When you begin accent reduction training you may be perplexed by the fact that many English words are not spelled phonetically. Moreover, English is filled with homophones, or two words that sound alike but have divergent spellings and meanings, such as meet and meat. Although you may wish to focus on how native speakers pronounce their words before seeing how they are transcribed in print, this can send contradictory messages. This is because there are common everyday English words that native speakers mispronounce on a regular basis without even knowing which portion of the word or phrase is being consistently mispronounced.
A word you mispronounce while having a casual conversation in English will not keep you from being understood, but should you mispronounce this particular word in a business setting you run the risk of drawing undue attention to your accent. Take steps toward avoiding this situation by reviewing the following examples.
Ironically, the English word “pronunciation” is very difficult for a lot of non-native speakers to pronounce. Many pronounce it like “pro-nounce-iation.” They mispronounce the middle syllable of this word as “nounce” instead of “nunce.”
Many non-native speakers pronounce “probably” as “prolly” or “probly”, omitting the [ob] and [ab] sounds. The word is also difficult to pronounce because it contains a combination of vowel and consonant sounds uncommon in other languages.
The word “suite” perfectly illustrates why English is a non-phonetic language. Upon seeing the word in print, both non native and native English speakers have a tendency to view the “e” as silent and pronounce the word as “suit”. However the word “suite” is pronounced exactly like the word “sweet.” Non-native speakers looking to perfect their pronunciation of particular English sounds should get in the habit of consulting the dictionary.com for any difficult words they encounter. This resource provides an International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcription and an audio example of the correct pronunciation.
Taking Control of Your Accent
There are numerous words in the English languages that are mispronounced by native and non native speakers, yet these variations in pronunciation are almost universally understood and occasionally accepted as part of that respective individual’s dialect. These people may be aware that they pronounce certain words differently than others; however, they are able to overcome any fear by focusing on the point they are trying to communicate rather than being self conscious about how they sound. Having a similar attitude toward your own accent as you work towards clearer pronunciation can keep you from feeling overwhelmed during stressful speaking situations.
Accent Pros offers a Free Accent Screening. The results provided will let you know the severity of your accent from very mild to very heavy. The professionals at Accent Pros also offer a complimentary consultation.