Why Do I Have an Accent When I Speak English?

This is Part 3 of my series that addresses the question~

Why do I speak English with an accent?

 Why do I have an accent when I speak English?

In the past two posts I wrote about the importance of

  • using the correct syllable stress
  • lengthening your vowel sounds

You may want to go back and read those posts if you haven’t done that already.

You may not be using the correct intonation when you speak

Today I’ll talk about the importance of using the correct sentence intonation when asking questions.

Many non native speakers don’t use American style intonation when they speak English. Using the wrong type of intonation will definitely contribute to your accent.

Two rules about intonation

Here are 2 rules about intonation that you need to know

1. Information questions that begin with“wh” words should have rising falling intonation. Your pitch should rise UP and fall DOWN on the focus word (usually the last word in a sentence).

Where are you GOing? ⤵

2. Questions that can be answered with Yes or No usually have rising intonation. Your pitch should rise up and stay high on the focus word.

Are you REAdy? ⤴

Most people never learned to speak using these 2 patterns

Most of the people I’ve worked with in my accent reduction coaching program never learned about these 2 types of question intonation.

They had no idea that their native intonation style was contributing to their accent!

Once they learned this pattern and started to use it, they had fewer breakdowns in communication.☝

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.