Author Archives

  • 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 […]

  • Quick American Accent Practice

    This is probably a busy time with travel, shopping, and plenty of holiday merrymaking, so we thought we’d come up with 10 quick tips on how to get some extra American accent practice in. Here are some little tools for continuing to improve your American oral posture, pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm. Some of them are […]

  • Accent Imitation Games

    If you’re reading this, you probably have some interest in and knowledge of “accent reduction”. You may know about phonetics and how languages have their own unique libraries of sounds.  Maybe you’ve heard of “prosody”: the umbrella term for the accent features of  intonation, stress, and rhythm. You may have started working on your accent […]

  • 3 tricks to get some accent practice in today

    My students sometimes get worried that they’re not practicing enough. “I will confess right now – it was a crazy week.” “I don’t know how to fit this into my schedule.” “I was really bad.” You working on your accent reduction exercises is like me going to the gym. The amount of cognitive dissonance flying around […]

  • How to lose an accent

    Many people come to us asking “How can I lose my accent?”.  I’ve even had a lovely woman from Brazil come in requesting that we “kill it”. First of all – there’s nothing wrong with having an accent. Accents reflect diversity and cultural richness, and fill our ears with such a variety of lovely music. An […]

  • 25 Nightmare Words

    In the years of working on American English pronunciation with clients from all over the world, we see certain words come up again and again that are simply DIFFICULT to pronounce well. Americans have their own lists of “Most Mispronounced Words” (e.g. “expresso” for “espresso”) but the words here are uniquely problematic for many non-natives. […]

  • T’be or Not T’be: The Connectors

    Sometimes we meet a new client who wants to improve his or her American accent, but who already has very good English pronunciation. During the initial interview, a minute or two might go by where no traces of consonant or vowel substitutions occur, the intonation is fully American in nature, and even the oral posture […]

  • Accent tips for Spanish speakers

    We see many accent modification clients from all the various Spanish-speaking countries, mostly from Spain, Columbia, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile. Although each country’s accent has a slightly different flavor, there are many common features in areas of pronunciation, stress/rate/rhythm, intonation, and oral posture. Here are some suggestions to improve your American accent: Slow down. But don’t slow […]

  • Not Going on Holiday

    I often hear non-native American English speakers using the term “going on holiday”.  Let’s take a look at this. “Holiday” is an interesting word and you’ll see it pop up all over the place at this time of the year. However, Americans never say they’re “going on holiday”. Nor do we say “going on holidays” […]