I have been working on improving my English pronunciation and would be very grateful if some of you would listen to a two-minute clip of my speech and lend me your comments. The clip is 5MB in size and I've uploaded it to this URL: http://www.mediafire.com/?m2vmzzmj2ma . The text is from Richard III.

I would like to hear both your general impressions and any detailed remarks you may have. I am particularly interested in learning precisely what traits in my speech give me away as a second-language speaker, whether there is anything in my speech that would impede communication, and finally (mostly out of curiosity) whether you can guess my native language from my accent. (I have elementary training in grammar and phonetics, so please feel free to use technical terms if you wish.)

You're asking SO much.

However - one tip I would make is this: you need to speak with someone who can give you tips AS you talk!
A recording can be manipulated and it's often difficult to change after the fact. BUT - if you study with someone who is qualified to listen and provide
critical and constructive feedback, as you speak - you'll find it much more helpful!

There is NO shortcut to overcoming pronunciation issues. Just consistent hard work ad practice! BUT - you need to practice properly!
Remember - practice doesn't make perfect - practice makes PERMANENT - so you need to practice THE RIGHT WAY!

Please feel free to skype me anytime!
I'll help you if I can!

Caedmon, don't change anything. You speak English beautifully!
If English is in fact not your first language, my guess is that you're from India... ?
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?

I'm sorry if I made it seem like I was expecting a professional assessment of my pronunciation. I am really only looking for brief comments such as "this or that vowel has the wrong quality" or "too much aspiration" or "too little aspiration" - things that I suppose will strike a native speaker fairly immediately when he hears me speak. Here are some particular concerns I've been having, for instance:
- The distinction between voiced and voiceless sibilants (eyes-ice, ridge-rich) does not exist in my native language. I noticed that I had been hyperarticulating these in English, and sounding somewhat pedantic as a result.
- The secondary stress in compounds is still unclear to me.
- I sometimes tend to flap my r's between vowels instinctively, and sometimes not.
- I understand that the two diphthongs in "fair" and "poor" are on the verge of disappearing and being replaced with long monophthongs. When I pronounce these sounds myself, I feel as if I'm gliding over to a subtle schwa at the very end of them but I don't know if it comes across at all and, in case it does, if it sounds archaic or foreign or silly.

Thank you for the compliment. I'm not from India, but I'm glad that you think so. People from my country have a reputation for having a strong and distinctive foreign accent when they're speaking English, and this is what I really want to avoid. 

I think your pronouciation is fantastic. I think I would assume you were English. Nothing really leapt out at me as 'wrong' but bear in mind there isn't just one English accent, so any tiny variations are usually assumed to regional as long as overall the accent sounds authentic.

At times you sound a little bit stilted/odd intonation but I get the feeling that is because you were reciting Shakespear, which isn't natural modern language anyway. You might find it a better idea to pratice modern prose instead.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I too think your pronunciation was very good, and it certainly sounds like a more British than American accent. Like nona said, speaking poetry really is different from conversational speaking. Try to find maybe a transcript of a news broadcast by native English speakers.
Nona and Lakshwadeep:

Thank you both for listening. Regarding the regional variation that Nona mentions, this is in fact what I'm ultimately hoping for, i.e. that native English-speakers will react to my speech as if it was just a dialect with which they happen to be unfamiliar. That's one of the advantages of studying a language that is as widely spoken as English. I doubt the same situation would be possible in, say, Estonian or Navajo.
But i am very shy when i talk in english with someone.. Becoz i am afraid of making mistakes.. n talking wronge.. Emotion: smile

So i can't improve my eng enogh..
Emotion: smile

And another reason is that > I know many languages.. ( about 5 )
And the saying of '' a, b, c, d, e...... '' are diffirent in these languges i know..

So they always confuse my head.. Emotion: tongue tied Emotion: smile
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.