You see, back then I’d just realized that the letter ‘A’ can be pronounced differently in certain words despite the phonetic description not revealing anything different about it.
Let’s take, for example, the following two words:
On both occasions, the “ash” sound (æ) represents the letter ‘A’, and previously I would have thought the letter ‘A’ gets pronounced identically in both words “drank” and “flat”.
Turns out that nothing could be further from the truth – on many occasions the “ash” sound gets pronounced as ‘E’ (as in the word “men”; it’s pronounced the same way in the word “drank” as well!) in American English; however, at the time of writing the original article I was still a little bit confused about the whole thing.
Now, more than a year on, I received a comment from Juhapekka (he’s a prolific commentator on my blogs) where he suggests that it’s probably the STRESS (emphasis) that determines whether the letter ‘A’ is pronounced as ‘E’, ‘æ’ or as the “schwa” (ə) sound.
I wanted to take this opportunity and congratulate all American citizens worldwide and also all those folks who are fans of the US (just like me!) on the 4th of July!
Today is the Independence Day of the United States of America, so why not do something to commemorate this significant day?
It doesn’t have to be anything mad, by the way – you can just watch an American movie, for example, at home and have some popcorn with it and make yourself feel like a true yankee by doing so!
Or you can light up the barbeque in the evening and make some burgers for yourself and a few of your friends in the true American style, or do something else that relates to the 4th of July festivities – after all, if you happen to live in the US, it shouldn’t be difficult to find ways to join the rest of the country who celebrates this day! 😉
Among all other English sounds that foreign English speakers may be struggling with such as the letter ‘R’ or the ‘TH’ sound, the letter ‘W’ also takes a special place with plenty of non-native English speakers not being able to get this sound right.
There is, however, a fairly simple mental trick that you can use in order to get this English sound right, and it doesn’t involve hours long practicing while watching into your mouth in the mirror.
All it takes for you to get the ‘W’ sound right is…
In today’s Accent Adventure video (or in case you can’t watch the video – simply use the audio file just above the video!) we’re going to look at how to pronounce the following American English phrase:
“We’re partners, remember?”
Well, it’s not as if this would be a very common phrase that made me choose it as a focus for today’s video.
It’s because of the multiple ‘R’ sounds that this phrase is very useful for those foreign English speakers who want to sound like Americans and are eager to train their accent.
So, just watch the video above and follow my instructions – and you’ll find out all the following:
Why the American ‘R’ sound is to be perceived as a vowel rather than a consonant and why it helps with your American pronunciation;
How to pronounce the word “partners” and what’s so special about the ‘R’ sound in this particular word;
Also – you’ll find out about the TV program this phrase was taken from!
Are you eager to do some American English practicing?
Would you like to sound like an American English speaker?
Well, a good start would be to learn a phrase that’s used in American English and also learn the way it’s pronounced, how does that sound to you?
Today we’re going to look at the following American English phrase:
You don’t know jack about!
This is quite an informal phrase and can be used during arguments with people you know quite well, and it simply means “You don’t know anything about…”
I personally picked this phrase up while watching the award-winning TV show Breaking Bad (here you can find more phrases used in Breaking Bad), so you can rest assured this phrase is indeed part of American phraseology and it will come in handy in your own English conversations.
Also, even if you never get to use this phrase in real life, you can still practice and develop your American pronunciation by repeating it all over and over again, so please watch the video above where I’m telling you everything you need to know to get this phrase right!
In the video I’m focusing on the KEY SOUNDS in the phrase which is a crucial part of getting your English pronunciation right, and that’s the kind of attitude you should also adopt.
If you’re a non-native English speaker just like me, and if you’re working on your English pronunciation (also – just like me!), your English speech may be prone to the following problem from time to time:
All words and sounds kind of BLUR together and your English speech becomes SLURRED.
Whenever it happens to me, for example, I also get the feeling as if I’m overdoing my English pronunciation; so I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that whenever you experience this issue, there’s a chance you’re trying TOO HARD to sound like a native American or British English speaker.
Is there a way you can get your speech back on track and start pronouncing English words more clearly and focus on what to say rather than how you should say it?
all of which tells me that there are a lot of misconceptions out there about American and British English among non-native English speakers, and I’m going to address them all in this article.
So, if you’re tormented by the choice between American and British English, read this article and I promise you’ll have a very clear picture of the differences between the two versions of the English language and most importantly – you’ll have a very clear plan of action!
I’ve been speaking with the American Pronunciation for a long, long time now.
As a matter of fact, the last video I recorded with me speaking with the British accent or the so-called Received Pronunciation was 10 months ago and it seems like a lifetime away – you can check it out HERE.
Now, having said all this I have to admit I truly enjoyed my British Accent mission and for the most part my enjoyment was derived from the fact that initially I thought I wouldn’t be able to manage the Received Pronunciation whereas in the end it turned out to be not as hard of an accent.
Should I Focus on the American English on this Blog OR Should I Do Both – British AND American?
So basically it boils down to choosing whether I’m going to alternate between the two main English accents – American and British – or I’m going to stick with what I love most – the American Pronunciation.
And that’s the question I’m asking you, my dear blog reader!
Yet you hold to a belief that it’s only possible under supervision of a professional accent reduction therapist because you can’t judge your own speech properly, isn’t that right?
Well, guess what?
Nothing could be further from the truth ❗
Not only you’re fully capable of judging your own English speech and making the necessary adjustments as you go along, but it’s also a crucial part of the whole accent reduction and pronunciation improvement thing!
I think the reason why you believe into this myth of the only real help being a highly paid professional is the following:
You’ve tried speaking like an American or British English speaker on certain occasions;
You’ve drawn the conclusion that you sound plain stupid as you try to imitate your target accent;
You’ve drawn yet another conclusion that you just can’t make the right judgment in relation to your English speech and you need another person correcting it!
Now, let’s be clear on one thing, my friend.
I’m afraid you’ve made a big mistake by equaling your ability to evaluate your own speech WITH knowing what exactly you have to focus on when speaking!
They’re two entirely different things altogether, and while you indeed need someone to tell you HOW you should speak (and bear in mind – that someone doesn’t necessarily have to be a highly paid professional!), there’s no reason on Earth as to why you couldn’t judge your own English pronunciation against certain standards and then make the necessary adjustments as you go about your pronunciation practice!