Blog

Articles about speaking English, American accent, and whatever else seems relevant at the moment

  • 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 […]

  • Accents in the World of Siri and Alexa

    We recently worked with a pharmacist who came to us after failing the speaking/listening portion of the TOEFL test 12 times. Passing this test was a necessary step for him in moving up in his career. What he explained to me when he was describing his continued failure was that the test is no longer […]

  • 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 […]

  • Of course everyone has an accent!

    Having an “accent” is based on the creation of a norm that is in the center of a spectrum. Saying that someone “has an accent” is based on perspective as viewed from the center of that norm. A norm is pretty much the mid-point of almost anything (from behavior, personality, lifestyle, clothing, to a dinner […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Group American Accent Classes

    Perhaps you and your friends share the same native language and have been wanting to work on improving your American accent. Maybe you’re an HR professional with a handful of international hires and would like us to come to you. Sign up for one of our small-group classes! Our group sessions are ideal for friends, coworkers, […]

  • 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. […]