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What is the secret to fixing the problem of consonants at the ends of words which are hard to hear?

Speech tip on website for Sunday, July 26, 2020

What is the secret to fixing the problem of  consonants at the ends of words which are hard to hear? 

3 secrets

  1. Make the muscles in the mouth  you need for those sounds stiff and hard.
  2. Pronounce quick consonants quickly and slow consonants slowly.
  3. Make the sounds loud. To make speech sounds loud, make the muscles for the voice stiff or hard and strong.  These are in the throat attached to the vocal folds.  These are also muscles in the chest to push air out.  Command from your mind and brain for loud.

    For more detail on making your speech muscles strong for English speech, click on this link:   blog link http://www.cleartalkmastery.com/blog/2020/07/25/of-all-the-things-you-can-do-to-get-clear-english-what-are-the-most-important/

   Lip muscles are used for “b, “ p,” “m”. So below we have the Clear Talk speech tutor video #37” for “b”… and “ch” and “long vowel  ‘e’”…  in ‘beach”


copyright Clear Talk Mastery, Inc 2020

Speech tutor video #2 for American short vowels “a” and “e” as in “bad” & “bed”

Speech Tutor Video #2 How to pronounce American English Short Vowels “a” and “e” as in “Bad” and “Bed”

In this video Dr. Antonia Johnson shows how to pronounce the American English short vowel A and short vowel E.

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Prevent Speech Mistakes


For the speech tip for today, Thursday, July 16, 2020 –What can you do to prevent making a speech pronunciation mistake? This advice  helps all our coached and subscription student learners. It can help you now.  It is exactly what native-born North American English speakers do.

  When you realize you are about to say a difficult word for you, then slow down and say each consonant and vowel very carefully and accurately.

Below we have the speech tip video #2 for two vowel sounds which are actually quite difficult to pronounce accurately and  for listeners to understand.  They are the American short vowel “a” and the American English short vowel “e”.  

Clear Talk Video #2  In this video, Dr. Antonia Lawrence Johnson tells how to pronounce the short vowel a and short vowel e and how to tell the difference! She uses the words “bad” and “bed”. If you do not see this speech tip video #2 which is a YouTube video, please click on this link. https://youtu.be/ldxbFFWqcek

More on Why So Many “r”s in English

English Pronunciation: More on Why So Many “r”s in English

Recall from the last speech tip that we discussed why there are so many “r”s in English.

That leads to the next question:  Is there a logical reason or a physiological reason why the English language would use the “r” physiological movement in so many words?  (Speech is the movement of muscles.)

I think the reason may be found in the “r” production in many languages.    In so many languages (but not American English), the “r” is produced by moving the tongue just a little bit from its position for the preceding vowel or is produced by making a kind of vowel sound.  To most ears, the “r” sounds like another brief vowel. In speech vocabulary, we call that sound  a “schwa.”

Thus for many languages, the “r” is made in an efficient manner.  The brain tells the tongue muscles “just move the tongue muscles just a little bit,” and voila, “you have a different sound.”

But for American English, we took the production of the “r” one step further and made it substantially different than the “r” of other languages.

My theory is that by changing the production of “r” to the clear American English “r,” speakers made it easier for the listeners to determine that they were hearing an “r” and not just a prolonged vowel sound.   As the English language expanded with all the new vocabularies of the last 100 years which include science and technology vocabularies, it became very important to distinguish the “r” from just an additional vowel sound.

Thus, all those words with “r” in the root part of the word AND all those additional words which had “r” in prefixes and suffixes were easier to hear and process in the listener’s human brain. That meant that the words were more accurately processed by listeners.  And it is critical that we accurately communicate information.  We have so much information to communicate to people, we also want it to be relatively easy for them to clearly understand our words and meanings.

These days we have an additional reason to speak the “r” and English clearly.  That’s because people who speak English are frequently speaking with listeners who don’t have English as their first language, and those listeners are already struggling to understand all of what we are saying.

To accurately say the clear American English “r” is indeed difficult. But do the mastery.  The gain for communication is so good!

Here is the take home message for you:

Because such a large percentage of English words have “r”s in them, master the clear American English “r”, and you will vastly improve your listeners’ understanding your words and message!

PS Count the number of words in the last sentence that had “r”, and you will get a real-life example of the power of the “r.”

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercises.

Rerun from 06/28/2027