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Lisa’s Blog 2017-01-24T23:22:14+00:00

my new YouTube video for the American T sound

February 13th, 2009|

I have just posted this video on YouTube to help you sound more American. The letter "T" is pronounced like a fast "D" sound when it's between two vowels. Here are some examples of words: "better," "city," "Italy," "matter." The "T" in those words changes and becomes a different sound. Watch this short video to learn more.

Speaking English faster to sound more American?

February 8th, 2009|

Usually this is not a good idea. Often speaking fast will make your accent sound stronger. Here's why:There are specific rules that native speakers subconsciously follow when they speak quickly. If you don’t follow these rules your speech will be harder to understand. Americans reduce certain words and stress or emphasize certain others. This creates the rhythm of the language. Also, speaking faster might cause you to skip certain consonant sounds. It’s better to speak slowly and clearly at first. Using a louder voice generally [...]

American pronunciation of your foreign name

January 28th, 2009|

How do Americans pronounce your name? Do they struggle to say it? What name do you give when ordering coffee at Starbucks, your real name or an Americanized version?This is a common topic that comes up in my classes. Some of my students insist that Americans should pronounce their name the way it's pronounced in their native language. They say that Americans don't want to make an effort to do this.I understand that your name is your identity. It's the name your mother and father [...]

free dowloads (response to a question)

January 19th, 2009|

A recent blog reader asked:"Do you know of any free downloads (listen and repeat type, if those exist)? I think those would help me a lot since I pronounce the individual words and short phrases really native-like but when I talk for a few minutes or say longer sentences in conversations my accent is evident."Actually I haven't come accross anything of quality that you can download for free. Really the least expensive accent reduction audio materials that I know about are the ones that I [...]

What Your Voice Says About You

January 11th, 2009|

I found this interesting article on Career Builder. It confirms what I say to my students over and over again. Don't speak so fast. Not only will your accent be stronger, but you might be perceived as insecure or not careful about details. There's nothing wrong with speaking slowly unless your voice is monotonous. This is easy to fix when you learn the rules of word stress.If you already speak quickly in your native language, your accent in English will be so much more difficult [...]

response to comment about embarassing mistakes

January 3rd, 2009|

reader wrote: "Thanks very much for putting up this wonderful blog. I have been in the US for more than 7 years. My accent now is somewhat of a hybrid between American and Indian. Still at times I end up pronouncing some words (out of no where) in my native accent which in some cases is embarassing. Can you give some tips on how to avoid such awful untimely mistakes? Also, I always have this confusion about pronouncing words like "coke" and "cock" (I am [...]

When your mouth hurts from speaking English

December 18th, 2008|

I was inspired to write this because of what happened with one of my accent reduction students today. First I want to tell you about my personal experience with speaking French.When I go to France, the first few days that I am there it’s a struggle to get the words out smoothly and my mouth literally hurts. The mouth muscles and lip movements used in speaking French are just so different, and sometimes it’s just exhausting. I want to give up and just go back [...]

Don’t stop practicing! Here’s how:

November 28th, 2008|

1. Pick a topic that you can speak about for three to four minutes. Record yourself giving this speech. Listen to the recording and write down all of the errors that you have heard in your speech. Then, re-record the same speech, and try to correct the mistakes that you made before. Repeat this same speech 3 or 4 times, trying to sound better each time.2. Watch an American film over and over again, rewinding certain scenes and repeating them out loud. Be creative. There [...]

No Bad Words Allowed!!

November 24th, 2008|

Yesterday my student said to me that he had a client in “Newport Bitch.” I told him not to use bad language in my office!!! Of course, he meant “Newport Beach.” He told me that his American client laughed a little when he said that word in front of him. Have you made the same mistake? Have you confused the words “beach” and “bitch” and “sheet” and “shit?” That can be embarrassing!OK, here’s how to fix the error:First, don’t just assume that the first vowel [...]

Who are your role models for good speech?

November 20th, 2008|

In an effort to sound more American, some of my students try to imitate the speech of their native speaking friends, colleagues or spouses. While this is generally a good idea, you need to be aware of the fact that some native speakers may not be such great role models for you. Be careful of those who mumble (have lazy lips and don’t fully enunciate each sound). Generally talk radio show hosts and news broadcasters are good role models to imitate. Action movie heroes are [...]

analyze your speaking style

November 7th, 2008|

Here’s something that will help some of you quickly improve your accents.Do a little self-diagnosis of your individual speaking style. Here are three questions to ask yourself:1. Do you tend to speak quickly in you native language?If yes, you probably speak fast when you are speaking English as well. This can cause your accent to sound stronger, particularly if you are not following the rules of American English word stress and intonation (The melody of the language.) Think about it; if you are speaking fast [...]

Advice for Success in the American Corporate World

October 21st, 2008|

A majority of my students are educated professionals. They are MBA’s, engineers, research scientists, lawyers. Some of them had already achieved a level of success and professional respect in their native countries before coming to the US. Others got their graduate degrees here.They are able to express themselves in a sophisticated and eloquent way in their native languages. Even though Americans regularly compliment them on their fluent English, (and indeed, they are very fluent) they are secretly frustrated inside because they know that their ability [...]