poetry collection Birds, Beasts and Flowers. I use this poem in this lesson to help you with your pronunciation, your vocabulary, your understanding of the British English IPA chart symbols, and to introduce you to this most beautiful of poems. Poems are a great way to enrich many aspects of your English and I hope that you enjoy the poem and the exercises included in the lesson.


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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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Sonnet 18

The most famous and well-known of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets is undoubtedly Sonnet 18 which begins, Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? This lesson looks at the pronunciation of the sonnet as well as providing a modern English translation of the sonnet to make it easier to understand. The lesson also looks at some of the old, obsolete language of Shakespeare, in particular the thee, thy, thou which appear in this sonnet. There is a full British English IPA phonetic transcript of the sonnet, too, to help students improve their knowledge and use of the 44 IPA symbols in British English.


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Sounds British - Word Stress

Learn about and practice syllables and word stress. In this Pronunciation Activation Pack, we are going to practice hearing the correct stress in English words. First, we will practice counting the syllables in words. Then, we will practice hearing where the main stress is in words. Finally, we will look at a comedy sketch which shows what happens when you mispronounce English words. Sounds British - Word Stress


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Speech Segments

A look at how and why speech is broken up into parts, or segments, and how this segmentation affects pronunciation. This lesson will help you to hear the breaks in speech that we get at speech segment boundaries but not within the segments themselves. This look at this important feature of pronunciation also looks at content and function words and shows how these words are hear prominently or less prominently.


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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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Syllabic Consonants -ism

-ism is a suffix appended to the end of many English words. It means taking sides with or imitation of. Pronunciation-wise, -ism has a syllabic consonant /m/ at the end. In this lesson, we’ll look at how we pronounce some common isms. The -isms include, ageism, asceticism, atheism, Buddhism, capitalism, communism, Cubism, Druidism, dualism, Expressionism, Judaism, racism, Romanticism, sexism, and socialism.


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10 of our 99 Pronunciation British English Lessons


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