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I met a guy who was born deaf and learned to pronounce and speak English by watching peoples muscle structure change in their face (i.e., their cheeks moving and lips being manipulated) Is there a way for foreign speakers, who struggle with some pronunciation because their native languages difference in pronunciation to do the same as the deaf man I met? Also, what are some good resources on this? I know you can't see the tongue and other factors that come into pronunciation, but was wondering, as my first question states, if it would still be helpful.

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As per the FAQ, "How to improve my English" questions are considered off-topic. –  coleopterist Jan 23 '13 at 6:01
    
In voice schools (conservatory, voice studios, MFA/BFA programs), students are taught those skills: observe lips, teeth, buccinator, even the visible potion of tongue. For instance, Dudley Knight in his "Speaking with Skill" talks about 'vocal tract posture', which contains parameters that you are interested. In academic circles (like linguistics and phonetics offered by linguistics/phonetics professors), the instructors don't focus on developing these skills. Acquiring these skills are necessary for accent acquisition/elimination; but not sufficient, tho, since many other skills are required. –  RainDoctor Feb 1 '13 at 18:45
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closed as off topic by FumbleFingers, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, MετάEd, coleopterist, Jim Jan 23 '13 at 7:05

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1 Answer

Certainly, observing a native speaker's lips and cheeks movements as he/she speaks is a great way to familiarise yourself with how a English word should be pronounced. But I don't think it would help that much if you are a non-native speaker and you want to speak without an accent.

The main reason why you are struggling with some pronunciations is most likely because you've gotten too used to speaking the very native language of yours, in other words, you have the tendency to vibrate your vocal cords and move your tongue and lips in a way that creates a sound similar to your native language as you speak, thus resulting in mispronouncing some words or pronouncing them with the wrong stress.

Therefore I suggest that you take an hour every day to practice how to pronounce all the English vowels and consonants first until you are very well acquainted with them.

Then learn about syllable stresses, word stresses and intonations that create the pattern of natural sounding speech.

Here are some websites you may find useful:

a BBC guide to speaking standard British English

a youtube channel that teaches you how to speak more like an American

a website for purchasing audio books

Brain Cox monkey cage podcast (BrE)

New Yorker podcast (AmE)

Listen to them every day and imitate the native speaker's accent.

I would also suggest that you buy this book if you want to master the American accent.

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