Speak clearly using pitch emphasis
When people contact me about accent reduction coaching, they usually assume that they have problems with articulation.
- Articulation of American English vowel sounds
- Articulation of American English consonant sounds
And that’s often true.
If you’re a non native speaker of American English, you need something else, if you want to be easily understood.
What you need is more PITCH EMPHASIS.
Using pitch emphasis
Here’s what I mean by pitch emphasis. When speaking American English, you simply can’t say every word with the same pitch.
- When you say every word with the same pitch, your speech sounds mumbly.
- When you say every word with the same pitch, your speech sounds monotonous.
- When you say every word with the same pitch, your speech will not sound clear to Americans.
What you need to do
In order to speak clearly, you need to stress the most important words. You need to bring your listeners’ attention to the most important words in a sentence or phrase using a slight rise in pitch.
I call this pitch emphasis.
When you use pitch emphasis on important words, it brings your listeners’ attention to the critical words in your message.
When you use pitch emphasis on important words, you enable your listener to focus on what’s important.
Stress nouns & verbs more than other words
American English speakers usually stress
We tend to stress nouns and verbs the most. That’s because nouns and verbs are critical to the meaning of most messages. We also stress adjectives when we want our listeners to pay attention to those.
Words we don’t stress
We usually don’t stress little words such as:
Stressing every single little word creates choppy speech so Americans prefer to reduce and blend the sounds of less important words.
What happens if you don’t use pitch emphasis when you speak?
- Your speech will sound monotonous to your listeners because they can’t hear any pitch.
- Your listeners won’t know which words to pay attention to.
- Your listeners will have to concentrate extra hard to understand you.
- They’ll get tired of listening to you, and they’ll give up, or tune you out.
Help your listeners to understand you
If you want to speak American English clearly you must learn to use pitch emphasis correctly.
Doing this will help native speakers to easily understand you.
I can show you how
If you’re an international professional, who wants to speak clear American English, take a free trial lesson by going to my training programs at the link below.
My training programs will teach you how speak American English in a way that your colleagues will respect and understand!
About the author
Susan Ryan is an American English communication and accent reduction coach.