Dear Sir/Ma,I am a Nigerian, here in Finland for a degree programme in Oulu...
I am a Nigerian, here in Finland for a degree programme in Oulu University of Applied Science. I feel so bad when I speak in Class, people don't get to understand me because of my strong accent.This bothers me a lot and feel so ashamed.
My question is; How, where can I better my spoken English, so that I can confidently communicate well with the Westerners for them to understand me clearly well without repeating myself over and over again.
Thank you for your question.
English is spoken so widely and in so many various ways through the world that it is possible to say that there are several different English languages. Nigerian English is just one member in a large family of many different English languages.
Irish English, Caribbean English, South African English and Indian English can also cause problems for people who are used to listen only to British, American or International English. But they are still languages with their own characteristics, not some kinds of bad habits. :-)
Language is a very important feature of your national and personal identity, so please don’t be ashamed of it – there’s nothing wrong with your language. English spoken in Western world isn’t any better than English spoken in Nigeria. It’s just different.
Here is some information about the special characters of Nigerian English:
I still understand your problem: it is easier to communicate with other people if your pronunciation style quite matches. If you want to learn International English (or Globish as some call it) or British English, I suggest that you could go to Oulu City Library and borrow some material.
Here is some information about the library: http://www.ouka.fi/kirjasto/english/index.html
And here are few useful books and cd’s I found from Oulu City Library’s database:
Hancock, Mark: English pronunciation in use [Moniviestin] : self-study and classroom use (2003-2005) (1 book and 4 cd’s)
Vaughan-Rees, Michael: Test your pronunciation (2002) (book)
Jones, Daniel: English pronouncing dictionary (2001) (book)
O’Connor, Joseph Desmond: Better English pronunciation (1991) (book)
Baker, Ann: Ship or sheep? [Moniviestin] : an intermediate pronunciation course (2007) (1 book and 4 cd’s)
You can go to the library and ask for these items, or you can check their status straight from the library database https://oukasrv6.ouka.fi/Intro?formid=find2&sesid=1289207009&ulang=eng and make reservations.
There is also lot of material in Internet. Just go to Google, write English pronunciation as a keyword and start looking for good search results.
Best luck for your studies!
(I know my English isn’t very good but I hope you get the message. :-) )