Why Do I Have an Accent When I Speak English?

This is #2 of four posts that explain why you have an accent when you speak American English.

Why do I speak with an accent?

Why do I speak with an accent?when you speak English.

Yesterday I wrote about syllable stress.

You should read that post now if you missed it yesterday.

Lengthening your vowel sounds

Today I’ll talk about the importance of lengthening ⇒  certain vowel sounds.

There are 2 rules for lengthening vowels that you need to know.

1. Lengthen the vowel sounds in stressed syllables

When you are speaking American English you must lengthen the vowel sounds that occur in stressed syllables.

These vowel sounds are also said with a slightly higher pitch.☝

Doing this will make your words sound clear and comprehensible to Americans.

2. Lengthen the sounds of vowels that occur before voiced consonants

You must also lengthen vowels ➙ that occur before voiced consonants.

When a vowel occurs before as sound such as /z/,/n/,/v/ & /d/ you must lengthen it.

Doing this will make words such as bat & bad, safe & save sound more distinct.

Short vowel sounds will contribute to your accent 

Many non native speakers say all of their vowel sounds in a short concise way.

Saying your vowels like this may feel good to YOU…but it will make your speech sound choppy and accented to American listeners.

Speaking with longer vowel sounds will make your words more clear.

I can show you how

To find a more complete lesson on why you speak American English with an accent follow the link below.

You’ll find a detailed lesson that you can download at my training programs website.

About the author

Susan Ryan is an American English communication and accent reduction coach.