How to Train Any Sound: Your Language Learning Superpower

How to train any new sound

  • Identify The Sound
  • Train Your Ears
  • Train Your Mouth

Step 1: Identify the Sound

When we talking about identifying a new sound, we are talking about understanding how we make the sound physically. What we are doing with our mouth, lips, tongue, etc. 

This is super important because it is not common for us to have a conceptual understanding of what we are doing with our mouths. 

For example, think about your hands. You know exactly what you are doing with your hands at all times. You know how to manipulate them, move them, you can make them do whatever you want. 

Think about playing basketball. If you are explaining to someone how to play basketball, you can say “Oh just do this with your hands, put your arm here, etc.” 

With our mouths, we can do the exact same thing. We can say, you are putting the tip of your tongue at behind your teeth and expelling air. But it takes some time to train that capacity to identify what your mouth is doing. 

So step one, identify new sounds. 

Step 2: Train your ear

It is one thing to conceptually understand how we produce a sound, it is another thing to be able to correctly hear the sound in a variety context. To train this, we will use audio exercises like minimal pairs and pronunciation beats to really make sure that you can hear the sound and distinguish between different sounds. 

Step 3: Train your mouth

Finally, you have to train your mouth. 

And I mean really train your mouth. It is fine if you can understand how we make a sound and you can hear the difference between to sounds, but our ultimate goal is to produce these sounds in conversations. 

To do that, we have to speak fast and produce these sounds automatically. It has to be second nature for us. So in order to do this, it requires hours of physically moving your mouth to get accustomed to new positions. 

Again, it’s like learning a new sport. You have to put in the time.