Accent Reduction Practice Techniques

Accent Reduction Practice Techniques

Rehearse what you plan to say.

Rehearse what you plan to say.

In my accent reduction coaching program, I help international professionals reduce their accents and communicate clearly in American English.

Practice Techniques

One of the practice techniques that I recommend to my clients is REHEARSAL.

Let me explain what I mean….

I tell my clients, that before going into a situation where you’ll be conversing with native English speakers, giving a presentation, or leading a conference call, rehearse what you plan to say.

Anticipate, Plan & Practice

Depending on the context you should be able to anticipate many of the words and phrases that you’ll need to say.

  • Review the words you plan to say
  • Say these words in the appropriate phrases
  • Practice saying your phrases over & over until they feel natural

Try to Think in Phrases

Word by word pronunciation sounds foreign and choppy to the American listener.

Therefore, try to think and practice using phrases instead of individual words. Speaking in phrases will make you sound more fluent and confident.

Feeling Brave? Record Yourself!

If you’re feeling especially brave and motivated, make a recording of yourself saying these phrases.

As you listen to yourself, you’ll probably hear things about your speech that you don’t like. ☹ That’s GOOD though, because it gives you an opportunity to adjust and correct your errors.

Why Rehearse?

You may think that REHEARSING sounds kind of silly…..but think about it….

How do actors learn to speak with a different accent?

☛ They rehearse!

How do International Toastmasters get ready for a speech?

☛ They rehearse!

How does President Obama prepare for a speech?

☛ He rehearses.

What’s one effective way to practice your American English pronunciation?

That’s right……you need to rehearse.

Holding a rehearsal is a very effective way to practice the pronunciation and accent skills that you are working on.

Rehearse So That You Can Express YOUR BRILLIANT Ideas

 

Accent Reduction Training Programs

If you’re serious about making significant and noticeable changes to your American English communication skills, check out my accent reduction training programs.

I work with international professionals from all over the world, helping them communicate clearly and confidently in American English.

 

The Most Common Syllable Stress Pattern

You must use the correct syllable stress patterns

If you’re at all knowledgeable about American English pronunciation, you understand that using syllable stress correctly is one of the KEYS to clear communication.

American listeners need you to stress the correct syllable when you say a word. If you don’t do that, there’s a very good chance that they won’t understand you!

The most common syllable stress pattern

The info-graphic below shows you the most common syllable stress pattern in American English.

Take a look. You may be surprised at this very important rule for speaking clear American English.

Do you know this rule for speaking with an American accent?

How to stress 2 syllable nouns in American English

 

Read the graphic carefully to see how Americans stress syllables in two syllable nouns when they speak.

You simply must apply these rules in order to speak English in a way that Americans will understand.

Learn syllable stress rules & patterns

How can you learn these rules and patterns for correct American English pronunciation?

My iPad book for the American accent teaches you the fundamental rules for using syllable stress.

Rules, Sentence & Dialog Practice

Not only that, my iPad book provides you with sentences and dialogs that you can use to practice these patterns.

If you’re an iPad user working to improving your American accent, check out my very interactive, easy to use iBook.

Find out more about my iBook and download the first chapter for free!

☛ American Accent iPad Book.

Start learning the rules for syllable stress and put them into practice right away.✔ I guarantee that your American English will sound more clear.

 

 

Which words should I stress?

Don’t stress every word

Which words should I stress?

Which words should I stress?

One of the biggest American accent challenges my accent reduction coaching clients have to learn is choosing which words to stress in a sentence or phrase.

In fact, each week one of my clients will tell me~

Susan, I know that I’m not supposed to stress every word…but I’m not sure which words to stress and which words to reduce.

They understand something very important

You see….stressing every word equally, or stressing the wrong word in a sentence… creates an spoken melody that Americans find difficult to understand.

Stressing every word equally, or stressing the wrong word makes your speech sound foreign. This contributes to breakdowns in communication.

My clients understand this. But they don’t always know the rules for which word to stress.

Let me give you a few examples.

Japanese, Korean & Chinese speakers

Speakers of these languages tend to stress each word with the same emphasis. This makes their speech sound choppy and foreign to the native listener.

Spanish speakers

Spanish speakers tend to stress adjectives & pronouns instead of nouns.This pattern also sounds foreign to the native listener.

Indian language speakers

South Asian English speakers often stress compound nouns on the second part of the word. This sounds unusual to the native listener who expects to hear stress on the first part of the word.

Three easy rules for word stress

Learning to stress words correctly (or as we do in North America) will greatly enhance your spoken English skills.

Below are three easy rules you can use when deciding which word to stress.

1. Compound words are stressed on the first syllable.

Examples include homework, football, green card, fast food & highway

 

2. When an adjective is followed by a noun, stress the noun.

Examples include: pretty girl, little boy, fast car, big house & nice day

 

3. Two word place names are stressed on the second part.

Examples include: New York, New Jersey, Niagara Falls, Ocean City   ❀


Word stress can be tricky

It’s difficult to think about which word you should stress when you’re in the middle of a conversation!!

Even my most advanced accent reduction clients still make occasional mistakes when it comes to stressing words the way Americans do.

Word stress lessons

While word stress may seem unimportant to you now, keep in mind that it’s very important to your American English listeners! ✔

My American Accent Fundamentals iBook

My American Accent Fundamentals iBook teaches you many of the basic rules for using the correct word stress when you speak.

If you’re an iPad user who is working to improve your American accent, start learning the rules for word stress and much more in this cool interactive guide.

✰ American Accent iBook

Thanks for visiting my blog!

 

Do you pronounce phrasal verbs correctly?

Do you pronounce phrasal verbs correctly? 

pronounce phrasal verbs correctly

Do you pronounce phrasal verbs correctly?

Here are two quick rules that will allow you do this. In order to pronounce phrasal verbs correctly you need to employ both linking and syllable stress strategies.

What are phrasal verbs?

But before I explain the rules,  let me tell you what I mean by phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs are verbs that are made up of 2 small words. Examples include:

  • break up
  • take off
  • work out
  • log off
  • hand out
  • go over

Listen Here

 

Rule 1~ Phrasal verbs are stressed on the second part. Listen to how I pronounce each phrasal verb above. Listen to how I emphasize the second part.

You can hear that, right?

Rule 2~ Phrasal verbs are linked up tight together The last sound in the first part of a phrasal verb moves over to the second part.

Huh? Hold, on…let me demo that for you. I’ve written the list once more below showing the stress and the linking.

Listen again, noticing the stress and linking that I use.

  • breaKUP
  • takOFF
  • worDOUt
  • loGOFf
  • hanDOUT
  • goWOVer

Why are these two rules for phrasal verbs so important? It’s always important to stress words on the right part (or syllable) because that’s what Americans listen for.

If you don’t stress a word on the correct syllable, there’s a very good chance that native speakers won’t understand you.

Follow the link to learn why syllable stress is absolutely critical for clear communication.

Where can you learn all the rules for syllable stress?

I teach you many syllable stress rules, including practice with phrasal verbs correctly in all of my American accent courses.

Check out what I have for you by following this link. Susan’s American accent training courses.

My Blog

Or, keep reading the posts here on my blog. If you’re working to improve your American English communication skills, I have lots of very useful information to share with you.

Just add your name to the box on the upper right if you’d like to get fresh posts via email. ➚

Express your ideas. Get respect.

Express your ideas

Express your ideas

You Want to Express Your Ideas

The goal of a good accent reduction program should be learning to communicate in a way that enables you to express your ideas clearly and powerfully.

The goal should not merely learning to articulate vowel & consonant sounds.

I know that there are people who disagree with this statement. But I stand firm on this point.

Any training you invest in has simply GOT to be focused communication, not just the formation of sounds.

Authentic Communication is More Than Articulation

In many accent training programs the primary focus is on the articulation of sounds.

This is good….I teach this too.

But learning to articulate sounds is simply not enough!

You simply can’t communicate in a clear and meaningful style if you don’t learn to use American English syllable stress and intonation patterns.

How to Speak Clear American English

In order to speak in a way that will enable you to connect with others and get your ideas across, you need to speak using

And in order to learn these critical skills, you’ll probably need some training.

My accent reduction coaching program includes explicit lessons on the syllable stress and intonation patterns that you need to learn in order to become a clear and powerful communicator.

You Want to Get Respect

My coaching program is highly customized to ensure that you make noticeable changes in the words and phrases you say on a daily basis.

If you talk about enterprise architecture…we’ll use that term and related words in your program.

If you talk about oil & gas infrastructure…..we’ll use that term and related words in your program.

If you talk about managing technology teams….we’ll use that term and related words in your program.

You’ll learn to express your ideas in a manner that gets you the professional respect that you deserve.

Personal Training is Optimal

If you can afford it, personal training is optimal. No… it’s not cheap, but if you consider it an investment in your future…you’ll find that my training is an excellent value.

Of course you can take a class with lots of other people. You’ll definitely learn some good stuff. But when you sign up for a class, no one is going to

  1. work on your professional vocabulary
  2. provide you with personal feedback
  3. correct your homework with detailed attention
  4. help you achieve your career goals

There’s just not enough time for that when you take an accent reduction class. (I used to teach lots of classes so I know this first hand).

Serious About Communication?

If you’re serious about learning the skills you need for clear, engaging and powerful American English communication, take a look at how my FAST Accent Coaching Program works.

It’s not for everybody. It’s for people who are ready to make an investment in their communication skills.

FAST Accent Coaching Program

Consultations are mandatory and completely complementary.

Have trouble expressing your thoughts?

Do you have trouble expressing your thoughts?

Nobody understands my ideas

Nobody understands my ideas

The wise and super intelligent people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching problem frequently tell me this:

Susan, I often have trouble expressing my thoughts and ideas fluently. This is really frustrating! Sometimes I don’t even say things at meetings because I’m afraid I’ll mess up.

Fluency & Confidence

It seems like fluency in speaking and confidence go hand in hand. If you don’t sound fluent, you don’t feel or sound confident.

  • You hear yourself struggling
  • Others hear you struggling
  • The situation gets uncomfortable

Then you take a back seat, even though your ideas are insightful, money saving and relevant.

How to Speak More Fluently

When I work with people in my online accent reduction class and coaching programs, I teach them to speak more fluently by using THE THREE P’s METHOD for speaking American English.

Here it it⤵

Susan’s THREE P’s METHOD for Fluent American English

  • Phrases ~ Speak in phrases
  • Pitch ~ Use pitch emphasis on the key word in each phrase
  • Pauses ~ Pause slightly at the end of each phrase

Sounds simple, right?

Well, it usually takes most people a few weeks to catch on to this pattern, but once they do….

WOW…they definitely sound more clear and more fluent!

In fact you’ll be speaking with a melody that the American listener enjoys hearing.♬

The American Listener

I’ll tell you right here…if you speak in a manner that sounds choppy, monotone, word by word, with lots of ummz & ahhhz,  people will tune out.☹

Once they tune out, your ideas, no matter how good they are, won’t get heard.

And when your ideas don’t get heard, everyone in your organization loses!

Learn to Express Yourself Fluently

In my online Accent Reduction Class, I teach you to speak more clearly and fluently using my soon to be famous THREE P’s METHOD. Right now it’s only famous with my clients as you can see from the comment below.

I just finished watching your two online courses. And I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you.  The courses are really inspiring! The “phrases, pitch and pauses” method really makes sense and greatly summarizes the key to speak.

Interesting, isn’t it?

A Quote for You to Ponder

As you think more about fluency and pitch, phrases & pauses, I’ll leave you with a quote that I like from Marianne Williamson.

Express your thoughts

Express your thoughts

Thanks for visiting my blog…and do check out my online Accent Reduction Class. Invest in your communication skills and let your wisdom emerge!

What speech habits do you need to change?

Changing Speech Habits

Changing Speech Habits

Changing Speech Habits

What speech habits do you need to change to bring your American English up to the next level?

Everyone is Different

Everyone is different. Different language backgrounds, different careers, different goals…

This means that in order to speak American English with increased

  • clarity
  • professionalism
  • confidence
  • engagement

You’ll need to understand which of your current speech habits you need to change.

Good to Great

As Jim Collins says in his acclaimed bestselling book, Good to Great,

  • in order to have new ideas, we often need to let go of old ones
  • in order to learn, we first need to recognize what we need to unlearn

That’s how it works when you’re trying to change your accent. You’ve got to let go of some of your old ways of speaking.

And that can be challenging!

Most People Need to Learn About American English Melody

When if comes to American English, speaking with the right melody (stress & intonation) is really important.

Dos & Don’ts

Right now, you habitually speak using the patterns of your native language.

If your native language gives equal stress to each syllable, you’ll tend to do that when you speak American English (we definitely don’t do that!).

If your native language doesn’t use distinctive rising falling intonation patterns, you won’t do that when you speak American English (even though you should).

A Coach Can Help you Break Your Old Habits!

While working with a client in my accent reduction coaching program this morning, he said to me;

Susan, since we started working together, I’ve been able to break my old habits for speaking English. I’ve been able to learn the new habits I needed to make people understand me. It’s taken me awhile to do this. But it’s really happening.

His honest and thoughtful reflection really made my day!

And he’s right, I, and everyone else, now understands him much more easily. That’s because he’s broken some of his old speaking habits and adopted new ways,  the American way of

  • saying key words with the correct syllable stress
  • asking information questions using rising falling intonation

Your Habits 

If your career success depends on clear American English communication, you owe it to yourself to invest in some training. Read more information here on my blog to learn more about how to speak in a style that’s clear and engaging.

  1. Start with my syllable stress archive
  2. And then go to my intonation archive

Accent Reduction Training Courses

Or check out my training courses and start doing some focused work on your communication skills. Old habits are hard to change. But you can do this. You just have to start!

Thanks for visiting!

Accent Reduction Classes

My Online Accent Reduction Classes

In my online accent reduction class, Unlock Your American Accent, I teach you key secrets for speaking American English in a style that sounds:

Accent reduction classes

Accent reduction classes

  • clear
  • professional
  • engaging

The Key Skills

One of the key skills I teach you is how to use syllable stress correctly.

That’s because speaking with the correct syllable stress patterns is one of the BEST ways to improve your comprehensibility.

Test Yourself

Test YOUR knowledge of syllable stress now….Look at the words below.

How would you say these? Do you know which syllable to stress?

  • necessary, necessarily, necessity
  • economy, economical, economize
  • contribute, contribution
  • develop, development, developmental

The American Way

Here’s how an American English speaker would say these words. The → means to stress the preceding vowel sound.

  • nec→essary, necessar→ily, nece→ssity
  • eco→nomy, econo→mical, eco→nomize
  • contri→bute, contribu→tion
  • deve→lop, deve→lopment, developme→ntal

You can listen here.

If you did not stress these words the American way, there’s a very good chance that people won’t understand you when you say them. ☹

Incorrect Syllable Stress is a Big Problem!

Not understanding the rules for syllable stress is a real disadvantage if you want to speak super clear, comprehensible American English.

If you’ve never learned these rules, I encourage you to check out my online accent reduction classes at the link below.

➜ Unlock Your American Accent

The goal of this class is help people like you speak American English more clearly. I guarantee that you’ll learn all about

  • how to use syllable stress correctly
  • how to speak with the right pace
  • how to use friendly small talk

and many other key skills for taking your American English communication up to the next level.

See what this class is about by choosing the link above.

And THANKS for visiting my blog today!

 

 

Should I Speak English Quickly or Slowly?

Should I Speak English Quickly or Slowly?

Should I speak English quickly or slowly?

Should I speak English quickly or slowly?

Many of my  accent reduction coaching clients tell me,

“Susan, Americans speak quickly, so I think that I should speak quickly too.”

Here are my thoughts on this topic ☝

Native Speakers Speak Quickly

Many American born speakers DO speak English quickly.

They’re able to do this and still be UNDERSTOOD because…

1. They reduce and compact all of the less important words together using reductions, contractions & linking

2.  They emphasize the important words using pitch emphasis & pauses

Pitch Emphasis & Pauses

Good native speakers stress important words using vowel length and a slight rise in pitch. ⤴

The very best speakers will pause briefly after each important word.

Ahhhh!  As listeners, we love that! ♡ We love it because it gives us time to process what the speaker has said.

The Pace & Rhythm of Spoken American English 

Most non native speakers never learned to reduce & compact some words while emphasizing focus words.

That’s why you should not try to speak fast, unless you get some training.

Speaking with a Fast & Clear Pace

You CAN learn to speak English quickly & CLEARLY if you study and practice the following features of the spoken language:

  1. How to emphasize focus words &  and insert pauses
  2. How to use linking
  3. How to use contractions
  4. How to use stressed & reduced vowel sounds

Learning these skills takes practice, self reflection & dedication.

It’s not easy and you won’t learn to do this in a month. But…clear and engaging speech CAN be achieved!!

Clear Communication

If you’re an international professional, you’ll need some personal support and instruction in order to speak American English with a good pace.

Speaking with a clear and engaging pace is one skill that I teach people like you in my American Accent training programs.

If you’re a international business person working in engineering, IT, sales, marketing or management I encourage you to take a look at my American Accent training programs.

I’ll teach you proven techniques that will allow to speak clear American English.

Thanks for visiting my blog! ✸