Speaking with a clear American accent can benefit you greatly. Fluent American speech can help you stand out in a competitive job market, as well as help you better communicate with people of other nationalities. Additionally, many employers value excellent communication skills, so having a clear American accent can be a huge advantage.
Nowadays, it is possible to measure the severity of an American accent and tell who speaks more like a native speaker. Accent severity can be judged by looking at a variety of factors, including pronunciation, word choice, grammar, and intonation. Native speakers tend to have more consistent pronunciation and grammar, as well as a greater knowledge of American English slang and idioms. Additionally, native speakers tend to have greater fluency, as well as a greater range of intonation.
Speaking practice is one of the most important tools for training an American accent. Through regular practice, learners can develop a greater understanding of the language, identify their problem areas, and improve their pronunciation. It also allows learners to practice their pronunciation with native speakers and receive feedback. Regular speaking practice helps to form muscle memory and improve intonation, articulation, and accent reduction. With consistent practice, learners can gain confidence in their pronunciation and begin to sound more like native speakers.
When assessing your speech or getting feedback, it is important to remember: accents are subjective, and many factors, such as intonation, pronunciation, and regionalism, will affect how different people speak. Additionally, what one person may consider good or bad pronunciation or intonation may differ from another person's opinion. Today apps can provide a more calculated and objective comparison to Standard American Pronunciation than a human, though a coach may give a more in-depth and detailed analysis.
Popular ways to practice American accent
Listen to native speakers
The most popular way to train the American accent is to listen to native American English speakers as much as possible to get a sense of how the accent should sound. You can find native speakers online on websites such as YouTube, or by attending an English language class. You can also listen to audio recordings of native American English speakers and practise repeating what you hear. It is also helpful to watch American television shows, films and other media to hear the natural American English accent.
- Lingua Marina: offers booking language courses abroad and provides tips on learning a new language, including secrets of becoming fluent in English.
- Rachel's English: Rachel is an American English teacher who offers free accent training lessons on her YouTube channel.
- English with Jennifer: Jennifer is an American English teacher who offers free accent training lessons on her YouTube channel.
Learn the basics
Have a look at the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), which is a system of symbols used to represent English sounds. This will help you understand how the American accent is formed and how to pronounce different words.
The American accent is formed using a combination of consonants, vowels, and various other sounds represented by symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet.
The IPA symbols for the American accent are:
• Consonants- /b/, /d/, /f/, /g/, /h/, /j/, /k/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /p/, /r/, /s/, /t/, /w/, /z/
• Vowels- /aɪ/, /eɪ/, /ɔɪ/, /aʊ/, /ɪ/, /ɛ/, /æ/, /ʌ/, /ə/, /u/
• Other sounds- /ʃ/, /θ/, /ð/
Familiarize yourself with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and the way it is used to indicate sounds in the English language. Practice pronouncing the phonemes indicated in the IPA for American English. Review the phonemes you practiced and focus on any areas where you need improvement. Pronounce can shortcut this process by giving you pronunciation feedback on everything you say.
When you identify words you mispronounce, listen to native speakers again and practice imitating their pronunciation of those same phonemes. Record yourself and play it back to hear how you are doing. Continue practicing and comparing your pronunciation until you feel comfortable with the American accent. Chances are you'll still trap in old habits in everyday life but will be able to catch yourself and self-correct over time.
Practice the sounds
Practice speaking the sounds of American English, focusing on the different vowels and consonant sounds. Perfecting a challenging sound usually requires working on sets of words and sentences that include this sound. American Speech improvement tools like Pronounce can reveal patterns in your speech and cluster your high-frequency words into groups by sound to practice.
When it comes to speech improvement, listening to recordings of native English speakers, newscasters, radio personalities, TV hosts, and other people who speak English fluently, may have a limited impact on your progress. Speaking more yourself, trying new words or sentence structures, and eliminating old speech habits is what you'd want to dedicate your time on. When mimicking phrases of a native speaker, pay close attention to how they pronounce their words and their speed of speech. Don't be shy and record yourself speaking English. Play your recording back and listen for any areas where you need improvement. Be honest with yourself and make a note of any areas where you need to work on your accent. Practice with tongue twisters. Repeat tongue twisters several times until you can say them quickly and clearly with an American accent. Everyday practice will help you achieve a more natural-sounding accent.
Focus on intonation
American English is known for its rising intonation, which is a way of speaking with a rising pitch at the end of a sentence. Practice speaking with a rising intonation to get used to the sound.
Similarly to words, listen to native English speakers and imitate their intonation. Read books, poems, and other written material aloud. Record yourself reading aloud and listen to your intonation. Practice intonation drills with interactive language-learning tools like Pronounce. Try different types of speech, such as asking questions, making statements, and giving commands. Learn about intonation patterns in English, such as rising and falling intonation. Practice using intonation to express emotion and emphasis. Speak with English speakers and pay attention to their intonation.
Work with a professional
Consider hiring a speech coach or accent reduction teacher to help you with your American accent training. This can be a great way to get personalized advice and practice.
An English accent coach is a personalized service that can help an individual to improve their pronunciation and accent in English. It typically involves one-on-one instruction from a trained accent coach and can be tailored to the individual's specific needs. The benefit of this method is that it provides immediate feedback and personalized guidance, which can be more effective than other methods of learning.
For example, self-learning requires an individual to be self-motivated and disciplined, as well as to have access to the right resources. It can take a long time to learn a new accent through self-learning and the results may not be as good as those achieved with an English accent coach.
And accent training apps are a convenient and cost-effective way to learn a new accent. They typically provide audio recordings of native speakers to practice along with as well as interactive learning tools. However, they can be limited in their scope and individuals may not receive the same level of feedback and guidance as they would from an English accent coach.
Though, people generally seem to have positive experiences with major American accent training and apps. Many people report feeling more confident in their ability to speak American English after completing an American accent training course or using an app. People also appreciate the convenience of practicing anytime and anywhere with an app. Reviews of specific courses and apps vary, so it's best to read up on user reviews before deciding which program or app to use.