American English Pronunciation Tips- Part 2

 

cats

cats

This is the second in a series of articles that describe accent reduction strategies you can use to improve your American English pronunciation. Here are two more key strategies you can use to reduce your accent.

Accent Reduction Strategy 4-Learn to Pronounce Word Final “s” Correctly

When the letter “s” falls at the end of an English word it can have one of three sounds.  These sounds are;

/es/ as in  the word churches

 /s/ as in  the word cats

/z/ as in the word loves

In order to improve your American English accent you must learn the rules for pronouncing these word endings correctly.  I have found that English learners often fail to pronounce word final “s” at all. This is both a grammatical and pronunciation mistake and it will contribute to your foreign accent.

Accent Reduction Strategy 5-Learn to Use Sentence Stress Correctly 

Unlike many other languages, spoken English is a stress timed language. That means that the content and focus words in sentence receive strong emphasis and the function words are reduced.

Let’s look at an example with this sentence.

SUSAN is coming to DINNER.

SUSAN is a content word so it receives a lot of stress. DINNER is the focus word so it receives the most stress. The other words are function words so they are reduced in spoken English.

Understanding which types of words in a sentence receive stress or emphasis is of crucial importance to the rhythm of American spoken English. Your American English pronunciation will greatly improve if you learn to use sentence stress correctly!

You can learn more about these GREAT ACCENT REDUCTION STRATEGIES in my Accent Reduction Essentials Course.