Speaking English, should I speed up or slow down?
Many of the people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching program ask me~
Susan, when speaking English, should I speed up or slow down? I usually speed up because I don’t want people to hear my mistakes.
But this doesn’t seem to work.
My answer is this. If you want to make you message sound clear and natural to the American listen you need to:
- Speed up when you say less important words.
- Slow down when you say important words.
Emphasize the words that are important
In American English we emphasize the words that are important. We stress those words using vowel length and pitch.
When a listener hears that a word is emphasized, they immediately understand that that word is important.
So slow down when you say important words.
Deemphasize the words that are not important
We deemphasize the less important words. In fact, we link and blend those words together using schwa sounds and tapped T sounds.
We speed through these words so that we can emphasize the important words.
So speed up when you say less important words
The melody of American English
If you want to speak with the true melody of American English…. a melody that sounds both clear and natural, you’ve got to learn which words to stress (say more slowly) and which words to reduce (say quickly).
I can show you how
If you’re an international professional, who’d like to speak American English more clearly, check out my training programs by following the link below.
My training programs will teach you how speak American English with a pace that your colleagues will respect and understand!
About the author
Susan Ryan is the author of the ConfidentVoice blog and an American English communication and accent reduction coach.