Language and Culture

  • Accent, Identity, and my American DNA

    1. In search of my American DNA There are many good reasons to hire an accent coach. If your job description includes Communication in any capacity (and really, which job doesn‚Äôt?), mastering your accent will definitely make you a better communicator. Accent work will improve your delivery, boost your confidence and shorten the distance between […]

  • 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 […]

  • Tipping in America: A Scientific Study by Tim Urban

    Summer is never easy – as the non-stop parties and sunny picnics and fun outdoor events keep us from getting any decent work done. So… in honor of AccentsOff’s 8th year anniversary (yet another reason to throw a party ūüôÉ ), we are NOT writing an August blog post. Instead – I want to share […]

  • Introduction to American Culture, Part 2

    In part 1 of our blog on American Culture we discussed the American propensity to work hard, skip lunch, and devote oneself to the office.¬† In some cultures this devotion is imposed from the top down; from the boss to the worker.¬† In American culture however, it‚Äôs often a choice made by the worker based […]

  • Introduction to American Culture, Part 1

    Many of our accent reduction students are interested not only in perfecting their pronunciation but also want to better understand the American psyche.¬† The American English language reveals the American personality.¬† Like Americans themselves, our language is a world where exceptions are the rules, where consistent pronunciation of vowels and consonants is a moving target, […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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” […]

  • Halloween Trivia and Tips

    Halloween greetings! Here is some basic vocabulary and Halloween trivia ¬†you absolutely need to know for all your pagan partying this weekend.   ‘Jack o’ lantern’¬†=> in this country you’ll see them made from pumpkins. Jack o’ lanterns are believed to have originated in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands during the 19th century. They were […]

  • Don’t Make a Sound

    It’s been a while since there’s been an AccentsOff¬†blog post. It’s¬†because the AccentsOff world got kind of chaotic with a new website launch on top of¬†a rough, freezing NYC winter that somehow made it hard for the fingers to¬†type. ¬†But it’s spring now and body parts are thawed. And the brain works little. Wait, no, […]