My accent reduction coaching clients often tell me that people don’t understand them when they say the words can & can’t.
Just so you know…☝
This happens with both native and non native speakers.✔
Here are 3 TIPS that will help you pronounce these words correctly.
1. When CAN occurs at the end of a sentence
When CAN occurs at the end of a sentence, the vowel sound is /æ/ as in the word BLACK.
2. When CAN occurs at the beginning or middle of a sentence
When CAN occurs at the beginning or middle of a sentence it receives less stress. The vowel sound is reduced to the schwa /ə/ (uh sound).
3. The word CAN’T is always stressed
When you say CAN’T, the vowel sound is always /æ/ as in BLACK. Don’t over articulate the sound of the T though!
Here’s a sample dialog with can & can’t based on the rules above~
John: When cən you go to the movies with me? (schwa vowel sound)
Lisa: I cæn’t go this weekend because I have to work. (long, clear /æ/ sound)
John: Cən you go on Monday? (schwa vowel sound)
Lisa: I think I cən go then….let me check my schedule…yes, yes I cæn! (schwa vowel sound + long, clear /æ/sound)
The difference between can & can’t is often tough distinction to make. Pronouncing the /ae/ in can’t with a long clear sound is the most helpful thing you cən do!
For MORE TIPS on clear American English pronunciation, choose your language group below.
Tags: Accent Reduction Coaching, skype accent reduction