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.

Most Effective Way to Reduce Your Accent

Most Effective Way to Reduce Your Accent

Most effective way to reduce your accent

Most effective way to reduce your accent

What’s the most effective way to reduce your accent?

What’s the most effective way for learning to speak clear and engaging American English?

Here’s some ideas

  1. Watch American English pronunciation videos on YouTube
  2. Use an American accent or pronunciation book
  3. Take an accent reduction class in your community
  4. Download an accent reduction app

All of these are good ways to learn.

But they probably won’t enable you to make the changes you desire.

Noticeable changes

What’s the best way to make noticeable changes to the way you speak?

What’s the best way to integrate and apply all the little lessons you’ve learned using YouTube, books, apps & classes?

Personal coaching

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that almost everyone who wants to make real, noticeable changes to the way they speak American English needs some personal coaching.

Why is personal coaching so important?

You can learn to say your vowel & consonant sounds correctly using the methods I listed above.

You may even be able to learn to use the correct syllable stress & intonation using the above methods.

But integrating the correct vowel & consonant sounds with the correct syllable stress, intonation and linking takes some serious work.

And this is the kind of work that most people need a coach to help them with.

Personal feedback

Most people need the personal feedback that only an experienced accent reduction coach can provide.

They need lessons that’ll help them integrate & apply all they’ve learned using YouTube, books, apps & classes.

They need to talk to someone about their communication challenges. Someone who will listen and help them speak real and relevant American English in day to day situations.

Customized & personal sessions

In their personalized sessions, most people make significant changes to the way they speak!

Here’s an email message that I recently received from a successful client:

Hi Susan,

I just had a great phone meeting with a support person and I loved every minute of our conversation.

It was a complex scenario to explain and he understood me very well

without me repeating it. And I was pausing after each important word.

Ahhha…. The joy of good communication.

How about you?

The above situation can happen for you too!

If you’re serious about investing some time and money (yes it’s a small investment) to really improve the way you speak American English, follow this link.

You’ll see how my accent reduction coaching program can help you achieve your communication goals.

Or, just keep reading more of the posts here on my ConfidentVoice blog.

If you’re just getting started, there’s a lot you can learn right here.

 

 

How to pronounce loose & lose

How to pronounce loose & lose

How to pronounce loose & lose

How to pronounce loose & lose

Sometimes pronouncing American English words correctly can drive you crazy.

That’s because the same letter, (in this case the letter S) can have more than one sound.

If you’re a non native speaker who learned English through reading instead of listening, you’re probably not aware of all the spoken patterns.

The sounds of the letter S

To explain what I mean about the letter S having more than one sound, let’s use the words loose & lose.

The adjective loose is pronounced with a /s/ sound. It sounds like luʷse.

The verb to lose is pronounced with a /z/ sound. It sounds like luʷ→ze.

Longer vowel sound

Notice that the /uʷ/ sound is much longer➝ in the word lose.

That’s because it occurs before a voiced /z/ sound.

Using the correct vowel length here is very, very important, especially if you want to speak with a clear American accent!

Here are two sentences you can use to practice the /s/ & /z/ sounds:

1. Did you lose some weight? (luʷ→ze)

2. Yes, and now my pants are too loose! (luʷse)

Listen here

 

Learn to use the correct sound

Just this week, I taught the sounds of the letter S to three of my accent reduction coaching clients (a Russian speaker, a Hindi speaker and a Spanish speaker).

All three were very surprised to learn that the S frequently has a /z/ sound.

No one has taught you the rules

There’s no need  to feel bad about not knowing all the rules for spoken English.

Only people who’ve taken some accent reduction training would be aware of this.

If clear American English communication is critical for your career success, find out how accent reduction coaching will help you!

 

 

 

 

4 Rules for Pronouncing Numbers Clearly

4 Rules for Pronouncing Numbers Clearly

4 Rules for Pronouncing Numbers Clearly

4 Rules for Pronouncing Numbers Clearly

In my Skype accent reduction coaching program, I work with professionals from multinational companies

Several of my clients are in finance.

This means that they MUST pronounce numbers correctly when dealing with Americans.

Here are 4 rules that I teach them for pronouncing numbers clearly.

1. Tens numbers have major stress on the first syllable.

Say the first syllable a bit louder.

Lengthen the sound of the vowel and raise your pitch.

TWENty,THIRty, FORty, FIFty, SIXty, SEVENty, EIGHTty, NINEty

2. Make the “ty” sound more like “dy”.

THIRdy, FORdy, FIFdy, SIXdy

3. When you add a number the major stress shifts to the last number.

FORdyONE, FORdyTWO, FORdyTHREE, FORdyFOUR, FOrdyFIVE

4. Teens numbers are often stressed on the second syllable.

Say the second syllable louder and longer and raise your pitch.

Make the “t” in the second syllable VERY clear. Lengthen the “ee” and exaggerate the final “n”.

thirTEEN, fourTEEN, fifTEEN, sixTEEN, sevenTEEN, eighTEEN, nineTEEN

Listen here

Improve your American English speaking skills

If you are an international professional looking for the best way to improve your American English communication skills, check out my American Accent Coaching Course.

I teach you how to say numbers, abbreviations, technical &  professional words clearly and confidently!

Ready to test yourself?

Here’s short a QUIZ on pronouncing numbers in American English.

QUIZ-Pronouncing Numbers in American English

 

Do you use contractions when you speak English?

Do you use contractions when you speak English?

Many non native speakers don’t use contractions when they speak American English.

Instead, they speak word by word, saying phrases such as can not, do not, they will, that is and they are.

Contracted forms

Instead, you should be saying these contracted forms in conversations.

  • can’t
  • don’t
  • they’ll
  • that’s
  • they’re

I know it’s hard to believe, but when you don’t use contractions, it contributes to your accent!

Contractions help you speak with a better rhythm   

Using contractions help you speak using the correct rhythm of spoken English.

When you speak using contractions you’re able to:

  • reduce the sounds of function words
  • use more schwa vowel sounds
  • blend words together more smoothly
  • use American T sounds more effectively

Friendly, melodic & natural

Since you’re not giving equal emphasis to every word, your speech sounds more friendly, melodic and natural to the American listener.

I teach you how to use contractions and many other strategies you can use to reduce your accent in my Skype accent reduction coaching program.

☆My programs are guaranteed to help you speak American English with clarity and confidence!☆

 

 

Pronouncing career, carrier & Korea

Pronouncing career, carrier & Korea

How to pronounce career

How to pronounce career

One of my accent reduction coaching clients asked me a great question regarding the pronunciation of these three words:

- career

- carrier

- Korea

Easy to mispronounce 

These words are easy to mispronounce if you don’t  use American style syllable stress and schwa correctly!

Let’s take a look

1. career

The first vowel sound is schwa. The stressed vowel sound is stressed.

Say it like this: cǝ reɚ→

2. carrier

The first vowel sound is a stressed. The second syllable has a minor stress.

Say it like this: caɚ➝riʸɚ

3. Korea

The first vowel sound is schwa. The stressed vowel sound is in the middle.  Then add need to add another schwa.

Say it like this: Kǝre→ʸə

Listen here

 

Syllable stress & schwa are key!

If you want to speak American English clearly and professionally, you absolutely must learn the rules for syllable stress & schwa.

I teach you how to do use syllable stress & schwa to say the words you use everyday clearly and correctly in my accent reduction coaching programs.


 

How to Pronounce Can & Can’t

How to Pronounce Can & Can’t

How to pronounce can & can't

How to pronounce can & can’t

My accent reduction coaching clients often tell me~

Susan, people don’t understand me when I say the words can & can’t.

3 Tips 

Here are 3 TIPS that will help you be understood when you say can & can’t.

1.  When CAN occurs at the end of a sentence

When can occurs at the end of a sentence, the vowel sound is /æ/ as in Black.

2. When CAN occurs at the beginning or middle of a sentence

When can occurs at the beginning or middle of a sentence it receives less stress.

The vowel sound is reduced to the schwa /ə/ (uh sound).

3. The vowel sound in CAN’T is always stressed

When you say can’t, the vowel sound is always /æ/ as in Black.

Don’t over articulate the sound of the T though! That’ll make you sound angry or abrupt.

Dialog with can & can’t

Here’s a sample dialog with can & can’t based on the rules above~

 

John: When cən you go to the movies with me? (schwa vowel sound)

Lisa: I cæn’t go this weekend because I have to work. (long, clear /æ/ sound)

John: Cən you go on Monday? (schwa vowel sound)

Lisa: I think I cən go then, let me check my schedule. Yes, I cæn! (schwa vowel sound + long, clear /æ/sound)

 

Learn to speak American English clearly

In my iBook, American Accent Fundamentals, I teach you the rules for speaking American English using short dialogs like the one above.

Download the first chapter for FREE in the iBookstore at the button below.

American Accent Fundamentals - Susan M. Ryan

Start learning the rules for speaking clear American English today!