Accent Reduction for Indians, Part 1

Many Indian English speakers who work with North Americans find that their colleagues and coworkers have difficulty understanding their spoken English.

This can be very frustrating if you have been speaking English since your youth!

If this sounds familiar you may find yourself wondering, “Why is my spoken English so difficult for American English speakers to understand?”

One BIG reason is that most Indian English speakers never learned to use American English syllable stress patterns.

One of the most significant features of spoken American English is its use of syllable stress. Syllable stress patterns, with their clear and reduced vowel sounds, create a speech rhythm that American listeners use to identify words.

Here is an true story that illustrates why stressing syllables correctly is so important.

A couple of years ago, I was having lunch at a local restaurant. At the table next to me were two Indian gentlemen. They were talking about the BP oil spill.

When speaking, the men were stressing the B in BP instead of the P as we do in American English. This made the abbreviation BP sound like the word beepy instead of BP (beepee). I found myself thinking, “The beepy oil spill?

It took me a few seconds to figure out that they were talking about British Petroleum.

This is just one example of the way that I, like other  American English speakers, rely on hearing the correct syllable stress in order to understand what is being said.

In my experience stressing syllables correctly is often an area of great difficulty for Indians. They typically stress each syllable equally, or they stress the first syllable of a word as in the BP example above.

When speakers stress each syllable equally, or consistently stress the first syllable, it makes their words sound very “accented” to American listeners and creates speech patterns that extremely difficult for us to understand!

If you are an Indian speaker who wants to improve your American English pronunciation please take a look at my Indians training course. I can help you improve the way you speak!

American English Communication for Indians

IT professionals are strongly encouraged to check out my course.