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What are the IPA symbols for American vowel sounds?

What are the IPA symbols for American vowel sounds?

What are the IPA symbols for American vowel sounds?

What are the IPA symbols for American vowel sounds?

Many of the people who work with me in my accent reduction coaching program have been studying spoken English on their own for some time.

But they’ve reached a plateau in their learning.

They understand that in order to move up to the next level, they need some coaching.

IPA symbols

One question my clients often ask, is which IPA symbols to use for the American vowel sounds.

These symbols can be confusing because each dictionary uses slightly different symbols.

IPA symbols from the Longman Dictionary

Below are the IPA symbols that the Longman Dictionary uses for the 12 American vowel sounds. Diphthongs are not listed here.

  1. /i/beat, feed
  2. /ɪ/bit, did
  3. /eɪ/date, paid
  4. /ɛ/bet, bed
  5. /æ/bat, bad
  6. /ɑ/box, odd, father
  7. /ɔ/bought, dog
  8. /oʊ/boat, road
  9. /ʊ/book, good
  10. /u/boot, food, student
  11. /ʌ/but, mud, mother
  12. /ə/banana, among

 Color Vowel Chart Methodology

In my accent reduction coaching program, I use the  Color Vowel Chart methodology to teach the American vowel sounds to my clients.

I use this tool because:

  • it’s visual
  • it’s easy to remember
  • one can use symbols, colors or both to remember the sounds

My clients LOVE using the Color Vowel chart method. It enables them to understand and use teh American vowel sounds more clearly and consistently.

Bring your American English up to the next level

If you’ve been studying American English pronunciation on your own, and you’re ready to step up to the next level, see how my accent reduction coaching program can help you achieve your communication goals.

 

 

Praat Software for Accent Reduction

Accent reduction software

Accent reduction software

Praat Software for Accent Reduction

One supplementary resource that I use with my accent reduction coaching clients is the Praat Language lab software.

How my clients use Praat Software

Most of my clients are working to improve their word clarity by using syllable stress.

The Praat software helps them practice and correct American English syllable stress patterns.

Visualize the stress & reductions

The Praat spectrogram allows my clients (and you) to visualize syllable stress (vowel length & pitch) thus increasing word clarity.

The best words to stress in sentences

Praat also provides practice and feedback for with word stress in sentences.

This is a skill that’s very important for anyone who wants to communicate with a more familiar American melody.

And it’s free!

Praat Language lab software is free (based at my alma mater, the University of Minnesota).

You can start using it right away. Just follow the link below.

Praat Language Lab Software

 

How to pronounce say, says & said

How to pronounce say, says & saidSpeak clearly in American English

The people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching program are often surprised when they learn the correct American English pronunciation of the words:

  • say
  • says
  • said

The spelling of these words does not clearly indicate how they should be pronounced.

Here’s the correct pronunciation.

/ɛ/ as in Red

  • says   (sez)
  • said

/ey/ as in Gray

  • say

Listen here

Spelling vs pronunciation

American English spelling and pronunciation are not always a good match.

This makes using the correct pronunciation challenging for non native speakers.

I show you how

In my accent reduction coaching programs I show you how to pronounce the words you say every day in a style that sounds clear and natural.

For smooth speech speak in chunks

For smooth speech speak in chunks

For smoother speech speak in chunks

For smoother speech speak in chunks

If you wanna speak American English in a manner that sounds smooth and natural, put aside the idea of speaking word by word.

Native speakers rarely speak word by word.

Instead they speak in phrases or “chunks of speech”.

How it works

Smaller words including and, or, of, to, as & for are almost always reduced.

Sometimes the vowels in these words have a schwa vowel sound /ǝ/. Sometimes there’s no vowel sound at all.

When you reduce & blend these little words while stressing the more important words, your speaking melody will sound more American.

Common chunks of speech

  1. salt ‘n pepper
  2. in ‘n out
  3. black ‘n white
  4. sooner ‘r later
  5. now ‘r later
  6. kində busy
  7. kində tired
  8. day də day

Listen here

 

Word by word vs chunks of speech

You can certainly speak American English word by word. People will understand you if you do that.

And for some people learning to articulate every word may be a good first step.

But for those of you who want your American English to sound smooth and natural, and less foreign, learning to use chunks of speech will better enable you to achieve your communication goals.

American Accent Tip for Smooth Speech

Smooth speech

American accent quiz smooth speech

American Accent Tip for Smooth Speech

If you want to speak smooth American English, here’s a great technique you can use.

It has to do with linking words together.

It has to do with linking phrasal verbs together.

Linking phrasal verbs

Most of my accent reduction coaching clients never learned how to stress and link phrasal verbs together in order to say them more smoothly.

  • Phrasal verbs are always stressed on the second part.
  • The two parts are linked together
  • They are not said as separate words!
  • That sounds too choppy to the American listener!

Common examples

  1. loGIN (log in)
  2. loGON  (log on)
  3. loGOUt (log out)
  4. turNON  (turn on)
  5. turNOFF  (turn off)
  6. tuneDUP  (tuned up)
  7. bacKUP  (back up)
  8. pushedBACK  (pushed back)
  9. puDOFF  (put off)
  10. sigNIN  (sign in)

Listen here

 

There are many more phrasal verbs that Americans love to use.

Speak smooth American English

Stressing phrasal verbs on the second part and linking the two words together is just one way to speak English smoothly. ♬

To learn more proven tips for speaking smooth American English, check out my training programs.

Or read more free tips here on my ConfidentVoice blog.

 

American English Intonation Patterns

American English Intonation Patterns

Speak with intonation

Speak with friendly intonation!

The people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching program want to speak American English in a way that sounds:

  • clear
  • natural
  • friendly

In order to achieve this, one key skill that I show them is how to speak using American English intonation. ♬

Learning to use intonation

Intonation is difficult to learn from a book.

Most people need direct instruction on how to hear American intonation and how apply it correctly!

Intonation types

While there are rules you can learn about intonation including:

  • Rising/falling intonation⤵
  • Rising intonation ⤴
  • Continuation rise or series intonation ⤻ ⤻ ⤻ ⤵

….the rules are not always clear cut.

Intonation is nuanced

Intonation is nuanced because it’s related to meaning…and meaning is emotional and constantly changing.

Here’s a link to my archive of posts about American English intonation.

Follow the link to learn more tips for speaking American English in a manner that’s clear, natural & friendly.

 

 

5 Words that IT Professionals Mispronounce

5 Words that IT Professionals Mispronounce

5 Words that IT Professionals Mispronounce

5 Words that IT Professionals Mispronounce

In my accent reduction coaching program, I work with IT professionals originally from India, China & Latin America…and a few other countries.

While working with these very talented architects & engineers, I’ve been collecting their most common mispronunciations.

Below are 5 of the most common words. Well, 9 words actually….that international IT professionals mispronounce.

  1. architect/architecture
  2. develop/development
  3. maintain/maintenance
  4. program/programmer
  5. infrastructure

It you’re an international IT professional, say these words to yourself right now.

The American way

Now I’m going to show you how to say these words the American way, using syllable stress.

  1. ar➝chitect/ar➝chitecture
  2. deve➝lop/deve➝lopment
  3. maintai➝n/mai➝ntenance
  4. pro➝gram/pro➝grammer
  5. i➝nfrastructure

Listen here

 

Could you hear the way I used syllable stress?

If you listened carefully, you should have heard how I stressed the vowel sound in one syllable.

This is the way Americans speak.

It’s the way Americans listen.

If you want to be understood by Americans, you need to speak in this way.

I’ll show you how!

In my accent reduction coaching program, I show you how to use syllable stress so that you can speak in a way that sounds clear to American listeners.

You’ll feel more confident when you know you’re saying words the right way.

You’ll be able to share your ideas effectively.

And when that happens, everyone on your team wins!

Learn more in my guide

If you’re an IT professional who wants to learn more about my methodology, follow the link to download my complementary Guide to the American Accent for IT Professionals.

 

How to pronounce the TIME correctly

How to pronounce the TIME correctly

How to say the time correctly

How to say the time correctly

Many of the people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching program don’t pronounce the time in a way that Americans can easily understand.

That’s because they never learned the stress patterns for saying numbers.

Stress patterns for numbers

American English speakers pronounce numbers using familiar stress patterns.

Basically, we stress the vowel sound in the last number word.

Here are some examples

When stating the time in quarter hours, stress the /iy/ as in Green vowel sound in the last syllable.

  • 7:15   sevenfiftee→n
  • 8:15   eightfiftee→n
  • 9:15   ninefiftee→n

When stating the time in half hours, stress the /ɝ/ as in Purple vowel sound in the second to last syllable.

  • 7:30    seventher→dy
  • 8:30    eightther→dy
  • 9:30    ninether→dy

When stating the time using other tens numbers, stress the vowel sound in the second to last syllable.

  • 7:50   sevenfi→fdy
  • 8:50   eightfi→fdy
  • 9:50   ninefi→fdy

When you add an additional number, stress the vowel sound in the last syllable.

  • 7:45   sevenfordyfi➝ve
  • 8:45   eightfordyfi➝ve
  • 9:45   ninefordyfi➝ve

Listen here

 

Getting the stress right is critical!

Since spoken American English is a “stressed timed language”, putting stress or emphasis on the correct syllable is critical for clear communication.

Try it

Try pronouncing time numbers using these stress patterns. You’ll see that American listeners will understand you right away!

Ready to learn more rules for clear American English pronunciation?

I show you the rules for saying numbers, names and many other words correctly in all of my accent reduction programs.

From iBooks to personal coaching, if you’re a fluent speaker of American English, who wishes to speak more clearly, my programs will show you how to do that.