The vast majority of clients we work with say the area they are least confident with when speaking, is in the workplace. Many find it hard to communicate with their colleagues, or they are uncomfortable when their colleagues ask them about their accent (Where are you from? You don’t sound like you’re from around here, etc.). Other times, the accent is an obstacle when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder. One way to alleviate this apprehension is to practice learning the American accent. This new series introduces common words in a specific workplace and how to correctly say them. We go even more in depth and look at how different languages mispronounce certain sounds when saying these words. Knowing what is creating the error can help fix the mispronunciation!
Part 1 of this series is looking at general economics terms.
Learning the American Accent: Economics Terms
Learning the American Accent: Mispronunciations with the Economic Terms
1. Problem: The /-r/at the end of sounds gets unstressed. Meaning that it sounds more like ‘uh’ than ‘er’.
- Ex: Consumer –> *Consumuh, Labor –> *Labuh
- Languages that experience this mispronunciation: Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, Catonese, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, Yoruba
2. Problem 2: The /r/ sound gets trilled, or “rolled”.
- Ex: AveRage –> *Averrrage, Revenue –> *Rrrevenue
- Languages that experience this mispronunciation: Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, German, French, Urdu, Italian
3. Problem: Sounds like /b/, /d/, and /g/ get ‘devoiced’, going to their /p/, /t/, and /k/ counterparts at the end of words.
- Ex: Yield –> *Yielt
- Languages that experience this mispronunciation: Vast majority!
Problem 4: Just because you see an ‘o’ (as in ‘snow’) doesn’t mean it’s pronounced like it!
- Ex: Cuh-lateral –> *Coh-lateral (collateral). Prah-duct-ivity –> *Proh-duct-ivity (productivity). Prah-fit –> *Proh-fit (profit).
- Languages that experience this mispronunciation: Bengali, Catonese, Czech, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Ibo, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese
Learning the American Accent: Take It a Step Further…
Hope these tips have helped-and this is just the start! For more information about learning the American accent, read up on these programs Accent Pros has to offer. To keep up to date on Accent Pros blogs and information: follow us on Pinterest and Twitter, like us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn, and join us on Chicago Accent Reduction Meetup.