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Accent Modification – Tips

  • Watch the mouth movements of native born American speakers as you watch television. Repeat what you hear them say and try to imitate the rhythm and intonation of their speech.
  • Slow your speech down until you have a good understanding of the correct rhythm and intonation of American English. This will make it much easier for a listener to understand you.
  • Become best friends with your dictionary. Familiarize yourself with the phonetic symbols and look up words that you are unsure of how to pronounce to get the proper pronunciation.
  • Keep a small notebook and pen with you at all times. Write down words, phrases, and/or sentences that are particularly difficult for you to pronounce. Ask native speakers to pronounce them for you. Also, if you have access to a tape recorder, record these words, listen to them, and practice saying them.
  • Focus on complete word production. Pay particular attention to word endings, especially “s” and “ed”.
  • Read aloud in English from books, magazines and newspapers for 15-20 minutes each day. This will help strengthen your mouth muscles that are used for speaking English. Research has shown that it can take approximately 3 months of daily practice to develop strong mouth muscles for speaking a new language.
  • Have patience! Changing the way that you speak will not happen overnight. People often expect instant results and give up too soon. With proper effort and practice, you can change the way you speak.