Do you use contractions when you speak English?

Do you use contractions when you speak English?

Many non native speakers don’t use contractions when they speak American English.

Instead, they speak word by word, saying phrases such as can not, do not, they will, that is and they are.

Contracted forms

Instead, you should be saying these contracted forms in conversations.

  • can’t
  • don’t
  • they’ll
  • that’s
  • they’re

I know it’s hard to believe, but when you don’t use contractions, it contributes to your accent!

Contractions help you speak with a better rhythm   

Using contractions help you speak using the correct rhythm of spoken English.

When you speak using contractions you’re able to:

  • reduce the sounds of function words
  • use more schwa vowel sounds
  • blend words together more smoothly
  • use American T sounds more effectively

Friendly, melodic & natural

Since you’re not giving equal emphasis to every word, your speech sounds more friendly, melodic and natural to the American listener.

I teach you how to use contractions and many other strategies you can use to reduce your accent in my Skype accent reduction coaching program.

☆My programs are guaranteed to help you speak American English with clarity and confidence!☆

 

 

Pronouncing career, carrier & Korea

Pronouncing career, carrier & Korea

How to pronounce career

How to pronounce career

One of my accent reduction coaching clients asked me a great question regarding the pronunciation of these three words:

- career

- carrier

- Korea

Easy to mispronounce 

These words are easy to mispronounce if you don’t  use American style syllable stress and schwa correctly!

Let’s take a look

1. career

The first vowel sound is schwa. The stressed vowel sound is stressed.

Say it like this: cǝ reɚ→

2. carrier

The first vowel sound is a stressed. The second syllable has a minor stress.

Say it like this: caɚ➝riʸɚ

3. Korea

The first vowel sound is schwa. The stressed vowel sound is in the middle.  Then add need to add another schwa.

Say it like this: Kǝre→ʸə

Listen here

 

Syllable stress & schwa are key!

If you want to speak American English clearly and professionally, you absolutely must learn the rules for syllable stress & schwa.

I teach you how to do use syllable stress & schwa to say the words you use everyday clearly and correctly in my accent reduction coaching programs.


 

How do you say insurance?

How do you say insurance?

How do you say insurance?

How do you say insurance?

Many of my accent reduction clients ask me how say the word insurance.

North Americans pronounce this word two different ways; i→nsurance & insur→ance.

My personal preference is to stress the second syllable.

Look & listen here

 

This is how I say & spell the word insurance for my accent reduction coaching clients:

insher➝ənce  

Note that the letter a has a reduced schwa vowel sound /ə/.

Respelling

Respelling mispronounced words is just one strategy that I use to help my accent reduction coaching clients speak American English more clearly and fluently.

Respelling always helps people visualize and pronounce words the correct way!

Are you ready to learn more?

If you are a bilingual professional who is working to improve your American English communication style, you may be interested in my American Accent Online Coaching program.

This is an intense, customized program for people who are serious about communicating more clearly and effectively.

 

How to pronounce suggestions

How to pronounce suggestions

How to pronounce suggestions

How to pronounce suggestions

One word that my accent reduction coaching clients often mispronounce is suggestions.

It’s tricky!

Let me tell you why suggestions is such a tricky word to pronounce.

The first g has a /g/ sound

The second g has a /ʤ/ sound

The ti also has a /ʤ/ sound

The s has a /z/ sound

Listen & practice

Try to say the word using the audio and my special spelling.

sug ʤes→ ʤenz

Similar words

The ti in the word questions also has a /ʤ/ sound, making it sound like this~

ques→ʤenz

Unlock the code

I help you unlock the code for saying words like suggestions, questions and hundreds of other difficult to pronounce words in my Skype accent reduction coaching program.

If speaking American English clearly and correctly is important to YOU, find out how my ☛ coaching program can work for you.

 

Why You Need to Use Syllable Stress Correctly

Why You Need to Use Syllable Stress Correctly

Use syllable stress correctly

Use syllable stress correctly

When you’re speaking American English it’s very important for you to use syllable stress correctly.

One reason is because English has many heteronyms.

Heteronyms are two words that are spelled identically. The way the words are pronounced determines their meaning.

Example #1

One good example of this is the word: ADDRESS.

When you say the word ‘address’ the way you use syllable stress changes the meaning of the word.

When you place stress is on the first syllable, address is a noun as in this sentence:
Susan’s a→ddress is 2010 Pine Street.

When you place stress on the second syllable, address becomes a verb.
Susan will əddre→ss the meeting tomorrow.

Example #2

Another example is the word PRESENT.

When you stress the first syllable, the word pre→sənt means a gift.

When you stress the second syllable prəse→nt becomes a verb that means ‘to give’.

Listen here

 

Schwa

Note that the reduced syllable in the verb form has a schwa /ə/ vowel sound. This is the reduced vowel sound found in unstressed syllables.

The vowel sounds in stressed syllables are lengthened and pronounced with a slightly higher pitch.

The vowel sounds in reduced syllables often have a schwa sound.

Again, note how the vowel sound in the unstressed syllable is reduced to schwa. The vowel in each stressed syllable is lengthened and pronounced with a slightly higher pitch.

Learn more

To learn more about how to use syllable stress and the schwa vowel sound, check out my iBook, American Accent Fundamentals.

American Accent Fundamentals - Susan M. Ryan

It’s informative, affordable and so easy to use on your iPad.

The first chapter is free in the iBookstore at the link above.

Why don’t people understand me when I speak English?

Why don’t people understand me when I speak English?

Do you wonder why people don’t always understand you when you speak English?

If you learned to speak English outside of North America, there’s a good chance that people in the US & Canada won’t understand everything you say.

But I read & write English at an advanced level

Why don't people understand me when I speak English?

Why don’t people understand me when I speak English?

All of the people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching program are:

  • well educated
  • professional
  • career oriented
  • successful

They read & write English at an advanced level.

Still, many of them speak English with an “accent” that American listeners find difficult to understand.

Personal accent reduction coaching

Many highly accomplished professionals choose to work with me on reducing their accents.

They understand that clear communication is critical for success in North America.

They want to understand WHY American listeners don’t always understand them.

They’re ready to learn techniques they apply use to change this.

How about you?

Maybe you never realized that your spoken English was a problem.

Then something happened that brought this to your attention.

  • Maybe your boss said that your communication skills weren’t satisfactory
  • Maybe you noticed that people look away or seem confused when you speak to them.
  • Perhaps you said a word that someone didn’t understand…so you had to spell it out.
  • Perhaps people avoid you because processing your speech takes too much effort.

Learn how Americans listen

Here is something you’ve never learned in your home country~

You never learned how Americans listen.☝

You never learned what cues Americans need to hear in order to process and understand a message.

Learn the techniques 

In my accent reduction coaching program, I teach you how to speak English in a way that Americans will understand.

I teach you very specific techniques and strategies including:

  1. How to speak with the right pace.
  2. How to ask questions correctly.
  3. How to lengthen vowel sounds.
  4. How to pronounce tricky consonant sounds.

It’s not your fault!

Don’t blame yourself if you are having problems being understood.

It’s not your fault that no one even taught you how Americans listen. It’s not your fault that no one ever taught you the rules for spoken American English.

Hundreds of professionals have made huge improvements in their communication style by investing in personal accent reduction coaching.

 Learn more about personal accent coaching

Learn more about the techniques you will learn and see how personal coaching works send me a message at susan@confidentvoice.com.

I’ll send you a PDF that contains details and prices.

You can make changes that will allow Americans to understand you!

 

Can you hear the difference?

Can you hear the difference?

Can you hear the difference?

Can you hear the difference?

Over the weekend, I was working on the /r/ & /l/ sounds with one of my accent reduction coaching clients from Japan.

My client, who works in international finance, said to me

“Susan, it’s difficult for me to say these sounds differently, because I can’t even hear the difference between these two sounds.”

This is very common

Many non-native speakers (especially adults) can’t hear the subtle differences between some American English consonant & vowel sounds.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Japanese speakers often have trouble distinguishing between the /r/ & /l/ sounds.
  • Chinese speakers often have trouble distinguishing between the /n/ & /l/ sounds.
  • Turkish, German, Russian & Indian language speakers often have trouble distinguishing between the /v/ & /w/ sounds.
  • Spanish & Portuguese speakers often have trouble distinguishing between the /iy/ & /i/ sounds.
  • Indian language speakers have trouble distinguishing between the /ɛ/ & /ae/ sounds.

Listening & correct pronunciation

If you can’t hear the difference between American English sounds, how can you improve the way you say them?

That’s a good question!

And the answer is, that you’ll probably need some training.

Personal coaching

Personal coaching is the most effective way to change your accent & speak more clearly.

That’s because an accent reduction coach can teach you how to hear the differences between sounds that you can’t hear now.

Once you become aware of new sounds and patterns, you’ll begin to notice them when listening to others.

With time and awareness, you’ll be able to say them correctly yourself.

Listening is critical

My accent reduction clients always comment that, once their training begins, they are able to hear American English sounds and patterns that they never noticed before.

Once they’ve been trained to hear the sounds & patterns of American English, they always speak more clearly.

Are you ready?

If you’re ready to bring your American English communication skills up to the next level, it’s time to act.

Just follow this link to see how personal accent reduction coaching will help you communicate in a manner that’s clear and engaging.

 

4 Presentation Tips for Non Native Speakers

4 Presentation Tips for Non Native Speakers

4 Presentation Tips for Non Native Speakers

4 Presentation Tips for Non Native Speakers

In my work as an accent reduction coach, I frequently help my clients prepare for presentations.

These may be presentations to management, investors, clients or academic presentations.

Here are 4 techniques you should use 

1. Underline the key words in your presentation text (yes, you should have a script).

2. Use extra pitch emphasis on your marked key words when you speak.

3. Insert a back slash/ after each key word to remind yourself to pause here (just a short pause).

4. Be sure to use rising-falling intonation at the end of statements and “wh” questions. ⤵

I’ve actually created a formula for this which I call the 3 P’s.

This may seem slow to you

Speaking in this way, emphasizing key words, pausing after key words and using rising falling intonation, may seem slow to you.

But I assure you, that your native listeners will appreciate it!

Toastmasters

I frequently recommend that my clients join a Toastmasters Club as a follow up action once they’ve completed their accent reduction coaching program.

Toastmasters is an international speaking club with chapters all over the world. It’s an excellent & supportive place to practice your presentation skills.

Ask Me a Question 

I’ve served as a mentor and coach to many non native English speaking Toastmasters.

If you are a current Toastmaster who would like some advice, use the Contact form at the top of the site to send me your question.


 

 

 

 

How to Pronounce Can & Can’t

How to Pronounce Can & Can’t

How to pronounce can & can't

How to pronounce can & can’t

My accent reduction coaching clients often tell me~

Susan, people don’t understand me when I say the words can & can’t.

3 Tips 

Here are 3 TIPS that will help you be understood when you say can & can’t.

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 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 vowel sound in 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! That’ll make you sound angry or abrupt.

Dialog with can & can’t

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, I cæn! (schwa vowel sound + long, clear /æ/sound)

 

Learn to speak American English clearly

In my iBook, American Accent Fundamentals, I teach you the rules for speaking American English using short dialogs like the one above.

Download the first chapter for FREE in the iBookstore at the button below.

American Accent Fundamentals - Susan M. Ryan

Start learning the rules for speaking clear American English today!