7 Tips for losing your accent now!

 

  1. English flows.  It has been said that the rhythm of English is like that of jazz.  Often new speakers of English are told to slow down, this can actually cause more difficulty.  English words are often connected as in “how-are you” The first two words sound like one.  If you separate each word you will end up sounding robotic.
     
  2. The /th/ sound, this one is not found in many languages, with the exception of Greek and Castilian Spanish.  The good news is that it is easy to see in the mirror.  Look in the mirror and whisper this sentence.  He thought a bath would be a good thing.  You should see your tongue sticking out just a bit between your teeth 3 times.  The most common mistake is to replace /th/ with a /d/ or /t/.  Just move that tongue out a bit and you will have it.
     
  3. Listen to a book on tape.  This will be an excellent example of English spoken well.  Listening to well produced English is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Training the ear to “stop hearing with an accent” is crucial to accent modification success.
     
  4. How about that /r/? The American /r/ is different than most.  There is no contact from the tongue to any other part of the mouth when producing the /r/ sounds.  Just curl the tongue tip back and let the air flow out around it
     
  5. Here is a simple tip about /s/ and /z/.  Often in American English we like to write s and then produce a /z/.  This often happens in the final position of words.  If an s follows a vowel or a silent sound at the end of a word it is produced as a /z/.  Here are some examples.

s that is produced as a /z/             s that sounds like an /s/
cries                                               hits
beds                                               tacks
rays                                                bells 

  1. Devoicing.  What is this?  It is a common problem that English language learners display and one that makes a big impact on their intelligibility (the ability for others to understand you).  There are two kind of consonants those that are voiced; b, d, g, l, m; n; ng, r, z, v, w, y, and sometimes th.  Then there are those that are voiceless or unvoiced, h, k, p, t, s, and sometimes th.  How can you tell the difference?  Place you index and middle finger at the hollow of you neck, near the base.  Say each sound in the voiced consonant there will be a slight vibration while in the unvoiced there should be no vibration.  Pay attention to the final sound in words.  If it is a voiced consonant be sure that your vocal cords are vibrating!  Practice with the following pairs:

bad/bat                        rod/rot
lab/lap                          tab/tap
bag/back                      beg/beck
bus/buzz                      lace/laze

  1. Record yourself.  Then transcribe it.  This means write down exactly what you said as you hear it.  Don’t write what you meant to say, but write what you did say. For example you record this sentence:   I think the bed is too soft.  But you actually said “ I dink da bet iss doo sof”.  Then write it like that.  Then look for your errors.  In this example the speaker changed th to d, the voiced d, to the voiceless t, the z sound in the word “is” was changed to s, and the final t in soft was dropped.  This exercise will help you to identify which sounds you need to practice.

 

This should be enough to keep you busy until you receive your copy of Accent Master Software!!