Categories
Accents American

The Happy Secret To Developing An Optimal English Accent

The English alphabet is a scam!

I say so because it is non-phonetic meaning the letters will trick you- they will be spelt in another way than you might think. For example take the word about. Instead of əˈbaʊt (UH-BOUT) learners are likely to say æbaʊt (AH-BOUT).

Vowel Chart

So there is a very subtle difference in tongue movement (we are talking about a matter of millimeters). This will make the difference between giving the impression your English is not so proficient and being accepted as a native speaker! So, here is the secret weapon for perfecting your English accent: Enter, vowel chart!

The vowel chart is a cross-section of the inside of your mouth. It will help you to become mindful of tongue movement. Where is your tongue when you say the vowel sound in cheese (IPA symbol of EE is i:)

The tip of your tongue reaches close to the alveolar ridge, a few millimeters before your upper teeth.

Matter of millimeters

How about when you say the vowel sound in moon *(IPA symbol of OO is u:)? The back of the tongue gets bunched and moves back into the mouth, upwards.

You can remember the tongue goes up for the vowel sound i: (cheese, please, seed) with this phrase: reaching for the cheese.

In addition, you can close your eyes and really get mindful of tongue movement. Try say i: + u: (chEESE, mOOn) and feel the tongue shift back and forth.

Get even more mindful of your tongue generating the u: sound by being conscious of how the sides of the back tongue touches the inner molar teeth- very delicate, but I’m telling you these are the sensibilities that must be considered for a flawless accent.

Difficulties for Asian students

Sometimes my Asian and European students have difficulty differentiating between a long vowel and short vowel sound. They would say: spickers instead of speakers. The vowel chart makes you realised, you have to move your tongue tip up ever so slightly, a few millimeters- then the air for lungs can take a ride on your elevate tongue for you to successfully pronounce a long vowel EA sound.

Categories
Accents American

How You Can Improve Your English Accent.

Chinese speakers have problems with vowel sounds in English because the modern Chinese alphabet – the Pinyin– is phonetic meaning they should be pronounced the way they look.

As a consequence, instead of əˈbaʊt they are likely to say æbaʊt. That’s AH-bout instead of UH-bout.

Now there is a very subtle difference in tongue movement so, look at the secret weapon for fixing this. Enter, vowel chart!

The vowel chart, also known as the vowel quadrilateral, is a cross-section of the tongue position in the mouth. It shows you the exact coordinates for vowel sounds. For this example, to make the ə sound, it is a central vowel sound meaning your tongue is in the center of your mouth behind the lower teeth. what about the height? Mid height!

If you say æbaʊt (AH-bout) this is WRONG. But it’s equally important to know the vowel chart position for it so you can adjust it to the correct tongue position.

This video was made with ManyCam. It’s a versatile tool for what I call “edutainment”. You can get $10 discount if you click here