Author Archives

  • The Fake Microphone Strategy

    An accent, whether foreign or regional, can be described as a package of substitutions. Non-native speakers who have an accent substitute features of their original language’s accent for features of their secondary language. An accent can be described by variations in pronunciation, intonation and rhythm patterns, resonance, “vibe”, and general vocal tract physicality. Add to […]

  • Accent, Voice, SOUND

    For all you devotees of speech, accent, and voice out there, please enjoy this guest blog post written by the brilliant Tim Urban of the website Wait But Why. It’s all about SOUND and I learned a lot from reading it. Enjoy and share! Everything You Should Know About Sound

  • Bugz Have A Voise: The S-Z Mess!

    Why do so many letter S’s in the American English accent sound like Z’s? Take: “poison” (POY-zin), “is” (izz), “bugs” (bugz). It’s frustrating for non-English speakers. I had a Columbian client once who said “My sister has a great American accent and she’s always going Z-Z-Z-Z. Now I know why!” Fortunately, there are a few […]

  • How to get out of Phone Call Hell

    I recently was on a phone call with a prospective new client. I spent a solid 10 to 15 minutes of that call trying to get his email address. He had an unusually heavy accent and his email address was long and complicated. In the end, I gave him mine, and we were finally able […]

  • Flash Strategies for Indian-Accented Speakers

    Working with students from every corner of the world, I have come to recognize the various linguistic challenges my students face depending on their language backgrounds. For each accent, there are dozens of things to talk about, from pronunciation of individual sounds, to oral posture, to intonation and rhythm, etc; but a few salient features for […]

  • Podcast: “Living in the US When You Don’t Sound White”

    “Standard American English” – what is it and what’s the story behind its origins? And when you don’t speak American English accent well, what are the social and professional consequences? Sharing here a thought-provoking podcast by the Asian American Journalists Association, where questions about assimilation, discrimination, and stereotyping are sensitively explored. One of the reporters dropped […]

  • American Accent Training: Our Company Values

    I recently asked some of our accent reduction instructors to contemplate and articulate our company values. Here is what our senior accent instructor and speech pathologist Brittany Leaks had to say (love this!): Our values: GROWTH, OPENNESS, SERVICE GROWTH: We want to help our clients grow: grow their confidence speaking American English, grow their knowledge, […]

  • American accent Geography Pronunciation Lesson

    Names of American cities and states can be tricky for non-natives to pronounce. Here are a few classics that we see our students having trouble with, over and over. Raleigh, NC: This city being recently ranked #10 of best places to live in the U.S., you may want to move there soon. So pronounce it […]

  • Quick American Accent Practice

    Happy Holidays, dear Students and Friends! Amy, Bianca, Brittany, Deb, Megan, Shannon, and I all wish you a lovely celebration and a peaceful and prosperous 2018. And now, back to work on your accent! Of course this is probably a busy time with travel, shopping, and plenty of  holiday merrymaking, so we thought we’d come […]