Why Do You Speak American English With an Accent?

imagesIf you were born outside the United States, you probably have an accent when you speak American English.

In this short article I will explain why you have a an accent. Then I will explain 3 areas you must study if you want to reduce your accent.

First of all let’s talk about why you have an accent.

According to the Linguistic Society of America, “a ‘foreign’ accent occurs when a person speaks a new language using the familiar sounds and patterns of their first language.”

Simply stated, you are probably using the sounds and patterns of your native language when you speak English (or trying to speak American style English).

You are habitually transferring the sounds and patterns of your native language to American English. This is creating a”foreign accent” and it may be quite thick.

When you  use the sounds and patterns of your home language it might feel good to you, but American listeners won’t understand what you are saying.

What steps can you take to reduce your accent?  Here are 3 areas that you need to study.

1. Syllable stress patterns– This is critical because Americans rely on hearing the correct syllable stress patterns. If you speak using the wrong patterns they will struggle to understand you.

2.  Sentence stress & intonation patterns- Americans use different types of intonation such as rising and falling to create melody and meaning. They stress some words in a sentence and they reduce others.

3. Vowel & Consonant Sounds-Of course you will also need to learn to pronounce unfamiliar vowel and consonant sounds and sound combinations.

I’ve met a few people who were able reduce their accent through self study. This is unusual. Most people need some help and guidance when they learn a new accent, especially when they first get started.

If you are one of those people who want to find out WHY you have an accent, why not join my online class~

Unlock Your American Accent: 5 Secret Keys to Communication Success

You’ll be glad that you took this first step towards improving the way you speak American English!