Accent Reduction online by Judy Tobe

September 2010 Archives

Beware - Your Accent May Be Affecting Your Credibility

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In a recent survey, communication skills were cited as the single most important decisive factor in choosing employees. The survey, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh's Katz Business School (, points out that communication skills, including written and oral presentations, as well as an ability to work with others, are the main factors contributing to job success.

In this article, one can clearly see how the accent of a non-native English speaking physician can affect his credibility and pose significant risks to his patients.

A unique tool for practicing English pronunciation is Voice of America - Special English section.

Go to:

This website provides current world news and developments in science. What is brilliant about this site is that it is presented both in print and read by reporters at a slightly slower rate than usual. The benefit to you, the non-native English speaker, is that it allows you to listen to the story and practice American English pronunciation, word stress and intonation. You may notice correct English stress patterns, intonation and vowel and consonant production that you might miss when listening to English at a faster rate. Also, if you are unsure of a meaning of a word, you can double-click on that word and a dictionary pops up - so it will help your vocabulary as well.

To best use this site:

1. Choose an article of interest

2. Listen to the article noticing consonant and vowel pronunciation, stress and intonation

3. Play the audio again pausing after each sentance and repeat the sentence aloud. Try to sound as much like the speaker as you can. Keep doing this until you feel comfortable with your speech pattern.

4. Next, play the audio and at the same time read together with the speaker

 Give this a try and please let me know what you think.



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American English Pronunciation: Linking

When I start to work with clients their first inclination is to pronounce every word distinctly and clearly which makes them sound very robotic.  They soon learn that English speakers link words together, which results in speech that flows and is not choppy.

There are several rules regarding linking:
1.       The consonant + consonant rule:
When a word ends with a consonant and the next word begins with the same sound, pronounce that sound only one time.


Jack went to the seminar.  --> Jack wento the seminar.
He has poor time management skills. --> He has poor timanagement skill.
We like cookies. -> We likookies.
Does Bob still live in Florida? --> Does Bob stillivin Florida?
She saw both therapists for her injury. --> She saw botherapists for herinjury.
2.       The consonant  + vowel rule:

When a word ends with a consonant and the next word begins with a vowel, link the consonant to the vowel


1.       I'm available to do your workshop. --> I'mavailable to do your workshop.
2.       Both offices are in Boston. --> Bothofficesarein Boston.
3.       Can it be completed on time? --> Canit be completedon time?
4.       Call a doctor. --> Calla doctor.
5.       Save it for dessert. Savit for dessert.

3.       The vowel + vowel rule:

When one word ends in an /i/, /aI/, /eI/  and the following word begins with a vowel  insert a /y/ sound. When one word ends in a /aʊ/, /oʊ/ or /u/ and the following word begins with a vowel insert a /w/ sound.


We always go there. --> Weyalways go there.
That was my idea. --> That was myyidea.
Can I pay online? --> Can I payyonline?
How are you? --Howware you?
She didn't know anything about it. --> She didn't knowwanythingaboutit.
Sam is going to Alaska. --> Samis going towAlaska.

"Schwa" - The Most Common Sound in Spoken English

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One of the most important sounds you can have for a good American accent is the schwa sound. English speakers pronounce the vowel sound in most reduced syllyables with the schwa sound. The IPA symbol for schwa is an upside down e - /ə/. It sounds like a shorter, weaker version of the sound 'uh'.

Here is an example - see how many schwa sounds there are in the following sentence:

Thə studənt lost his pencəl when əttending thə semənar.


Listen to the following words with the schwa sound and repeat them:

1. əbout

2.  ərrive

3.  cəmbine

4.  performənce

5,  əcassion

6. engəneer

7. welcəme

8. listən

9. practəce


I promise, if you begin to use this sound, it will really improve your accent!



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This page is an archive of entries from September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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