Why Do I Have an Accent When I Speak American English?

This is my fourth & final post in my series titled

Sound substitution creates an accent.

Sound substitution creates an accent.

Why do I have an accent when I speak American English?

Today I’m going to talk about how sound substitution contributes to your accent.

Sound substitution 

When  speaking English, non native speakers often substitute a sound they are familiar with from their own language for an English sound.

Example #1

For example, Indian, Turkish, Russian & German speakers often substitute a sound like /v/ for the American /w/ sound.

  • This makes the word wine sound like vine.
  • This makes the word west sound like vest.

Americans always make a nice round /w/ sound. 

You should do this too, if you want your speech to sound more American.

Example #2

Speakers of many languages including Spanish, Mandarin & Russian use an /iy/ as in Green sound for the letter i.

  • This makes the word chip sounds like cheap.
  • This makes the word list sounds like least.

In American English the letter i doesn’t have an /iy/ as in Green sound.

If you do this, it will contribute to your accent.

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 for free at my training programs website.

About the author

Susan Ryan is a communication and accent reduction coach. Contact her with your questions about speaking clear and engaging American English.