American Accent Training: Pronunciation Differences in Nouns and Verbs with the Same Spelling

 When one takes American accent training programs, there are exercises which involve the pronunciation of words according to their stress, and syllabication–the process of breaking down words into individual syllables.

One other kind of exercise you may encounter or choose to supplement your American accent training with is the identification of the pronunciation differences in nouns and verbs which have identical spellings.American accent training

Words which have the same spelling but are different in meaning are called heteronyms. These are a vital component  of American accent training programs. It may sound like a minor issue, but he ability to understand pronunciation differences between two words with identical spellings can mean the difference between sounding like a native speaker and a person struggling to adjust to a new language.

American Accent Training: Stress Differences for Nouns and Verbs with the Same Spelling

Typically, nouns and verbs with the same spelling have two syllables. This is why there tends to be some confusion regarding where to place the stress. The simple American accent training rule is that when the word is used as a noun (as a subject of a phrase or sentence), the stress is placed on the first syllable, and when the word is used as a verb (as the action word of a phrase or sentence) the stress is placed on the second syllable. For language learners whose first language or “L1” is tonal (Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, other languages in Africa), their L1 knowledge may interfere with this rule during the initial stages of American accent training—hence the confusion on how to pronounce words.

Given the simple American accent training rule of nouns having the stress on the first syllable and verbs having the stress on the second, learning how to pronounce noun and verb heteronyms will be much easier. Here are some of the most common noun and verb heteronyms which may be encountered in business conversations and American accent training:

  • CON-tent – Topics or subjects included in a book or document; “table of contents…”
  • con-TENT – To satisfy or please; “This would not content the CEO.”
  • CON-duct – How a person behaves; “Employee conduct will be observed.”
  • con-DUCT – The act of carrying something  out; “The manager will conduct the debriefing.”
  • RE-cord – A documentation of something, on paper, video, or other media; “The record of the meeting is on a videotape.”
  • re-CORD – The act of taking down proceedings; “The secretary will record our conversations through shorthand writing.”
  • PRO-ceeds – Money obtained from collection; “Our company proceeds will be donated to charity.”
  • pro-CEEDS – Continues; “The director proceeds with business despite his cancer diagnosis.”

American Accent Training: Differentiating between Nouns and Verbs with the Same Spelling

This can be quite tricky, but here are some signs to help those in American accent training figure out whether a word is a noun or a verb:

  • If the word describes the person of thing that is performing an action, it’s a noun and it should be stressed on the first syllable.
  • If the word illustrates what the subject does, it’s a verb and should be stressed on the second syllable.
  • If the word is preceded by a helping verb (will, should, ought to, may, might, can, could, etc.) it is a verb and should be stressed on the second syllable.
  • If the word is preceded by a noun or adjective, it is likely  a noun and should be stressed on the first syllable.
  • Using context clues to determine if the word is a verb or noun will also help you have a better grasp of the language and standard sentence construction patterns.

Consulting a list of noun and verb heteronyms can also help speed up the learning process in American accent training when trying to differentiate between meanings while reading.

American Accent Training: Learn More and Get Started Now

Get started with Accent Pros free accent reduction screening! The screening will rate your accent severity using a 7 point scale: 1 being the most heavy and 7 being very mild. If you’re inclined to take it a step further, check out a comparison of the American accent training programs we have to offer. Accent Pros has an office starter program and an online starter program. Both American accent training programs have had all clients get a 50% of more accent reduction after 12 sessions-check it out!

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