Learn American Accent

  • 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 […]

  • The one dead giveaway that your first language wasn’t English

    After almost 20 years in the accent business, my favorite challenge is meeting a new client who wants accent reduction training but does not sound like a non-native speaker. In these cases, I have to listen for a couple minutes to get past what seems like a bona fide “American” accent. I think the prize […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 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

    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 […]