Over the weekend I was working on vowel sound articulation with one of my accent reduction coaching clients. We were working on the difference between the /iy/ sound in the words feet & leave and the /I/ sound as in the words fit & live.
My client, a project manager at an international communications company, said “but Susan, I can’t even hear the difference between these two sounds.”
This is very common.
Non-native speakers can’t always hear the subtle differences between American English vowel sounds. But native speakers can hear the difference.
If you pronounce vowel sounds incorrectly, it contributes to your accent and leads to breakdowns in communication.
So, if you can’t hear the difference between vowel sounds such as /iy/ & /I/ (a big problem for Spanish speakers) or /ae & /e/, how can you improve the way you say them?
The truth is that you probably need some help to get started.
An accent reduction coach can tell you exactly what sounds and patterns are contributing to your accent. A coach can teach you how to hear the difference between American English vowel sounds.
Once you become aware of these sounds (and how they are different) you will begin to notice them when people say them. You will hear native English speakers using these sounds and you will wonder why you never heard them before!
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Tags: /iy/ & /I/ sounds, accent reduction coach, accent reduction spanish speakers, american english vowels