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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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The Glottal Stop

This lesson will tell you what a glottal stop is and then tell you how to use it. A glottal stop is also known as the voiceless glottal plosive and it’s used in many languages besides English. In fact, you probably use it without being aware of it. The glottal stop is called the glottal stop because the sound is made when the vocal cords close and stop the flow of air. The gap between the vocal cords is called the glottis. The glottal stop is also known as the voiceless glottal plosive, which means their air flow is obstructed between the lungs and the mouth by the closing of the vocal cords. The most pronounced use of the glottal stop can be found in Cockney English where the glottal stop replaces the /p/, the /t/, and the /k/ sounds when they are preceded by a stressed vowel sound and are followed by an unstressed vowel sound.


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Words Ending in -cuit

There are only two English words which end with the -cuit letter combination and both cause pronunciation problems for students. This lesson will look at both words, circuit and biscuit, and show you how to correctly pronounce them. It will also look at some sentences and expressions which use these words and will look at the speech features in those sentences. Features like the linking R, syllabic consonants, and elision are highlighted and explained.


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Words Ending in the Syllabic Consonant -*n

A syllabic consonant is a consonant that is pronounced as a syllable. The two main syllabic consonants in English are /l/ or /n/ sounds. The /n/ in the final syllable of words occurs in words like listen, while the /l/ syllabic consonant occurs at the end of word such as bottle. Syllabic consonants occur mainly in the final syllable of words but can also occur at the beginning or within words, too. In this lesson, we will look at the 10 sounds that precede final-syllable /n/ syllabic consonants. I’ve taken 11 English words that have a final-syllable /n/ syllabic consonant sound. These are representative of the most common sound and letter combinations that give us a syllabic consonant /n/ at the end of words. I have chosen one word for each of the following sounds which commonly precede the /n/ syllable consonant: /t/, /d/, /p/, /s/, /z/, /f/, /v/, /θ/, /ʃ/, and /ʒ/. The words include: button, garden, happen, listen, cousin, soften, seven, strengthen, fashion, musician, and occasion.


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Syllabic Consonants in Words Ending *LE

A syllabic consonant is a consonant that is pronounced as a syllable. The two main syllabic consonants in English are /l/ or /n/ sounds. The /l/ syllabic consonant occurs at the end of the word bottle, while the /n/ occurs in words like listen. Syllabic consonants occur mainly in the final syllable of words. In this lesson, we will look at the 11 possible letter combinations that can result in a final-syllable /l/ syllabic consonant: a syllable which has a consonant not a vowel as the peak. I have chosen one word for each of the following endings which produce a syllable consonant: -ble, -cle, -dle, -fle, -gle, -kle, -ple, -sle, -tle, -xle, and -zle. Some of these combinations have many examples, while others have few. There are no other -*le endings in English words which produce the /l/ syllabic consonant.


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Words Ending in -try

A vocabulary and pronunciation activator which will help you with the following words: try, entry, gantry, pantry, poetry, pastry, paltry, sultry, wintry, country, poultry, ancestry, industry, forestry, toiletry, dentistry, chemistry, carpentry, circuitry, and psychiatry. Not only will you learn how to use each of the words, but you will also learn how to pronounce sentences using them. I have analysed the speech features of each of the sentences to show you how English pronunciation works and to help you improve your own pronunciation, too. You can read each sentence in IPA symbols, too, giving you the chance to see how linking features like the linking R, the linking J, the linking W, and linking consonants work.


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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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Homophones and Homonyms

If we look at the words homophone and homonym we see that they both start with homo which means same. In the last part of homophone, phone means sound and in homonym, nym means name. Homophone means words that have the same sound but different meanings. There are several hundred homophones in English. Homonym means words that are written the same, but have different meanings, and maybe different pronunciations. This lesson uses many of my video English lessons to show you how homophones and homonyms are used, and also has some exercises to give you some practice of some of the common ones.  


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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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Tin Tin Tin

A quick look at how not all English from Britain sounds the same and how it can be quite confusing for students. There are 100s of regional accents and many distinct dialects in Britain. Many English people have difficulty understanding some of the more unusual varieties of English found in the British Isles, so it's no surprise that students of English are completely confounded when they first encounter such English. This lesson will introduce you to the wonderful world of the English heard in Yorkshire, a region of North East England, and a part of the country in which I spent some of my formative years.


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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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10 of our 99 Pronunciation British English Lessons


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