The Confident Voice
Learning to use syllable stress
correctly can really help you improve your spoken English.
Here in the United States we listen for syllable stress, so
the way you emphasize your syllables will make a big
difference when you communicate with Americans.
However, syllable stress
is just one part of the pronunciation puzzle. In
order to truly learn to speak English like an American you
also need to learn how to pronounce vowel and consonant
sounds correctly. Plus you need to learn how Americans use
sentence level intonation, linking and word reductions when
When you can put all these
pieces together: syllable stress, vowel and
consonant sounds, sentence level intonation, linking and
word reductions, you will have an American English
accent. This will make it much easier and enjoyable for you
to communicate in social, business and academic situations.
A whole new world will open up as you discover new
opportunities and relationships that were not available to
Take a look at how these pieces fit together to form the
Confident Voice pyramid:
Click here to view
Improving your spoken English sounds like a lot
of work but you can do it if you follow a comprehensive
program of study.
In the next few lessons, I will be teaching you
how to pronounce consonants correctly. I will follow those
lessons by vowel sounds in spoken English, sentence level
intonation, and word linking and word reductions.
Remember: Keep up to date on all of the lessons
in this course to build a solid foundation for learning
to speak American English confidently.
Mini Lesson: Job Interview
Dialog #1 - Scheduling
Most of you take these courses in order to
prepare for employment. In response to your needs this
week’s mini-lesson is a job interview dialog.
In this dialog you will practice scheduling a
job interview with the person in Human Resources department.
The two pronunciation features I have highlighted are:
syllable stress, and
syllable stress in numbers.
Human Resources: I read your
REsume and it looks GOOD. When can you come in for an
Applicant: I can meet on TUESday
in the MORNing.
Human Resources: Can you meet at
Applicant: That would be FINE. Can
you tell me your ADdress?
Human Resources: Yes, our ADdress
is 3330 HARvard Street.
Applicant: I’m sorry, is that
thirtythreeTHIrdy, or thirtythreethirTEEN?
Human Resources: It’s
Applicant: Great, I’ll see you on
TUESday at TEN at thirtythreeTHIRdy HARvard Street.
Play and listen to the audio version below:
Featured Learning Resource:
is the English Language Listening Lab Online.
This site has over 1000 listening
activities you can use to listen to American
English and other English accents. Most of the
activities include great images and interactive
link will take you directly to a job related
listening activity in which Tim (an American)
and Jeff (a Canadian) talk about job likes and
dislikes. Their speech is very relaxed and
informal. (You may have to open the audio in a
new browser tab or window).
Click on the image to go to the site
Insight: Homonyms - Detect Word
Meaning Through Listening
Homonyms are groups of two or three words that have the same
pronunciation but different spellings and meanings. There are
many homonyms in English and you can only understand the
meaning of the word by listening to the context of the
Our homonyms for this week are:
a. principal: first or highest in rank or
b. principle: an accepted rule of action or
Listen as I say each sentence
and choose the correct word from the pair of homonyms above.
Remember that homonyms sound the same so you can only
understand the meaning of the word from the context of the
Click Play to listen now:
- One of the company principles in that you must be on
time for work.
- My principal reason for wanting the job is the high
(Answers: b, a)