Lisa’s Blog

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Lisa’s Blog 2017-01-24T23:22:14+00:00

How to Pronounce the word THE – three rules

January 13th, 2018|

Learn the two different ways to pronounce the article "the". Sometimes we pronounce it as "thee" with a long /i/ sound. Learn the rules in this video. But first, make sure that you can correctly pronounce the TH sound. Lightly touch your upper teeth with the tip of your tongue. There should be a vibration of air that comes out between your tongue and your upper teeth. Don't press your tongue too hard because this will block the air flow, and then the "th" will [...]

The 2nd edition of “Mastering the American Accent” is here

September 19th, 2016|

The second edition of "Mastering the American Accent" just became available for sale. You can buy it on Amazon or wherever books are sold.   It has a lot more practice exercises for syllable stress and word stress and sentence rhythm. These are very important skills to learn if you want to speak with a natural sounding accent.  Also, the audio is downloadable now.  (instead of CD's).  There are three hours of additional audio.  All the vowel sounds of American English are covered in detail. [...]

Accent reduction – difficult American vowel sounds

December 3rd, 2015|

One of the most difficult things about learning to speak with an American accent is knowing how to correctly pronounce different vowel sounds that may sound similar to you. Here are some very common mistakes that my accent reduction students make: Do you know the difference between? : feet and fit law and low full and fool beat and bit Doug and dog sheet and shit  (that's an embarrassing mistake!) cup and cap and cop Which vowel sounds are difficult for you?  Are there some [...]

English Vowels – Pronunciation Test

January 5th, 2015|

  Check your knowledge of American English vowel sounds by taking this test Which word is pronounced with a different vowel sound? (doesn’t rhyme with the other words?)  This test is not as easy as it seems.  If you get 12 or more right, your pronunciation of American vowels is very good.  If not, you can improve by listening carefully to native speakers. Also, you can review Video 1 from my video series "50 Rules You Must Know."  (answers are at the bottom)                    A              [...]

Practicing the American Accent with film and TV scenes

September 8th, 2014|

A great technique for improving your accent is reading short scenes from your favorite film or TV show.  You can often find the script on line. Then watch the scene and try to imitate the actors'  way of speaking.  Practice a short, three or four minute scene over and over again.  You can even try to memorize it.  Pay attention to the word stress, intonation and linking of word groups together. Try the following scene: Practice Exercise: Here is an example of a very popular TV series:  Breaking Bad.  Here [...]

Speak English with a more powerful voice

May 5th, 2014|

A lot of my students struggle with various voice issues. All of these issues can prevent you from speaking English clearly and may make your foreign accent even stronger. For example: speaking too fast speaking with a weak voice breathing incorrectly mumbling (not opening mouth enough) loss of energy at the end of the sentence hesitation and lack of confidence in their voice These issue can affect how easy or difficult it is for others to understand what you are saying. Here are two videos [...]

New English Pronunciation Videos for Sale

September 2nd, 2013|

The new videos are called "Say It Correctly - Fixing the Most Common Pronunciation Errors of Words."   They contain lessons on how to fix the biggest mistakes that non-native speakers make. I have collected lists of words that are universally difficult to pronounce for my accent reduction students.  I made lessons that will teach you how to fix those mistakes and gain more confidence when you're speaking English. The videos are almost 2 hours long.  They are intended for intermediate and advanced learners of English. [...]

New pronunciation videos coming soon!

July 2nd, 2013|

For the last few days we have been shooting the new accent reduction videos. They will help non-native speakers of English to fix the common pronunciation rules of English words.  I have been collecting lists of words for the past 20 years of teaching. I hear these mistakes over and over again, even from my most advanced students - some of whom have lived in the US for over 20 years.Time to fix those mistakes permanently!

Good American accent in a film role

June 2nd, 2013|

My student, Roberta Setzu, is an actress from Italy.  Her American accent sounds amazing in this film clip.  She worked hard on it, and it certainly paid off.  Great job Roberta!(She plays the daughter in this clip.)

Why English Is So Hard

March 21st, 2013|

This poem demonstrates the challenges of learning English. So many exceptions to the rules. We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.Then one fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,Yet the plural of moose should never be meese,You may find a lone mouse or a whole nest of mice,But the plural of house is houses, not hice. If the plural of man is always called men,Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be [...]

Words with same pronunciation – “Homophones”

December 13th, 2012|

Many of my students are surprised to find out that the following three words are all pronounced the same:they're, there, their  Here are some more homophones which might surprise you.  If you have been pronouncing these words differently, it's an understandable error.  English spelling is crazy!Same pronunciation:berry - bury atom - Adamdo - due (in British English they're different)billed - buildso - sew son - sunmetal - medalwore - warwon - one (this one always surprises people)Which ones surprised you?(You can find a list of other homophones in [...]

Is Your Foreign Name Easy to Pronounce?

September 2nd, 2012|

Many of my foreign-born students have names that are difficult for native speakers of English to pronounce. Some of them decide to change their name to a similar sounding English name, and others prefer to keep their original name and just accept the fact that they will have to teach people how to say it.Here is an interesting article about research done by  business professors of three major universities about how the pronunciation of your name might affect your professional success. According to them, if [...]