American English Pronunciation Tips and Secrets

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Even if you have spent years in the U.S., people might still pick up on your accent if it doesn’t match Standard American English Pronunciation. Maybe you are tired of repeating yourself several times a day, or perhaps you would just like to avoid the infamous, “Where are you from?” question. Either way, you could definitely benefit from dedicating some time to American English Pronunciation practice. Here are some tips to help you in that process:

Learn to recognize the correct American English Pronunciation

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

The first step in speaking clearly is to listen clearly. Choose a few difficult words and pay attention to how various native speakers say those words – store cashiers, restaurant wait staff, radio DJs or news broadcasters. You might hear some variation among native speakers, but you should hear some of the same qualities in each different pronunciation.

Want to improve your American English Pronunciation? Forget about spelling.

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Unfortunately, American English isn’t written phonetically. This means one letter can make up to 20 different sounds. So spelling is very deceptive! Many people learned to read and write English first, and have memorized the correct spelling of each word. So they think that there is a round /o/ sound in the word “option” because it is spelled with the letter “o”, or that “word” and “bird” cannot rhyme because they are written with different vowels. The best way to learn American English is to close the dictionary, forget about how the word is spelled, and just listen. Try to make the same sounds as the native speaker you are imitating, no matter how the word is spelled.

Find a speech model with good American English Pronunciation.

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Like I mentioned before, there can be some variation among native English speakers, which can be confusing for someone trying to improve their pronunciation. Choose one person to be your “speech model”. This is not a friend or family member, but instead an American celebrity, actor/actress, or other public figure of your same gender. You should choose someone whose voice you enjoy and whom you enjoy watching. Spend a lot of time watching that person on television, or finding short clips of them on YouTube. Pause the video after each sentence and practice repeating the sentence, mimicking the speaker’s attitude, facial expressions, body language, etc. Go back and repeat the process again, until you can “do an impression” or “mimic” your speech model convincingly.

Watch your vowels!

Even though the English alphabet only has 5 written vowels, we have at least 11 spoken vowels in American English. These vowels are always a dead-giveaway for anyone who doesn’t have standard American English Pronunciation. Pay close attention to the vowels in any word you are working on pronouncing.

The words “beat-bit-bait-bet-bat-but-boot-boat-bite-bout” should each have different vowel sounds.

Use the right American English resources.

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Dictionary.com is a great resource for listening to the pronunciation of any given word. Merriam-Webster.com is another. Practice listening to the example pronunciation of the word you are studying, and then record yourself imitating the correct pronunciation

Seek help from an Accent Coach specializing in American English Pronunciation

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Although you can make a lot of progress on your own, you will be much more successful with a trained specialistwho can administer in depth evaluations, make personalized recommendations, and provide live feedback. Confidence Learning Services provides Accent Coaching worldwide via Skype, or on-site in East Tennessee.

 

Contact us today at 1-865-226-9477 to start out with a complimentary, no-strings attached Accent and Pronunciation Evaluation.

by Laura Brewer