Is it better to speak with a high pitch or a low pitch?
My accent reduction coaching clients often ask me if it’s better to speak with a high pitch or a low pitch.
In order to be a clear, effective and engaging speaker of American English, you need to vary your pitch.
You can’t speak using the same pitch all the time.
Important words and syllables need to be emphasized when you speak. You should use vowel length and a slightly higher pitch to do this.
Less important words and syllables need to be reduced when you speak. You should say these with a lower pitch. Maybe you’ve read about reduced speech?
Stress & reduce
Using a combination of stressed + unstressed sounds, stressed words + unstressed words, is a critical component of spoken American English.
It’s a formula for sounding clear and engaging when you speak.
One of my Chinese speaking clients used to say every syllable and every word with the same slightly high pitch. She didn’t emphasize important words.
She didn’t reduce the sounds of less important words.
~~~This made her speech sound monotonous.~~~
Because she spoke with a consistent pitch, her listeners (myself included) got tired of listening to her. They started to tune her out.
Which was unfortunate because she had great ideas to share!
Lively & engaging
Once she began to vary her pitch, stressing some words and reducing others, her spoken English sounded much more lively.
Listening to her was much more fun and engaging!
I can show you how
If you’re a non native English speaker, an international professional, who’s ready to take your communication skills to the next level, check out my training programs by following the link below.
My programs will teach you how speak using the pitch patterns and melodies of American English!
About the author
Susan Ryan is the author of the ConfidentVoice blog and an American English communication and accent reduction coach.