Here’s help for Chinese speakers to get a more American English sound. When consonants “c” (k) and“t” are in the middle of a word (like “practice”), or between two words in a phrase. (like “take two”), hold out the vowel just before the “k” sound, then make a gentle, quiet “k” linked to the “t”.
DO NOT fully pronounce the ‘k’ sound or it will sound like pra KA tice (practice) or da KA tor (doctor).
Listen to the audio here.
Be sure to use your tablet or computer for additional help with Pronouncing English. The following resources (free or cheap) focus on the North American English pronunciation.
MacMillan The Pronunciation App (free) This features words using the sounds of English with IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). It has practice and quizzes for reading, writing and listening.
K12Phonemes (free) Learn the sounds of English with sounds and words, plus a nice video of a real person speaking.
Sounds of Speech ($3.00) This is from the Iowa Phonetics project. You’ll see and hear sounds of English with a video illustration of the mouth saying the sounds/words. The app is $2.99. You can access the program for free with your laptop by going to the University of Iowa Phonetics home (available on a computer or laptop only, not a tablet.)
Dragon Dictation (free) Set it to American English. and the Dragon Dication computer program will try to recognize and turn your spoken sentence into printed text. See how well you’re pronouncing English!
Here are free resources for listening. Audio is in beginner, intermdiate and advanced levels, many with audio transcripts.
Linking is very important and must be learned to improve your compensability and efficiency of spoken English. If you are speaking sentences without linking expected words and sounds together, it is probably very difficult to understand your English.
Let’s look at linking consonants to vowels. A common pattern in English is liking the ending D sound to the word “it”: (consonant-vowel link)
find it > fin dit
tried it > tri dit
spread it > sprea dit
wanted it > wan ti dit
needed it > nee di dit
added it > a di dit
You can hold out the vowel sound but then link the ending D to the “it”, kind of making it sound like you are saying “dit”. The linking connection should be smooth, without any breaks or pauses. it’s going to sound like a single word, and that’s ok! That’s expected, and English speakers understand you more quickly and easily.
Have you learned these common reductions of English?
“gonna” is a reduction of “going to”
“hafta” is a reduction of “have to”
“I wanna” is a reduction of “I want to…”
“I gotta…” is a reduction of “I’ve got to…”
Some think reduced English forms are lazy or sloppy, BUT THEY ARE NOT. Reduced forms are EXPECTED in most conversations, in both casual and formal settings. Your American listener is expecting reductions of English grammar in order to communicate in a fast and efficient way.