first thing first I hope this is not off-topic.

So here's my problem: my spoken English is quite good, to the point that I'm sometimes mistaken for a native (American) speaker. However, there are words I still tend to mispronounce, especially when the English phonetics structures are not present in my mother tongue (I'm Italian).

For instance, a couple days ago somebody brought to my attention that I pronounce "ice" and "eyes" virtually in the same way, and these are the kind of things that are really hard to notice until a native points them out to you.

In other words, I feel like I reached a plateau in my learning process and I'm not sure how to proceed from here.

I should also mention that I get a lot of exposure to the language and I use it on everyday basis, so that alone is not helping anymore (or not helping fast enough).

I figured I could start reading about linguistics, and take a more structured approach to learn English (maybe learning the IPA would also help?), but I'm not sure is a good strategy.

Do you have any recommendation, books/websites/topics I should check out, or know anything else I could try? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Hellion, Janus Bahs Jacquet, user11550, GMB Jul 19 '14 at 21:08

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a request for resources. – FumbleFingers Jul 18 '14 at 19:28
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    @FumbleFingers: it is a request for guidance, not just resources. I formulated a pretty specific question that can very well be answered, I hope :) – laurids Jul 18 '14 at 19:51
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    The thing is, you can only practice pronunciation by actually pronouncing things. Reading or listening will not cut it, especially not at the level you are at. So no book or website can possibly help you, by design. You will absolutely need another human. I.e. hire a speech trainer (like actors do), or just keep practicing with friends. Any native speaker of any language learns proper pronunciation by constantly mispronouncing things, and constantly getting corrected by their parents. That is how it works. No native speaker ever has learned proper pronunciation from a book. Not a one. – RegDwigнt Jul 18 '14 at 21:18
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    That being said, "how do I improve my English" questions are indeed off-topic here. They are also rather localized to boot, because everyone's situation is completely different from everyone else's. You already are getting answers that have helped the answerers themselves, but won't help you if you've reached the point of getting mistaken for a native speaker. Get a speech trainer. Everything else is pointless. – RegDwigнt Jul 18 '14 at 21:20
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    I would really recommend learning the IPA signs. You would see the difference clearly: ice /ais/ and eyes /aiz/. /z/ is a vibrating s. – rogermue Jun 25 '15 at 7:42

While researching for my blog, I found that once you start watching for mistakes in other people's English, you also become aware of your own pronunciation mistakes. In particular, it was helpful to get the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, which is much more extensive than any other resource, websites included. Make sure you learn the phonetic alphabet, and consult books on linguistics even if they are hard to read at first. My native language is German, and I found books on English linguistics for German university students most helpful. They include typical mistakes made by German speakers when learning English. I'm sure similar books exist for Italian speakers.


A phonetics podcast website would surely help you. speakmoreclearly.com is such a website located in the UK. You can choose among three types of English language accents: British, American or Australian. Alison Pitman's learningbritishaccent.blogspot.com is an excellent website employing audio files and video files employing an RP British accent.


If you'd like to brush up on your pronunciation, I've heard good things about howjsay.com.

Otherwise, you could take a basic grammar class at a community college in your area if that's what you're looking for. I was born and raised in the Midwest but even I learned a lot from the grammar class that I took when I was in school. You might enjoy the challenge.

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