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English Speech Tip

B and Br for “Brother”- Press Firmly Lips Together and Loud Voice

This is Number 6 in our hierarchical arrangement of American English (AE) pronunciation 2 minute tutorials.  This systematic arrangement is the most efficient and makes accuracy easy in training your brain and mouth to get clear AE speech sounds and words. 

Now we show you the consonant b before the consonant r in the word “brother”.   The critical feature is pressing firmly the lips together and making a strong voice from the vocal folds in your throat for the consonant sound b.  Dr. Johnson also demonstrates the easy way to pronounce the American English consonant sound r.

 Consider doing massed practice.  Studies have shown that whole word memorization  requires an average of  35 repetitions or trials per word.  First imitate Dr. Johnson to get cognitive understanding of how to pronounce the consonants b and consonant blend br and the word.  Some people first imitate the video over and over.   Once they cognitively understand what to do, then they do deliberate practice on their own.  Typically a pause between repetitions happens automatically which gives the brain a moment to plan for the word and to determine if pronunciation was accurate.  Then do mass practice accurately to get to long lasting memory.  Do other practices on the word on upcoming days, distributed practice, which makes the brain muscle memory stronger.

B and CH for “Beach” For Fast and Easy Learning Using Human Brain Info

B and CH for “Beach” For Fast and Easy Learning Using Human Brain Info

This is Number 5 in our series of recommended sequence for fast, easy mastery of American English speech sounds.  The directed instruction is for English consonants B, CH and the word “beach”.

Your brain organizes the production of speech by phonetic feature and by muscle group of the face.

The speech sound for American English B has the phonetic features of being quick and  of having a voice from the vocal folds in your throat and releasing an audible puff of air.  The American English B is pronounced by using the fast twitch muscle fibers of the lips by pressing the lips together and then opening the lips quickly.

For the American English speech sound CH,  the phonetic features are the release of an audible quick puff of air but no voice from the vocal folds in the throat.  The American English CH is pronounced by using the fast twitch muscles fibers of the tip of the tongue by pushing up and pressing the tip of the tongue against the roof or top of the mouth directly behind the top front teeth then bringing the tip of the tongue down quickly.

How do you know if you are doing these accurately in American English?  Answer: if your speech sounds match that of Dr. Antonia Johnson’s production on the video below, you are accurate for American English.  

Information alert:  The pronunciation of those sounds may be different in your first language so pay close attention to the position of the articulators–tongue and lips– the manner which is quick for American English, and the requisite or needed speech sound!

How Long Does It Take to Get Accurate and Clear English Speech?

How Long Does It Take to Get Accurate and Clear English Speech?


   On average it takes  about 70 days of practice every day to change or form a daily life habit (Frothingham, 2019).   The range for daily life habits is 18 to 254 days according to a 2009 article in the European Social Psychology  by  Lally et al.  It depends on the habit.  For example, it takes a shorter number of days to form the habit of drinking a glass of water with breakfast than to automatically engage in daily performing 50 push-ups before breakfast.   Notice the phrase in the first sentence  “ it takes about 70 days of practice every day.”  It goes without saying, the amount of time to acquire a habit also depends upon the person.

    Speech which is easily understood by others is called Clear Speech.   Acquisition of clear American English (AE), Clear Speech has been investigated since the 1920s for native-born AE speakers (Denes & Pinson, 1993, Smiljanic & Bradlow, 2009). Not so much investigation has been reported in journals for nonnative-born speakers for American English (Smiljanic & Bradlow, 2009).

      Antonia Johnson put together the research for her dissertation  in 2000 for the mode or style of AE Clear Speech.  That mode or style of speaking includes greater speech volume or loudness,  aiming for accuracy for all words, clear enunciation of consonants and vowels, and not slurring words together.  These strategies are consistent with the Task Dynamic Model of Motor Control and Task Dynamic Model of Speech Production (Kelso & Tuller, 1984, Saltzman et al, 2010, also see Parrell et al, 2018). 

    Both Casual Speech (“every day” speech)  and Clear Speech  are styles or modes of talking.  So both Casual Speech and Clear Speech  are coordinated manners of talking.  The difference between these modes ia comparable to the differences for muscles and movement in human walking compared to running.

        For native-born AE speakers, the characteristic of enunciating speech sounds when doing the Clear Speech mode or style targets feature enhancement of AE speech sounds (Kelso & Tuller, 1984,  Smiljanic &Bradlow, 2018).  For instance,  native-born speakers of North American English automatically emphasize the lengthier duration in time for the SH speech sound compared to the CH English speech sound, and they emphasize the lengthier duration and the two speech sounds for the English long vowel O compared to the short vowel O.

      Importantly, when nonnative-born speakers engage in the strategies of Clear Speech, unless they are deliberately taught which English speech sounds require feature enhancement and how to produce accurate AE speech consonants and vowels (not produced the same in their mother language)  the result is not greater speech intelligibility or understandability, Instead the result is only louder words and sentences in which the speech sounds continue to be errors for American English and continue to  match the speech sounds from their home or mother language.

       Our work at Clear Talk Mastery has found that  forming the habit of using the strategies of Clear Speech along with the requisite or needed feature enhancement  (also called accurate enunciation or pronunciation)  for the 23 or 25 consonant and 14 vowel sounds on average takes 70 days. Learned and habitualized is the dynamic task of the Clear Talk Mode in American English.  For intelligibility and understandability, those skills are most important.  

       Once those highest priority habits have been acquired, then other skill sets can be added systematically. That’s because proficiency in English intelligibility or understandability and communication includes other skills, notably core skills for pronouncing multiple syllable words. These skills include English written word syllable division rules and patterns.    Crucial also for AE proficiency is acquiring AE word syllable accent stress for multiple syllable words.   American English word syllable accent stress is different than, for example, Spanglish,  Chinglish, Indian English or  South African English. 

     High priority for a wide variety of persons at their workplace is acquiring the American English speech characteristics of voice inflection in sentences ranging from a few sentences needed for talking in a meeting to many sentences in a presentation. The overarching purpose for the dynamic task of the speaking style with voice inflection is to enhance or improve the listener’s memory and understanding of information.   

   The most practical purpose of using the voice inflection patterns is so that your speaking is not monotone and boring.

    The economic  and career advancing purpose is that experts say that voice inflection (and asking questions) are the two skills most important for native-born persons for advancing their career.  We think the same is true for nonnative-born persons for their career.  So we teach that skill in Level Two and higher levels.

      Because information giving in meetings or explaining information in English is a minimal requirement for all work situations requiring English, mastering the characteristics of optimal or good presentations are  the logical next step after the acquisition of the core American English speech skills for intelligibility and using the Clear Talk Mode of speaking which includes accurate enunciation.    Fact is, if listeners cannot understand the words you are saying in American English, what good is having voice inflection and  mastering the characteristics of optimal presentations?

        How long does it take to form the habits of clear and accurate English?   We break those habits into systematic and ordered skill sets and adhere to the average 70 days to form a habit for that speaking tool set.  For more detail,   http://www.cleartalkmastery.com/blog/2023/03/17/assessment-why-bother/

   Later, we’ll get to the keys and secrets to how to speed up the process of acquiring  accurate and clear American English speech along with other critical English speech skill sets for English speech communication proficiency.  Hint—one is needs assessment and skills assessment.  Another is distributed learning.  Another is purposeful deliberate practice.  And there really are 15 dimensions for successful acquisition of clear English speech.

How to Develop Lifetime Customers or Clients

How to Develop Lifetime Customers or Clients

If you have a product or a service you sell, don’t think you are done when you have made the sale.  The sale is actually the beginning of building a client relationship that will lead to a lifetime of repeat business and referrals.

In addition, by listening and responding to their needs, you are adding value by thinking beyond what you can sell them and showing an interest in other aspects of their life and business.  “How are things going with you?” “How can I help?” Talk with emotion and feeling– even on the phone people can hear that. This approach to being of service sets you apart from others in your industry. 

English Speaking Skills- Make a Goal – Use a Visual Cue

English Speaking Skills-  Keep Your Vision In Front of You


Do you have a dream? A dream is bigger than a goal. Here’s a tip- put your dream vision in front of you.

Simple idea-  place a visual symbol of your dream in front of you.  We move psychologically toward what we constantly see.

What you are want is not “kind of good” communication, At a minimum, you want English speech communication free of “What? What did you say?”

The purpose of your dream for communication is to make connection with people in daily life, at work, or in school with clear, easy to understand speaking voice, and easy to cognitively understand information message. Add to that an English speaking voice which communicates emotion and is pleasing to the ear.

How do you keep your vision of your dream in front of you?

Find a picture of someone you admire – a relative, friend, teacher, broadcaster, or famous person.  Or find a photo from a newspaper, magazine or online of people happily communicating.  Put it on your bathroom mirror or over your desk— any place you notice everyday.

This visual reminder will help you move toward what you see.  Then when you have choices— of talking or not talking, engaging in conversation or remaining quiet, volunteering to answer a question in a small or large group— then you’ll remember the visual aid picture/photo. And you’ll take the extra effort to do clear articulation– leveled-up clear talk mode or careful leveled-up clear talk mode. You’ll do accurate word syllable accent stress. And if you have learned the skill– voice inflection in utterances or sentences which communicates emotion.

hat visual photo or picture will inspire you to do direct practice or more preparation for English speech a few minutes longer before your presentation , meeting or even a conversation. The frequent noticing of your picture or photo will inspire you to put extra effort and focus whenever you take the opportunity to do deliberate practice of your best English speech communication skills in daily life. Your picture will remind you of your dream of better than good— to do great— English speech communication.  And you will stride to that dream step by step.  It gets easier, and then you will feel leaps. You’ll do what the most masterful people do– direct practice which is like doing homework on your own for your skill, and taking every opportunity to practice your articulation, diction, word syllable accent stress and voice inflection skills.

Or– your picture will inspire you to get more– more systematic, optimal learning for higher level English speech communication skills. Check out your local schools or Clear Talk Mastery — get the best instruction you can.

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

Consider doing a CTM coached course– which now leads to yields and gains once thought impossible.

Or on a super limited budget, do systematic and fast acting learning each week using our subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com