The Most Important Goals of Accent Neutralization

What are the most important goals for an accent neutralization program?

You might think the sounds of English are the most important goals to work on. But what many don’t realise is there are additional features of English that may be more helpful to focus on. These features include word stress and sentence stress, rhythm, intonation and linking words.

The wrong stress on a word may confuse your listener. Percent sounds like person with the stress on the wrong syllable.

Wrong sentence stress or wrong intonation can confuse your listener, and he may think you’re asking a question, or you’re not finished talking yet, if your intonation goes up instead of down.

Not linking sounds in words and between words. If you ask for a Die Et Coke, will they understand you want diet coke?  Learn to link inside and between words. (diyet coke)

Sounds of English are important to learn (bag and beg are not the same), and other features of english are valuable to learn too.

Having another person listen and point out your errors is a good first step to pronouncing English clearly. A teacher who provides feedback and sets goals for learning is the next best step. Be sure to learn these other features of English along with learning sounds.

 

Final Stops – Linking to fix the added Schwa Sound

Pronouncing Final Stops English ESL San Jose CAWhen we say these at the beginning of a word, we fully pronounce the stop sound with an explosion of air.

Think of the beginning sound for ten, beam or give.

But when a stop sound is at the end of a word, we reduce the sound.  The explosion of air is very quiet or absent.

When saying a stop sound at the end of a word, like the d in “good morning“, be sure to make the d reduced, and don’t make an explosion of air.  If you do, it will sound like “goodah morning”. (Do you hear that added Schwa sound?) Instead try to take the d off “good” and LINK it to “morning“.  Make it sound more like “goo  dmorning“.  Then you’ll be using American English pronunciation.

Here’s a free printable to practice final stop sounds correctly in phrases and sentences.

Reposted from avspeechtherapy.com.  Original post was August 15, 2015.

Free English Pronunciation Course in San Jose CA

ESL

ESL

Ready to improve your English Pronunciation?

Join us in September 2017 for a free course of English Pronunciation held at WestGate Church, SouthHills Campus, in San Jose, CA, every monday morning!  Classes start Monday September 11, 2017 at 9:00 am registration and 9:30-11:30 class. Students can also join at any time during the year.

the cube @ south hillsOur location is 6601 Camden Avenue, San Jose CA 95120. We charge a one-time registration fee of $10, and there is an English Pronunciation textbook required (cost is about $30).  All 29 classes are free.  Our course runs from September to May 2018.

  • Is it sometimes hard to pronounce English for Americans to understand you?
  • Do you avoid speaking English, or using English on the phone, because it’s difficult?
  • Have you wondered what it’s like to learn about pronouncing English?
  • Do you think it’s hard to change a foreign accent?
I invite you to consider coming to our English Pronunciation class this fall.  Find out about all these issues while learning about American English speech patterns, and speaking in new and helpful ways, so others understand you!
ESL classroomOur teachers are 2 native American English speakers and one native Canadian English speaker, who work in our class, and we want to give you lots time to practice English. Intermediate and advanced students are welcome at our class.  
Learn more about our program and like our Facebook page – ESL Classes Westgate South Hills – San Jose, CA
We also have regular ESL classes going on at the same time.  We have 10 teachers and helpers, and we have 6 classes form beginner to advanced. We also have free babysitting for infants – age 5 on campus, so young parents can join us, too!
Contact our ESL program at WestGate South Hills Church by email at esl@westgatechurch.org or by phone at 408-268-1676.

How do I know if I need English Pronunciation Lessons?

Pronunciation lessons promote clearer English speech

Pronunciation lessons promote clearer English speech

How do I know if I need lessons?

  • Your listeners look confused, and often ask you to repeat.
  • You make errors that offend others because they misunderstand your meaning (such as “dog” for “Doug”).
  • You say single words clearly, but pronouncing sentences is not understandable.
  • You miss career advancement because of your foreign accent.
  • You struggle to communicate with new people, or on the telephone.
  • You avoid using English because you are afraid of making mistakes.

Learn more about English pronunciation lessons here.

Free ESL Classes in San Jose CA

ESL Classes 2017-18Free ESL classes in San Jose, CA, are held every Monday, September 11, 2017 – May 14, 2018.  Please join us.

Classes are free.  Some teachers will use a textbook, about $30, and there is a registration fee of $10/year.

Did you know we have 6 levels of classes, beginners to advanced, including a special class on English Pronunciation, taught by speech-Language pathologists! We look forward to seeing you at ESL class this year!

How Linking Improves English Sentences

Linking Consonants & VowelsFor many Asian speakers, I often hear they were taught to speak Engliah, by SPEAKING EACH WORD SEPARATELY.

However, English speakers are listening for words that LINK TOGETHER in a sentence. The easiest way to start linking is finding words that have an ending consonant next to a beginning vowel.

Examples:

A lot of people were there. > A LOTOV people were there.

I need a new doctor. > I NEEDA new doctor.

Are you driving over now? > Are you DRIVINGOVER now?

Learning english takes practice. > LEARNINGENGLISH takes practice.

Try linking consonants to vowels for improved English pronunication.

Linking Consonants & Vowels

Reflecting on Pronunciation Class at the End of the Year

ESL Class Pronunciation Class San Jose CAWe had our last ESL English Pronunciation class yesterday. I have been thinking about what worked well this year, and what could be improved.  I love to survey the students at the end of the year.  Their responses help me to get a better idea of what they liked and didn’t like.  Here’s a free printable of my class “end-of-the-year” class survey.

They all wanted more talking time.  That shouldn’t surprise me since teachers talking too much is the No. 1 complaint of ESL learners everywhere!  So next year I’m going to use my student teachers to break into small groups more often.

The homework I give is really effective. Developed after 5 years of teaching, I’m pleased with the homework portion of class.  I give students a listening assignment – using web sources, they pick one audio clip (about 1 minute), listen to it, then write a brief summary of what the audio clip was about. In class they read their paragraph outloud.  This homework targets listening, writing, grammar, vocabulary and speaking. So the words they use to recall the paragraph are the words they read out in class.  This is different from reading a random paragraph the teacher chooses.  Because it actually targets the real vocabulary and grammar the students use!  See my previous post on listening homework with a free printable of my Pronunciation Class Homework.

They wanted grammar correction.  Since I focus on helping them pronounce English I usually stick to sounds, linking, reductions  and intonation in sentences and conversation.  I have not been correcting grammar very much, or very explicitly.  Since the class is only 1 hour, 40 minutes (and a few of them arrive late) they really isn’t much time to correct grammar.  I might be able to improve this if I use my student teachers in small groups more.

I want to try using more movement in class next year.  mostly I just taught at the front of hte class and wrote on the board.  I’d like to do more picture description too.  I think this may stretch the students even more.

Pronouncing “the” or “thee”?

Pronounce The or Thee

Pronounce The or Thee

A very common word in English is “the”.  But you might notice we pronounce it two different ways!

If “the” is next to a consonant, it will be pronounced [thuh]:

the book  [thuh book]

the car  [thuh kar]

the man  [thuh man]

If “the”is next to a vowel, it will be pronounced [thee] and often has a linking sound [y] to help you easy say the phrase:

the orange  [thee (y) oranj]

the ending  [thee (y) ending]

the acorn  [thee (y) akorn]

So practice the pattern for an improved American English pronunciation.

 

Pronouncing “Jesus”

Wedding Jacob Brittany

Wedding Jacob Brittany

My Korean student came to Bible study today. And I noticed the way she said “Jesus” was hard to understand. Now this is not the “Jesus” that my Hispanic friends say –“Hay-soos”. That is very easy to understand. This Korean “Jesus” sounded like “Jeezhus”. I noticed that instead of using a Z sound there in the middle, she was using a ZH sound, like in the middle of “measure” or “vision”.

So we chatted about how to say “Jesus” using an American English pronunciation.

Jesus = “Jee  ZuS”

To get that correct Z sound, practice Z words like zip, zipper, zoo, zebra, buzz, fizz, ways (z), and goes (z).

If it’s still hard to get the Z sound in there, try backwards chaining. That’s when you say the last syllable first, and add the next syllable, building the word outward from there. So try “Zus”, “Zus”, “Zus”, “Jee  Zus”, “Jee  Zus”, “Jee  Zus”.

Best of luck, and keep up the good work speaking English!

 

Close & Clothes (Misunderstood Words)

Close_Clothes_pronunciationMy ESL and pronunciation students say these words are often confused – “close” and “clothes”.

Below are some helpful hints for pronouncing

close – near

close – shut

clothes – apparel

1.      close kl oh s near My house is close to school.

Almost always “close to”

 

2.      close kl oh z to shut, or to end He will close the door.

The service will close with a hymn.

 

3.      cloze kl oh z a test where the reader supplies the missing word Cloze worksheets are often used in ESL classes.

 

 

4.      clothes kl oh z (more common pronunciation) garments for the body She wore her favorite clothes.

 

 

5.        kl oh thz  – th/vibration (less common pronunciation)    

 

 

 

6.      clothe kl oh th – th/vibration (uncommon word) to put clothes on, or to dress Clothe yourself with compassion” Colossians 3:12

 

 

7.      closed kl oh zd past tense of close, shut The door was closed.

 

 

8.      clothed kl oh thd – th/vibration past tense of clothe, or dressed She was clothed all in white.