Do You Pronounce Abbreviations Correctly?

Do You Pronounce Abbreviations Correctly?

Do you pronounce abbreviations correctly?

Do you pronounce abbreviations correctly?

Most of the people I work with in my accent reduction coaching programs never learned how to pronounce abbreviations correctly in American English.

And since they never said abbreviations with the correct stress, there were many breakdowns in communication.

It’s Easy

It’s super easy to say abbreviations correctly if you know the rule. So here it is……

Abbreviations are stressed on the LAST LETTER.

This means that you need to use a rise in pitch to emphasize the last letter.  Then you need to use a FAlling tone to bring your abbreviation to a close.

Three Examples 

Here are 3 examples. The arrows indicate the rise & fall of the pitch:

1. IBM ~ eye beeyeMMm⤵

2. USA ~you wesaAYy ⤵

3. ATM ~ ay teeyeEMm⤵

Listen Here

 

Could you hear how I emphasized the last letter using a slightly higher pitch? Could you hear the fall at the end? Listen again if you didn’t hear that. It’s important.

Why Is This Important?

Why do I teach this accent reduction technique to my coaching clients?

Because…..

American listeners expect abbreviations to be stressed on the last letter. If you don’t do this, there’s a very good chance that they won’t understand you when you speak.

Simply said, if you say every letter in an abbreviation using the the same amount of stress, American English speakers will have a very difficult time understanding what you are saying.

Easy to Fix

While this type of error frequently causes communication confusion,  it’s REALLY EASY to fix.

Give this accent reduction technique a try the next time YOU say an abbreviation. If you do it correctly, Americans WILL understand you more easily!

 

 

I understand English, the problem is SPEAKING

The problem is speaking

The problem is speaking

The problem is speaking

The people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching program understand English. As they tell me every week~

Susan, I understand English, in fact I understand it really well. The problem is speaking. People don’t always understand me when I speak.

This happens to lots of people

If you first learned to speak English outside the US or Canada you may not SPEAK English in a way that North Americans can understand.

Even if you read and write English at a Masters or PhD level, you may have found that people don’t understand everything you say.

This is normal

It’s extremely rare that anyone who learned English outside the US or Canada  speaks with the syllable stress and melody of American English.

VERY RARE!

In most cases, those of you who learned English in China, India, Russia, Europe or Latin America never had the opportunity to learn

……from a native speaker.

Instead, you probably learned English from a textbook.  Your teacher was probably not a native speaker.

Maybe you never really spoke English at all in your English classes! Many of my accent reduction coaching clients have told me that.

Spoken & written English are really different

One of the BIG reasons that people speak American English in a way that’s difficult for Americans to understand is that written English and spoken English are very different.

English doesn’t sound like it’s spelled.

You can’t SEE key features of spoken English such as

  • syllable stress
  • the schwa sound
  • the tapped T sound
  • linking

….in the written language. Even though they are critical for clear SPOKEN English.

How I help people to speak American English

In my American accent coaching programs, I teach you to SPEAK English in a way that will allow Americans to understand you.

I teach you how to speak like we natives do.

I’m not saying that you’ll lose your accent. You probably won’t. And that’s not necessary.

However, you CAN learn to speak in a way that sounds clear and engaging to Americans.

Take a look at my American Accent Coaching Programs

If you’re serious about speaking clear, engaging and professional American English, check out my coaching programs. Making changes to the way you speak is an investment in time and an investment in money.

But if spoken English is critical to your career success, it’s absolutely an investment worth making.

My Programs for STEM Professionals

My Basic Programs

Without Credible

 

How to sound friendly in American English

How to sound friendly in American English

How to sound friendly in American English

How to sound friendly in American English

Have people commented that your American English sounds sort of

  •  flat
  • monotone
  • unfriendly

Many of the people I work with in my accent reduction coaching programs have been told this. Since my clients are for the most part very friendly people, they want to change this perception.

How can you do this?

In order to change sound more friendly when speaking American English, you need to learn how to use American English intonation patterns.

What are intonation patterns? 

Intonation is the melody of spoken language. ♬ It’s the way we use pitch emphasis in phrases and sentences.

The way you use intonation sets the TONE of your message. This can be friendly, bored, uncertain, angry, confident…..

Here’s an example

When I ask someone “Hey Susan, how ARE you?”  ⤵ I use rising falling intonation.

I rise up on ARE …and then glide or fall down on you.  That type of melody makes me sound nice & friendly.☺

If I just say “Hey Susan, how are you?” without a rising falling intonation contour, I don’t sound as friendly.

Listen here to compare the tone of my message

 

Learn to speak in a friendly manner

I teach you to use rising falling intonation so that you can speak English in a manner that’s friendly and engaging in all my accent reduction programs. I you want to sound more friendly when YOU speak American English, take a look at what I have to offer.

Here is a short QUIZ on American English Intonation Patterns-Give it a try!

American English Intonation Patterns

Choose the best answer for each question about American English intonation.
Start
Congratulations - you have completed American English Intonation Patterns. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.

 

 

It’s hard for me to express my ideas

Do you have trouble expressing your ideas when you speak English?

Nobody understands my ideas

Nobody understands my ideas

The wise and super intelligent people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching problem frequently tell me this:

Susan, I often have trouble expressing my thoughts and ideas fluently. This is really frustrating! Sometimes I don’t even say things at meetings because I’m afraid I’ll mess up.

Fluency & Confidence

It seems like fluency in speaking and confidence go hand in hand. If you don’t sound fluent, you don’t feel or sound confident.

  • You hear yourself struggling
  • Others hear you struggling
  • The situation gets uncomfortable

Then you take a back seat, even though your ideas are insightful, money saving and relevant.

How to Speak More Fluently

When I work with people in my online accent reduction class and coaching programs, I teach them to speak more fluently by using THE THREE P’s METHOD for speaking American English.

Here it it⤵

Susan’s THREE P’s METHOD for Fluent American English

  • Phrases ~ Speak in phrases
  • Pitch ~ Use pitch emphasis on the key word in each phrase
  • Pauses ~ Pause slightly at the end of each phrase

Sounds simple, right?

Well, it usually takes most people a few weeks to catch on to this pattern, but once they do….

WOW…they definitely sound more clear and more fluent!

In fact you’ll be speaking with a melody that the American listener enjoys hearing.♬

The American Listener

I’ll tell you right here…if you speak in a manner that sounds choppy, monotone, word by word, with lots of ummz & ahhhz,  people will tune out.☹

Once they tune out, your ideas, no matter how good they are, won’t get heard.

And when your ideas don’t get heard, everyone in your organization loses!

Learn to Express Yourself Fluently

In my online Accent Reduction Class, I teach you to speak more clearly and fluently using my soon to be famous THREE P’s METHOD. Right now it’s only famous with my clients as you can see from the comment below.

I just finished watching your two online courses. And I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you.  The courses are really inspiring! The “phrases, pitch and pauses” method really makes sense and greatly summarizes the key to speak.

Interesting, isn’t it?

A Quote for You to Ponder

As you think more about fluency and pitch, phrases & pauses, I’ll leave you with a quote that I like from Marianne Williamson.

Express your thoughts

Express your thoughts

Thanks for visiting my blog…and do check out my online accent reduction coaching programs. Invest in your communication skills and let your wisdom emerge!

How Can I Sound More Likable?

Roger Love Says

How Can I Sound More Likable?

How Can I Sound More Likable?

The famous vocal coach Roger Love says

only after you’ve managed to get the listener to like you enough….(they’ll) be open to (your) words and ideas….

And if you’re someone who’s attentive and reflective about the way you communicate, you know that he’s right!

Friendly people get more attention, they get more positive feedback.

Research indicates that friendly people…those perceived as likable, get more promotions.

Toastmasters speaking clubs often refer to this melody  as “vocal variety”.  In my accent reduction coaching programs I refer to this as intonation.

American English intonation

Intonation brings meaning to your message.  When you use American English intonation correctly, it can make you sound

  • friendly
  • sincere
  • confident

If you don’t use American English intonation  correctly, it can make you sound

  • unfriendly
  • abrupt
  • uncaring

A monotone voice is not expressive. It won’t help you connect with others. Speaking in a monotone won’t make you sound likable. That’s just the way it is.

Learn American English Intonation

If you want to learn more how using the correct intonation will make YOU sound more friendly and likable, follow this link to see all my posts on INTONATION.

And, thanks for visiting my ConfidentVoice Blog!

 

Do you pronounce PIZZA correctly?

Do you pronounce PIZZA correctly?

Do you pronounce PIZZA correctly?

Do you pronounce PIZZA correctly?

Most of the people who come to me for accent reduction coaching never learned to say PIZZA the American way.

They say it like it’s spelled….with a ZZ sound.

Okay….don’t be embarrassed, but Americans don’t say PIZZA with a ZZ sound. Not at all.

How do Americans pronounce PIZZA?

Americans pronounce pizza like this: PEETsa.  The first syllable is stressed with a nice /iy/ as in Green vowel sound.

The ZZ has an /s/ sound.

Listen to me pronounce PIZZA

 

Happy eating…and thanks for visiting my ConfidentVoice blog!

How to Pronounce US Place Names

Pronouncing US Place Names

How to pronounce US place names

How to pronounce US place names.

This is my follow up post on how to pronounce US place names. If you missed yesterday’s post, how to pronounce American place names, you may want to start there.

Two Errors

Yesterday I told you that the BBC Guide, How to Pronounce US Place Names contained 2 errors.

Did you figure out what they were?

The Answers

Here are the answers:

Arkansas should be stressed on the first syllable. That’s the way most Americans say it.

  • Ar➝kansas

Albuquerque should also be stressed on the first syllable. That’s the way most Americans say it.

  • A➝lbuquerque

There will always be exceptions (this is a big country) but most people will say both of these place names with stress on the first syllable.

Listen to My Pronunciation of  Arkansas & Albuquerque

 

Learn to Pronounce US Place Names in my Webinar Classes

I teach you rules for pronouncing American place names, American names (people) and other critical communication skills in my Unlock Your American Accent Webinar Classes .

Click on the big blue banner up there on your right to see the details. ↗

Or, choose one of the links below to learn more tips for speaking clear American English. Thanks for visiting!

 

How to Pronounce American Place Names

How to pronounce American place names.

How to pronounce American place names.

Pronouncing American Place Names

A frequent question that I receive from my accent reduction coaching clients is,

Susan, can you teach me how to say American place names correctly?

And I always tell them, “of course, I can do that!”

How to Pronounce American Place Names

Pronouncing cities, states and other locations correctly is actually quite tricky. That’s because American place names have many origins.

Many of our place names come from French including:

  • Louisville
  • Des Moines
  • Boise
  • Baton Rouge

Others come from native American languages including:

  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Mississippi
  • Massachusetts

And then of course there’s all of our Spanish derived place names including:

  • San Francisco
  • California
  • Colorado
  • San Jose

Of course we’ve “Americanized” the pronunciations of all the place names listed above. So they don’t sound like they would in their language of origin.

One Clear Rule for Pronouncing American Place Names Correctly

Amid all the various names, here’s one rule that will stand true 99% of the time.

Stress two word place names on the second word. For example:

  • Miami BEACH              put the emphasis on BEACH
  • San JOSE                       put the emphasis on JOSE
  • Niagara FALLS            put the emphasis on FALLS
  • North CAROLINA       put the emphasis on CAROLINA

Learn to Pronounce American Place Names in my Webinar Classes

I teach you rules that will help you pronounce American place names, American names (of people) and other critical communication skills in my Unlock Your American Accent Webinar Classes .

Click on the big blue banner up there on your right to see the details. ↗

Some Errors in this Guide from BBC America

And one more thing….this Guide to Pronouncing American Place Names from the BBC contains at least 2 errors. Do you know what they are?

If not,… come back tomorrow when I’ll post the answers.

Guide to Pronouncing American Place Names 

 

 

Reduced Speech in American English

Reduced Speech

reduced speech

Godda go!

In order to speak American English in a way that sounds natural to the native listener, you need to use reduced speech.

If you’re not familiar with the term reduced speech, think of it as groups of common words that include silent T sounds, tapped T sounds and schwa sounds.

Here are some examples of reduced speech

  • woulda
  • shoulda
  • godda
  • gonna
  • hafta
  • wanna

Some people resist

Sometimes the people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching programs resist using reduced speech forms.

They often tell me~

Susan, in my country the English teachers told us not to speak that way. They told us it sounds sloppy and uneducated.

Okay, I get that. However…..

Research on reduced speech

Americans use reduced speech forms all the time. In fact, research by Nina Weinstein, author of Whaddaya Say?, found that American speakers use reduced forms once every two minutes.

I think it’s probably even more!

Speak with a melody that’s familiar to the American listener

If you use reduced forms you’ll speak American English with a smoother, more familiar melody; a melody that Americans enjoy listening to.

People will understand you as long as you emphasize your focus words.

To learn related tips for speaking clear and fluent American English click on one of the posts below.

Thanks for visiting my ConfidentVoice blog!