Lisa’s Blog

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Lisa’s Blog 2017-01-24T23:22:14+00:00

grammar book I recommend

June 1st, 2009|

Paulo from Italy wrote and asked which grammar book I recommend. My favorite advanced book is "Understanding and Using English Grammar." by Azar. When I taught at Santa Monica College I often had students buy that book. I love it. I have never found a better grammar book in all my years of teaching.Go through all of the exercises in it. Make sure you know all the rules. It's a good review for those of you who have been out of school for a while.As [...]

Pronunciation of “mirror”

May 17th, 2009|

Paolo asked:hi, i'm italian and i have trouble pronouncing "mirror", any suggestion?paoloMy answer:There are some words that are hard to pronounce even by native speakers. "Mirror," "horror" and "murderer" are examples. In my opinion, "mirror" rhymes with the word "nearer," but you will hear variations of that in different parts of the US and also depending on whether someone is speaking carefully and clearly or just rushing through a sentence.Take a look at the link below. A native speaker asked this same question and a [...]

American Accent Video

May 15th, 2009|

My new American Accent instructional video will finally be available for sale in about a week. Students have been asking me to make one for years. They want to be able to see the mouth movements rather than just hear them on CD. Well, finally it's been done! I think you will like it.You will be able to either download it or purchase the actual DVD and have it sent to you.Please check the website: www.accurateenglish.com. It's coming soon.

held consonants (stops)

May 7th, 2009|

Alex asks another question:You mention in the book that many of the final stops are not realeased. Are they "p", "b", "t", "d" and "g" only? Also are they still not released in the plural form of words that ends in "s" e.g. "stops"? Hi Alex,Yes, those are the primary ones you need to worry about.It's particularly important not to release a stop sound when it's followed by another consonant, even if it's part of the same word, as the final S in the word [...]

“CAN” or “CAN’T”?

April 15th, 2009|

A reader named Alex asked the following question:"Hello Lisa, I find one of the biggest differences between the British and the American accents is how "can't" is pronounced which I also find the trickest for us trying to learn the American accent. I just can't really tell the American "can't" from the American "can". So I have to say the British "can't" instead so as to avoid confusion even though I know it sounds awkward when I am trying to imitate the American accent. Could [...]

Asking Americans to help you with your accent?

April 10th, 2009|

Native speakers of English will usually gladly help you to pronounce words that you are struggling with or answer questions you have about the American accent. This is great and you should use this opportunity. But here are some things you consider first:1. Most native speakers are not very aware of their own language. For example you may know more about English grammar rules than they do. So, if you ask them a rule about American pronunciation, very often they have never thought about it [...]

the American T

April 9th, 2009|

Here is my response to a reader who asked the following question:"Hello Lisa, its me Alex again. I have one more question about the American accent - I have ordered your book on amazon.com but it has not come yet so I am not sure if it is already mentioned in your book. Anyway, is it true that the final "t"s on words are always not released?Thanks!"Alex: The T sound in English is very often not released on final words in American English. If you [...]

Using idiomatic expressions

April 2nd, 2009|

As I have posted earlier, most people who are working on reducing their accents should also constantly be trying to improve their vocabulary. It's particularly important to focus on improving your understanding of and ability to use idioms, expressions and slang (when appropriate). Using this type of speech will give the impression that you have native-like experience with the language. This has a psychological effect on the listeners, making them "hear" a less strong accent. Last week I was teaching a student who is an [...]

The American R sound

April 2nd, 2009|

One of the biggest differences between the British and the American accents is that Americans always pronounce the letter R. In England the words "load" and "lord" would sound very similar since the R tends to be silent before another consonant. It's also silent at the end of a word in British English. If you first started studying English outside of the United States, chances are you are creating the British R. Take a look at this short video lesson that I just posted on [...]

Becoming truly fluent in English

March 8th, 2009|

People who are working on reducing their accents and who want to sound more like native speakers must also continually work on improving their overall language fluency.Never neglect other important skill areas of English. Make sure that you are constantly learning new vocabulary and trying to express yourself better in general. Look up any new words that you don't know and try to use them right away so that they will become a part of your new speech. Also, fix those final grammar mistakes that [...]

more details about the American “fast D” sound

February 17th, 2009|

As I stated in a comment below, I didn't have time to cover all of the details of the American T in the YouTube video. Here are some more facts: This fast "d" sound occurs when a T is between two vowels but it also sometimes occurs when the letter T is before an R, as in "party", "forty" and "Marty" and sometimes when the T is before an L as in "little" and "bottle".