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Study Session- Obama’s in the House!

Use your ears so that you can improve your own speaking skills

Here are the professional techniques that you can use on your own while using a YouTube video. Listen to the podcast here-

Study listening skills using YouTube

Let me introduce you to some behind the scenes techniques. If you are studying to learn to pronounce American English, be sure that you find a native American English speaker. Although to be honest, there are many English speakers that are not native to the US that will also be using this English melody that we are listening to today. Once you find the video that you would like to study from, see if there is a transcript.

Here’s a description of how to find the youtube transcript.

 

Copy and paste the transcript on a word doc so that you can read along and make notations.

 

Also, you may want to slow the speed of the speaking.

I recommend slowing the speaking speed down  one level to .75

At this speed, you will begin to hear

  • how words are grouped together,
  • pausing in-between these word groupings
  • how the words are linked together in each phrase group and
  • one word in each phrase, that is highlighted the most, usually directly before the pause.

This practice will help you comprehend what others are saying. If you need more ideas for finding good speakers, people enjoy playing English speaking TV shows such as the sitcoms (Friends) or movies. As long as there is a transcript.  Using your own listening skills and taking the time to study this technique, is an excellent way to personally understand what you can do to polish your own abilities.

 

Pronouncing Fractions

There comes a time when we all need to pronounce a fraction or two in our lives! We speak of fractions when we are measuring for new kitchen blinds, cooking, ordering a picture frame and even when we are telling time.

Fractions requires multiple higher level pronunciation skills. Who knew, right? For some people, pronouncing consonant sounds at the ends of words is much different than what they are used to.

1. With fractions, we pronounce multiple consonant sounds at the ends of the fraction.  We add the plural /s/ for plural numbers (those are numbers when the top number is greater than one) For example 2/17 is “two seventeenths” /n/ + “th” + /s/.   WHEW!

2. Then, there is the article “a” that is used in place of the number one- for singular fractions beginning with a consonant sound. (hint: almost all of them) For example:  1/2, 1/3, 1/4.  “a half, a third, a fourth”

3. And pronouncing the singular article “an” for the number one that is used for singular fractions beginning with a vowel sound.  (hint: the number EIGHT).  For example:  1/8, 1/18, 1/80   “an eighth”, “an eighteenth” and “an eightieth”

Listen to Pam’s informational podcast and if you would like the complete transcript and a handy guide for pronouncing and spelling fractions  Email Pam  HERE –  and please write “FRACTIONS” in the subject line.

Comments or Questions? You can find the comment section right under the title of this blog. I’d love to hear from you!

TOP 5 STEPS FOR SPEAKING YOUR BEST

Call it whatever you want Accent Modification, Speaking Fluent English, Speaking English Clearly, or just plain ole Learning to talk better. Follow these 5 steps to become a better communicator, others will learn from you, remember you, and enjoying talking to you.

TOP 5 IMPORTANT STEPS FOR SPEAKING YOUR BEST

 

“It’s about  MELODY more than perfect pronunciation.”  -Pam

 

1. Finish the word! 

Pronouncing the final sounds of each word is tricky for a few reasons. First you don’t want to over-pronounce the last sound in a word. This sounds like I am contradicting myself. Say the sound but don’t push it out too much. Second, you may be able to say a word perfectly, but once you start talking faster your mouth and lips may not be able to keep up. And third, some of your sounds may be too weak-so you think you are saying the final sound- but a human ear will not hear it.  

What you think you are saying,      “I‘ll see you at five o’clock

What others hear,    “I_  see you  a_-fai_-o’claw_”

What is the big deal?  We link words together when we talk. If your last sounds are not pronounced, the important linking skill does not work.  And you will not sound smooth.

 

 2. Count the beats of the word. 

For example  a typical mistake for the word   Colorado is  “co-ra-do”  (3 beats). The correct pronunciation is 4 beats  “co-ler-ra-do”

The word particularly is 5 beats “par-ti-cu-lar-ly”, but a typical mistake is saying it with only 4 beats “par-ti-cu-ly”.

The word business is 2 beats “biz-nis”, but many times the mistake is saying it with 3 beats “biz-i-nis.”

What is the big deal? If you reduce the amount of syllables (or say too many) of a word, the listener is left to fill-in-the-blanks and will need a second or two to catch up with you. There will be problems with sounding choppy and a lack of understanding.

 

    3.       words              stand above       rest

         Some   ^            should               ^              the     ^    

If we said every word with the same voice we would put our listeners to sleep. That’s the definition of being monotone. One tone.

When we TALK like THIS, we would be HEARD, and have PERSONALITY in our CONVERSATION.

What is the big deal?  When every word sounds the same, you will sound boring and lack spark in your conversation. Put some effort into your important words. Listeners are waiting for you to emphasize the important words.

 

4.  Parts of a word are bigger than Other parts.

It’s my goal in life to teach everyone how to pronounce the word “develop.” If you continue to pronounce it without  the American English stress, it will sound like “devil up.”

The stress should be in the middle syllable. (VEL).  “di-VEL-lip”  Then the other syllables become smaller.

What is the big deal?  Even if you are pronouncing each sound correctly, the word will not sound like itself. While you are on the next sentence, the listener is still  wondering why they heard the word “devil.”

 

5.  Say some words L-O-N-G-E-R. 

Do you know that the only difference between saying “ice” and “eyes” is one sound. But the listener doesn’t care about that, as much as, the length of the word.

“ice”  ends in a /s/. This sounds like a short word with an “s” on the end.

“eyes” ends in a /z/.  This word is pronounced  L-O-N-G-E-R than the other one. It’s the length of the word (the vowel) that we are listening for. Not the  “z” pronunciation.

What is the big deal? Not all words are created equal. Listener confusion.

You’ve Got This!

So there you have it- we need to stretch some words longer, higher, and give our voice personality. We need to pronounce the correct amount of sounds and syllables and link them together in a cohesive way.  Once you can do these 5 steps you will sound fluent, more natural, and develop a confident, speaking style.

It’s all about the English melody 

for you to become a good conversationalist

and an awesome public (or private) speaker.

 

The hardest part is to know which skills you are doing correctly and which skills could use some help.

I have quick and easy directions so that you can show improvements within one hour. Of course, this will take some practice so that you can make it a new habit. But these are achievable goals.

If you would like a free 30-minute consultation, contact me, let’s talk- and I will advise you.

Or let’s get right to it. Let me customize our classes together and I will teach only what you need to learn.

Virtual lessons -Private or in Small group Packages. Contact me to discuss the details. No obligation to purchase.

Pam@ProAccentCoaching.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ignite Your Interactions!

Ignite Your Interactions!

Award Winning Conversations

Becoming an effective English speaker is required every time you start talking. Imagine interacting better in your job, when you are meeting new friends, and even ordering take-out at your favorite place. This last one is the best for practicing any new English pronunciation tip. Basically, try this whenever English is being used.

When I was in my 20’s,  I had the opportunity to volunteer for an after-school program for kids that were home alone. It was called “Phone Friend” and the job was to answer the phone, talk to them, and help them feel safe. These were school-aged children who were home alone because their parents were working. When I was in my 20’s, THERE WERE NO CELL PHONES! Well, there were cell phones, but most people didn’t have them yet.  Can you imagine?!

We were trained for a few months in the art of communicating with children and also how to respond to emergencies. These were important conversational skills, because in order to keep the conversation going, we had to learn how to be excellent listeners. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a young child? As my husband would say, it would be easier to “herd kittens.”  ha! ha!

How to Keep the Ball Rolling

The training is called Active Listening and that is because

To be an effective, successful communicator, you must be a good listener

  I am always working at this skill.  Everyone speaks with the intention to get our information heard. Instead, try listening to your conversational partner first, respond to their words and then talk to them. The results are amazing.

Use These Phrases When Conversing

This week’s lesson is filled with tools for you to enhance your pronunciation, play with word stress AND use new words/phrases that says “I hear you!”   Listening actually improves the quality of our conversation. And you will become memorable. That person. The one others want to talk to.  And believe it or not, when you LISTEN more, others will respond to you better.

Enjoy this lesson, and please contact me and tell me how you are doing in this process! CONTACT ME anytime. I would love to hear from you.

How To Sound Clear!

Today’s Forecast, Clear Skies!

Being Clear when you are speaking should be on the top of the list of priorities. After all, if you are not talking clearly, you can bet the other person is just pretending to understand what you are saying. Listen to this weeks podcast from Pronouncing English With Pam, and practice this effective exercise for speaking clearly.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for a practice reading for you.

Good Luck and enjoy this practice.  Are there any difficult sounds that you notice when they are at the ends of words? Comment below. I always enjoying hearing  from my listeners. If you comment below, we can share our thoughts and questions together.  Photo Credit

Listen to the Episode 38: How to Sound Clear, and practice your new technique while reading this story out loud. I’ve underlined the final consonant sounds in the first two sentences to remind you!

Please call Stella. Ask her to bring three things with her from the store. Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.

 

 

How To Study Similar Sounds-And Learn 6 Similar Sounds While You’re At It!

Chances are that you learned to read and write English before you learned to have a conversation in English. Or maybe you were taught how to speak English from a teacher that did not have an American English accent. With all of these variables, it’s no wonder that there could be some confusion about sounds. It’s difficult enough to learn how to pronounce sounds that are not in your own native language’s sound system, how about learning how to speak English by reading words by yourself.  That is nearly impossible.  Why couldn’t we be more like the Italians and the Finnish written languages?  In their languages, each letter represents one sound so there is little ambiguity with how words should be pronounced. Lucky you.

Let’s do a study of 6 sounds. These sounds will play havoc with many languages for different reasons. So, for today’s lesson, I’d like for you to

 1. Make this chart. I put the sound symbols and unusual words in there for you.

Now, while you are listening to my podcast lesson, you can take notes inside each of these boxes. Did I say something that you would like to remember? Write it in the box! Also to help you understand how some of these  different sounds are spelled, I think it would be a good idea for you to write down the words.  Remember this is a lesson in SPEAKING ENGLISH.  So, while you are writing the word, say them out loud. Now your hand AND your mouth are moving.

Listen to  Pronounce English with Pam Podcast (below)  and

2. Repeat these sounds and words after me.  Easy-peasy (by the way, these s’s in easy-peasy sound like /z/ sounds.

3. Write these words in the correct boxes

Spelling for /s/ sound

s-     sorry, sensation, horse, this

c-     city, concept, vaccine, place, scent/cent

Spelling for / z /

z-     zero, magazine, buzz

s-     business, daisy, cheese, news, rise.  Many little words to memorize:  is, as, has, these, those

x-     exactly

Spelling for “sh”   / ʃ /

sh-    ship, Washington, wash

ce-    ocean,     ch- machine, moustache,     ci- special, official

s-     sugar,     se- nauseous,     sion- mansion,     su- tissue, sure

tion-  motion, option,      tial- partial

Spelling for “zh”  / ʒ /

g-     garage

su-     measure, treasure

si- division, vision

z-     azure, seizure

Spelling for “ch”  /t ʃ /

ch-    church, child     tch- watch, pitcher

tu-    natural, nature, situation

Spelling for “j”   / d ʒ /

dg-     judge,      du-  graduate,     di- soldier

j-     jump, injury,

g-    gentle, magic, orange     gg- exaggerate

Look for words that you use everyday. Study the sounds and 

4. repeat the words 10 times! Drill work will help your brain tell your mouth how to pronounce the sound a different way (that’s called “muscle memory”).

If you are ready to learn more about becoming the effective, confident speaker that you desire to be, consider hiring me as your private coach. I’m here to listen to your speaking style and guide you with easy-to -follow strategies. I want you to be proud of who you are and be able to take the hard work that you are putting into speaking English and become a natural 🙂

Contact me anytime.

To your success,  

Pam

 

Let’s meet and learn together! 7 days to go!

It’s the first day of summer and let’s celebrate! Let’s meet next week and learn a slew of American English techniques using words that end in “ATE”.

In one hour, you will learn

  • 10 new vocabulary words and use them 20 different ways.
  • how to use your voice to indicate which part of the word the listener should hear the most.
  • how to pronounce two different vowel sounds. Pam will help coach you personally!
  • that it’s fun to learn together!

The class is Thursday, July 1st. so hurry!

choose class time:   10 am (EST)  or   5 pm (EST)

Email Pam quickly!   Limit 10 people per class

Class fee $20 usd.  Once you sign-up you will receive a PayPal link (for payment) and a Zoom class link .

Practice these two words in this week’s show. I have 18 more words to share with you. I can’t wait to hear how you sound!

 

 

Practicing 3 Vowel Sounds in Head-Hat-Hot

The English spelling system has 5 letters that represent the vowels  A-E-I-O-U (and sometimes Y), but when talking, these vowels have at least 20-different vowel sounds!

Pronouncing English vowels are defined by changes made with the tongue, the degree of muscle tension (tense or relaxed), and lip movements. These tiny little changes make a BIG difference successfully communicating your intended words.  For example, the comparisons below show that if  you try to pronounce a word with one vowel sound, ex: head,  but pronounce the word with a different sound, the desired word may sound more like ‘had’, ‘hat’, or ‘hot’.   This week’s podcast will help you hear the differences and give you words to practice saying the differences.

Listen to Ep. 26  Pronouncing English With Pam Podcast

 

/ɛ/ This is a relaxed sound. Our mouth is open slightly, lips are neutral.
pen, men, slept, head, better

/æ/ tense sound (mouth open). lips are back slightly.
fast, had, slap, clap, man, pan, Pam

/ɑ/ tense sound (mouth is open the most), lips are forward a little or neutral.
stop, daughter, fought

Can you say these two words differently?

/ɛ/ – /æ/
head -had
men -man
guess- gas
said- sad
slept -slapped
end- and
then- than

/ɑ/- /æ/
hot-hat
mop-map
rock-rack

How did you do? Do you have difficulty hearing the difference between words?  Tell me in the comments below!

 

Pronouncing OY- EnjOY!

Pronouncing American English vowel sounds requires a good description and model for you to imitate. After all, when vowel sounds are not accurately pronounced- the word will sound totally different than the one you intended! There are other times that vowels are surrounded by sounds that also can be difficult to form correctly.  In this lesson, you will practice both:  a two-part vowel sound AND a difficult concept…the final L sound.

I love writing these lessons and enjoy teaching to you the sounds that many require help with. I guess it’s not a coincidence that this week you will practice the word enJOY.

 https://youtu.be/FBDXuFLgSpM

We Celebrated! How To Pronounce Past Tense

Today we Celebrate Our Anniversary! And yesterday we “celebrated”!  Since we are always talking about past events, let’s learn how to pronounce the -ED using the American English Pronunciation.  With regular verbs, we add an -ed to the verb to change the word to mean something that has happenED in the past. There are a few different ways to pronounce the ED sound, so to simplify this for you, here are the 2 most important pronunciation changes:

  1. If the verb ends in a T or a D, you will add an extra syllable at the end.

That extra syllable will sound like “did”

pound + ed (pounded) will sound like “poun-did” and wait + ed (waited) will sound like “wai + did”

2.   All other verbs will have a small sound at the end of the word.

cook + ed = “cookt

play + ed = “playd

Listen to this lesson and practice repeating after me.

And by the way, Happy Anniversary. It’s been 4 years since I have been recording my podcast. And thank you for listening!

Please comment below about  verbs + ed that  you have questions about.