Author Archives

  • An authentic American accent

    How do you make an accent sound authentic? Yes, there’s pronunciation work: for the Standard American accent, it’s about getting the TH’s and getting the r-coloring on the vowels in er, or, air.  And then there’s the “music”, or prosody: the timing, the ups and downs of the speech melody (intonation), and the interplay of stress and non-stress […]

  • How to look good signing off Zoom

    Greetings from NYC in this wild and challenging time! I feel fortunate to have myself and AccentsOff featured as a “Best E-Learning Company” in DataBird Business Journal. My team of instructors and I are keeping busy both on (and off) the webcam: accent coaching sessions, wedding plans, babies being born! We’re enjoying seeing our students […]

  • Are you confused or confusing?

    If you are a foreign-born English speaker with grammar challenges, read on. This particular issue comes up with some of our accent reduction students. In this picture, who is “boring” and who is “bored”? During a conversation with an American accent client, if I hear “I was so exciting…”, I immediately get suspicious, realizing they […]

  • 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 […]