I don’t understand my American colleagues

I don’t understand my American colleagues

I don't understand my American colleagues

I don’t understand my American colleagues

The people I work with in my accent reduction coaching program often tell me,

Susan, I don’t understand my American colleagues. What can we do to change that?

This is especially true for my accent reduction coaching clients who live outside of the United States (in Europe, Singapore & Hong Kong).

Understanding Americans

If you have trouble understanding spoken American English, don’t worry!

This is not at all unusual.

Americans use reduced speech

One reason that American speakers are difficult to understand is because they use linking & reduced speech when they talk.

This is especially true when they speak among themselves.

When Americans use linking & reduced speech, the words seem to blend together. This can make it very difficult to understand what Americans are saying!

Here’s what you can do

Here’s what I tell my accent reduction clients~

Don’t listen for everything. Just listen for the most IMPORTANT words.

The most important words are usually:

  • nouns
  • main verbs
  • adjectives

American English speakers will emphasize nouns, verbs and adjectives in sentences.

If you listen for those words, instead of every single word….you should be able to get the essence of the message.

I show you how to understand American speech

In my accent reduction coaching program, I teach you how to listen to and communicate clearly and effectively with Americans.

I teach you how to reduce some words….and stress others.

I teach you the stressed based patterns of spoken English

I teach you the stressed based patterns of spoken English that will enable you to understand and be understood.

Since American English melody is based on a pattern of stressed and reduced words and syllables, learning these skills is probably the most effective way to improve the way you communicate.

About the author

Susan Ryan is the author of the ConfidentVoice blog and an American English communication and accent reduction coach.

How to Listen to American English Speakers

How to Listen to American English Speakers

How to Listen to American English Speakers

How to Listen to American English Speakers

This week one of my most thoughtful clients told me that he sometimes has a difficult time understanding American English speakers.

He said~

Susan, I can understand Americans when I speak with them one on one. But when there’s a group of Americans talking together, I don’t always understand what they’re saying.

Three strategies for listening

In response to his concern here are three listening strategies you can use to increase your understanding of spoken English.

1. Anticipate and predict what might be said

Before going into a situation where you will be conversing with American English speakers think about the context and predict how the conversation might proceed. You should be able to anticipate many of the words and phrases that people will say.

Review those words and phrases in your head or even write them down. This way you will be more ready to hear these words and phrases should they occur.

2. Don’t try to understand every word

Don’t listen for every word! American English speakers tend to pronounce verbs and nouns with more emphasis than the other words in a sentence. That’s because verbs and nouns words are the most important for meaning.

Listening for the key verb, nouns (and sometimes adjectives) reduces the amount of information you have to listen for.

3. Practice listening using online resources

One of the best online resources for practicing listening comprehension is

http://www.esl-lab.com

This is how I suggest you use the listening exercises you’ll find here.

First look at the title of the lesson and make some predictions about what words and phrases you might hear in the story.

Then look at the vocabulary words in the pre-listening exercises and make a few more predictions.

Then listen to the audio without looking at the text. Try to focus on the verbs and nouns (the words with the most emphasis).

After that check your comprehension by listening to the audio as you read the text. Notice which words and phrases you didn’t understand and make a note of them.

About the author

Susan Ryan is the author of the ConfidentVoice blog and an American English communication and accent reduction coach.

Will voice recognition software help me reduce my accent?

Will voice recognition software help you reduce your accent?

One of my accent reduction coaching clients asked my to listen to the native German speaking actress, Diane Kruger.

I was totally amazed at how beautifully Diane speaks American English.

Diane uses the American T sounds, she blends sounds together, she uses the schwa vowel sound. She uses American style intonation. Very impressive!

But, as I viewed the transcript posted on YouTube, I noticed that many of the words that Diane said were transcribed totally wrong.

View the first 30 seconds of this video and you’ll see what I mean.

Diane Kruger

 

Below is what YouTube transcribed.

i think the first movie that really left impression on me must americans

and say cuz i sighed in in germany and it was all dads in german

and i remember that is the first lady that my mom allowed me to you know be up for it was on it

ferry unanimous been like seven or eight and julie andrews just thought it was in really really bowman

So many of the transcribed words were totally wrong, and Diane speaks flawless American English!

The take away is…. don’t rely on voice recognition software to provide you with valuable feedback about your accent.

The way to get accurate and useful feedback is to work with an accent reduction coach.

 

How to speak clearly on the phone

How to speak clearly on the phone

How to speak clearly on the phone

How to speak clearly on the phone

In today’s work environment, talking on the phone is a big part of our day.

Many of my accent reduction coaching clients struggle with this. That’s why I show them techniques for how to speak clearly on the phone.

Speaking clearly on the phone

I teach them how to use techniques including:

  • How to answer calls with a friendly intonation style
  • How to spell out names and email addresses
  • How to articulate phone numbers clearly

Spelling names and articulating numbers is a critical skill for clear communication, especially when you’re talking on the phone.

Learn the techniques 

If you’re a career minded professional who wants to learn techniques for speaking clearly on the phone, at meetings and with clients, you may want to check out my accent reduction coaching program.

In my Skype based program, I work with you one on one to make sure that your communication is clear and easy for others to understand.

About the author

Susan Ryan is the author of the ConfidentVoice blog and an American English communication and accent reduction coach.

Do you use the /ɚ/ sound?

Do you use the /ɚ/ sound?

Do you use the :ɚ: sound?

Do you use the ɚ sound?

If you’re serious about refining your American accent, you need to know when to use the /ɚ/ sound.

Say/ɚ/ with light stress

There’s a good chance that you’re currently either

  • over-pronouncing this sound  (Spanish speakers)
  • dropping this sound  (Chinese speakers)

If you do that, your speech will sound unfamiliar to American listeners.

You should always say the /ɚ/ sound with light stress.

When to use the /ɚ/ sound

The unstressed /ɚ/sound is found in words including:

  1. Stanfɚd
  2. doctɚ
  3. sectɚ
  4. investɚ
  5. membɚ
  6. dollɚ
  7. infɚmation
  8. neighbɚhood

Listen here

 

Dropping this sound

Dropping this sound will make your words sound incomplete.

This often happens to Chinese speakers.

Over pronouncing this sound

Over pronouncing this sound will make your speech sound choppy.

This often happens to Spanish speakers.

Get some American accent coaching

If you’re a career minded professional who wants to refine your American accent, you may want to check out my accent reduction coaching program.

In my Skype based program, I work with you one on one to bring your communication skills up to the next level.

About the author

Susan Ryan is the author of the ConfidentVoice blog and an American English communication and accent reduction coach.

 

 

When an Accent Gets in the Way of a Job

When an Accent Gets in the Way of a Job

Career success

Career success

I came across a Wall Street Journal article titled, When an Accent Gets in the Way of a Job.

The article asks the question, “What does an accent mean for success in the workplace?”

Are employers biased?

In short, the answer is that we are often biased against accents that are difficult to understand.

People who speak with a non standard accent are often thought to be less competent and less credible.

Perception

Even though it’s illegal to discriminate against someone because of their accent, the way a hiring manager perceives an accent can affect decisions about hiring and promotions.

You can read the entire article here~
When an Accent Gets in the Way of a Job

Your career

In my accent reduction coaching program I work with professionals who experience this type of accent discrimination.

In their coaching sessions, they learn to speak American English in a manner that we “natives” perceive as friendly, professional and easy to understand

As one of my clients said, “We have to work harder to be rewarded because of our accents.” Unfortunately that is often the truth!

To learn more about how I help people to speak American English and read some comments from my clients, follow the link below. Take your career up to where it should be by improving the way you communicate.

I can help you achieve this!

About the author

Susan Ryan is the author of the ConfidentVoice blog and an American English communication and accent reduction coach.

3 Reasons to Use the Correct Intonation

3 Reasons to Use the Correct Intonation 

3 Reasons to Use the Correct Intonation

3 Reasons to Use the Correct Intonation

When speaking American English, in to be an effective communicator, you need to use the correct intonation.

While it’s important to articulate your vowel and consonant sounds correctly, using the right intonation is equally important.

Why is intonation important?

In American English we use different types of intonation (stress &  pitch) to express meaning and emotion when we speak. ♪

Three reasons to use the correct intonation

Here are 3 reasons why you want to use intonation patterns correctly~

✔ You’ll sound more friendly, approachable and caring.

✔ You’ll be able to ask questions clearly and effectively.

✔You’ll be able to speak with an engaging pace that sounds natural to the American listener.

Connect with others

If you want to connect with other people in a meaningful way, you must learn to use the correct intonation.

You simply can’t communicate effectively in American English without knowing how to use these patterns!

Communication

In my accent reduction coaching program, I show you that great communication goes beyond pronunciation.

My clients are often very surprised to learn this.

They’re always grateful that they did!

About the author

Susan Ryan is the author of the ConfidentVoice blog and an American English communication and accent reduction coach.

American English Pronunciation Video Tutorials

American English Pronunciation Video Tutorials

American English pronunciation video tutorials

American English pronunciation video tutorials

One excellent tool that I use with my clients is the American English pronunciation software developed at the University of Iowa.

The Phonetics Software shows you how to pronounce all of the American English vowel and consonant sounds using audio and video samples.

Animated diagrams

The animated diagrams show you how to move your tongue and lips to make each sound.

If you are looking for software that shows you how to articulate vowel and consonant sounds you really need to check out this free tool!

The official name is Phonetics: The Sounds of American English.

My video tutorials

Since the software uses phonetic symbols that many people are unfamiliar with, I’ve made a series of video tutorials to help people use it more easily.

You can watch these at the link below. ⬇

American English vowel & consonant video tutorials

Thanks for visiting my ConfidentVoice blog!

Trending news & funny videos on accents

Trending news & funny videos on accents 

Accent & communication news

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