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Accent Reduction – Change Only One Habit

Accent Reduction – Change Only One Habit


At one time we have all felt like our lives are a whole orchestra of bad habits.

For example, you get home from an exhausting day at work.  You didn’t like your communication that day.  A lot of people said “What?”  You know you are speaking accented English.  You understand that you are using the pronunciation from your first language with English.

You go to the internet to get some advice.

Oh my.  Different people give different advice.

You know vowel pronunciation is terribly important.   However, you find someone who says they are not important. That person says to focus only on making your consonants accurate.  Forget about the vowels, she says.

Some people say the most important is the voice inflection, the tone and melody of a whole sentence.  They say, forget about the accuracy of the speech sounds.  And when you have a problem communicating, no problem – just use gestures.

Other people focus their advice on syllable accent stress.  Get the stress wrong, they say, and you will keep getting “What?,”  “What did you say,” until the other person realizes that you left out the syllable accent stress.

And then there are the other people, including me, who say that speaking all the consonants and vowels clearly and loud enough is critically important.

However, since you have found all this different advice and you don’t know what is the most important skill for success for intelligible, understandable English, you decide that starting tomorrow you will change all of those features.


Trying to transform everything at once about your accented English speech gives your brain and muscles too much to work on at once.  Can’t be done.

TTT.   Transformation Takes Time.

Think of your spoken English communication as a project.

Choose one habit to focus on.  My favorite habit for biggest results is getting the habit of speaking the consonants and vowels clearly.  Do this–

  • Make the quick muscle consonants and vowels quickly (p,t,k,ch,b,d,g,j, short e, short I, short u, aw, uh)
  • Make the slow muscle consonants and vowels slowly (f,v,th,s,z,m,n,ng,l,r,h,w, all long vowels, short a, short o, ow, oy)
  • Pronounce each speech sound loudly enough so the listeners can hear each one
  • Do not slur the words or syllables together

Spend a month on this habit – then you can move to another habit.

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

Check out our new advanced weekly speech tip program, our new subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com



Rerun from May 18, 2016

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