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.

 

 

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.

 

 

What’s the most common word in English?

What’s the most common word in English?

What's the most common word in English?

What’s the most common word in English?

The most common word in English is the.

How to pronounce the

There are two ways to pronounce the word the.

Both versions start with a voiced Th sound. That sound is a little bit tricky.

You can see my video tutorial for the Th sounds here.

Two ways to say the vowel sound

There are two ways to say the vowel in the word the.

  1. You can say the vowel with a /ə/ schwa vowel sound.
  2. You can say the vowel with an /iy/ as in Green vowel sound.

Here are the rules

When the word following the starts with a consonant, we use a schwa vowel sound.

The vowel sound in the is a schwa /ǝ/ in these phrases:

  • thǝ book
  • thǝ car
  • thǝ course

Listen here

When the word following the starts with a vowel, we use an /iy/ as in Green vowel sound.

The vowel sound in the is /iy/ as in Green in these phrases:

  • the other day
  • the answer
  • the Americans

Listen here

 

Not a huge problem

Now, saying the word the with the wrong vowel sound is not a huge issue. It’s not going to create breakdowns in communication.

However, learning to use the schwa sound is one of the most effective things you can do, if you want to speak clearly in American English.

The most common sound

Schwa is the most common sound in spoken English. You’ve goddə use it if you want your American English to sound clear and natural.

I show you how

In my accent reduction coaching program, I show you how to speak American English in a style that’s clear, natural and professional.

You’ll learn to use schwa, the Th sounds, syllable stress and other proven accent reduction techniques.

Contact me at susan@confidentvoice.com. I’ll send you more information.

How to pronounce patent

Do you know how to pronounce patent?

How to pronounce patent

How to pronounce patent

At least once a week, one of my accent reduction coaching clients asks me how to pronounce the word patent.

Here’s my explanation.

How to pronounce patent

Lengthen the vowel sound in the first syllable.* Use an /ae/ as in Black vowel sound.

Do not use an /ay/ as in Gray sound. We don’t do that in the US.

There are two held t sounds.

The t before n is held. The /n/ sound becomes long.

The final t is held.

My spelling looks like this: pa➝’nn’

Listen here

How to speak clear American style English

In order to speak English in a style that’s clear to Americans, you need to learn the rules for:

If you learned English outside the US, you probably don’t use these sounds.

I show you exactly how to use these key features of American English in my accent reduction coaching program.

* most 2 syllable nouns are stressed on the first syllable.

How do you say collaborative?

How do you say collaborative?

How do you say collaborative?

How do you say collaborative?

In my accent reduction coaching program, one word that I frequently work on with my clients is collaborative.

This can be a challenging word to pronounce if you don’t know how to use syllable stress & the schwa vowel sound.

Let’s break it down

The word collaborative has 5 syllables.  But we SAY it using only 4 syllables.

  1. The second syllable has the most stress.  So the A in that syllable needs a long, clear /ae/ sound.
  2. The first syllable is reduced. So the O in that syllable needs a reduced schwa /ə/ vowel sound.
  3. The T in the last syllable should be said with a quick /d/ sound.

Respelled version

Here’s my respelling of this word

cəLA→brədive

Listen here

The spelled version doesn’t really match the pronunciation, does it? That’s why I use respelling with my clients.

Other words that my clients learn to say correctly

Here are a few other words that I teach my accent reduction coaching clients to say clearly & correctly

  1. environmental
  2. developmental
  3. methodical
  4. world
  5. alternatives

Once you learn the rules for syllable stress & schwa, you’ll be able to say these words and hundreds of others, in a way that Americans understand right away.

Check out accent reduction coaching

If you’re an international professional who’s motivated to improve the way you communicate, follow the link below to see how I can help you.

Personal accent reduction coaching with Susan

Spring is here. And it’s an excellent time to renew your communication goals with someone who is committed to your success.

Communication Skills in MBA Programs

Communication Skills in MBA Programs

Communication Skills in MBA Programs

Communication Skills in MBA Programs

A recent Wall Street Journal article describes how some well known MBA programs have stepped up the way the teach communication skills to students who are about to graduate.

How Are They Doing This?

Top MBA schools including Duke are helping international students to communicate during job interviews and networking events.

This is important, because graduating MBA students want to get the best jobs available. And having a clear, engaging and confident communication style is critical for landing these type of jobs.

Real World Skills

In my accent reduction coaching program, I’ve worked with MBA students from Wharton, Georgetown, Duke, Harvard, Ross and other American Universities.

While their communication skills were good enough on campus, they found that they were not as successful in the job market as they wanted.

Small Talk Too

Making small talk with clients, colleagues is another area that my MBA graduates often want to work on. They understand that in the US, small talk is a critical component for career success.

Here’s the Article

You can read the article here, Communication Skills in MBA Programs

 

Common Words Ending With /z/

Common Words Ending With /z/

Common Words Ending With /z/

Common Words Ending With /z/

In spoken American English many words end with a /z/ sound. 

The letter at the end of the word may be S, but the sound of the letter is often /z/.

Say these common words ending with a /z/ sound.

  1. these
  2. those
  3. is 
  4. was 
  5. says
  6. does

Listen here.

 

There are many more!

Why is this important?

One key reason that using a /z/ sound is important is because vowels that occur before the voiced /z/ sound are nice and long.

And if you know anything about clear spoken American English, you understand how we love to hear long, clear vowel sounds.

Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Arabic speakers often fail to use the /z/ sound correctly.

How to make small talk

How to make small talk

How to make small talk

How to make small talk

A very  important communication skill that I work on with my accent reduction coaching clients is how to make small talk.
Small talk with strangers….this can be awkward.
Tip #1 ask questions
I suggest that you ask them open ended questions.
These are often WH type questions such as:
  1. Where did your grow up? I’ve never been there….could you tell me more about it?
  2. Where did you go to school? Why did you choose _________? What did you like about it?
  3. Have you always lived here is __________? Where else have you lived?
  4. What restaurants can you recommend in ______________?
  5. What’s your current favorite game/sport/hobby?

Tip #2 listen attentively 
Once you get them talking, and most people LOVE to talk about themselves, you should:

  • Try to listen attentively
  • Agree with or comment on what they said
  • Relate a similar experience that you’ve had

Let’em talk!

In other words, use questions that encourage others to talk and then add your 2 cents.
Follow this link to read more about how to make small talk in American English.

Use focus word pitch for clarity

Use focus word pitch for clarity

Use focus word pitch for clarity

Use focus word pitch for clarity

One of the most useful American English communication tips I give my accent reduction coaching clients is this-

When a conversation breaks down ☹…. think about the most important word in your message.

This is called the focus word.

Use pitch emphasis

Repeat that focus word again.

But this time, be careful to emphasize that word using a slight rise in pitch.

Lengthen the vowel sound → a little bit.

Insert a pause

Then pause briefly. This will give your listener time to “get it”.

Here’s an example:

I’ll meet with the ma→nager⤼ on Tue→sday.

Listen here

To say this sentence clearly:

  • stress the word manager
  • pause briefly
  • then stress the word Tuesday

Don’t give the same emphasis to every word.

There is an excellent chance that using this pitch emphasis strategy will clear up the misunderstanding.

 Learn the rules for clear American speech

I teach you the rules for using focus words and pitch emphasis in my iPad book for the American accent.

American Accent Fundamentals - Susan M. Ryan

Click the button above to download the first chapter for free at the iBookstore.