Accent Reduction Tongue Twisters

Many of our clients at Accent Pros, who are interested in learning accent reduction techniques and how to speak with an American accent, have advanced degrees and have excellent command of the English language. . Given the evolving state of the English language; however, they may not understand informal slang and phrases that are regularly used in the workplace, and on various popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Occasionally our accent reduction clients will understand the meaning of an idiom, but use it in an improper context, which could potentially have embarrassing consequences. In our continuing efforts to  feature only the most relevant and practical terms when helping you achieve your accent reduction goals, here are three tongue twisters to help hone your pronunciation skills.   

Accent Reduction Tongue Twister 1 – Luke Luck likes lakes

accent reductionDefinition: Individuals who have the difficulty pronouncing initial “l” sounds would benefit from pronouncing this tongue twister. This is ideal for those who are also having a hard time differentiating the “l” and “r” sounds as it serves as practice pronunciation for the lingua-alveolar initial “l” sound. Apart from that, it also exercises the lingua-velar voiceless final “k” sound. It also serves as good practice for the final “s” sound, and this can be used for both young and old accent reduction learners.

Example:  Luke Luck likes lakes. Luke’s duck likes lakes. Luke Luck licks lakes. Luck’s duck licks lakes. Duck takes licks in lakes Luke Luck likes. Luke Luck takes licks in lakes duck likes.

Origin: This simple yet entertaining tongue twister comes from Dr. Seuss’ Fox in Socks, a collection of tongue twisters made for kids which can also be used by adult learners. The book was first published in 1965 and features the characters Fox and Knox who both speak in densely rhyming tongue twisters. The book is a great reference for tongue twisters which can also be used for accent reduction purposes.


Accent Reduction Tongue Twister 2-In ‘ertford, ‘ereford and ‘ampshire, ‘urricanes ‘ardly Hever ‘appen.

Definition: With this tricky tongue twister, the learner can identify that all the omitted initial letters have the “h” sound, but is removed, only to pronounce the only word in the middle of the sentence without an actual “h” sound with an “h” this time. This would exercise control and awareness of pronunciation and would be beneficial for those in accent reduction learning about vowel sounds.

Example: In ‘ertford, ‘ereford and ‘ampshire, ‘urricanes ‘ardly Hever ‘appen (Pronounce as many times as possible without mispronouncing the “Hever” part).accent reduction

Origin : From a musical film called “My Fair Lady,” which is based on Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, this tongue twister is different from other tongue twisters in the sense that it veers away from having a direct rhyme or having an alliterative construction. However it still reinforces proper pronunciation skills.

 Tongue Twister 3 – I saw Esau kissing Kate. I saw Esau, he saw me, and she saw I saw Esau.

Definition: A good situational tongue twister which can be used for practicing initial and medial “s” sounds, this tongue twister can also be used for proper phrasing purposes. It consists of two sentences, the latter with two commas signifying pauses that can help speakers become more familiar with the proper use of punctuation in speaking and intonation.

Kissing pairExample: I saw Esau kissing Kate. I saw Esau, he saw me, and she saw I saw Esau (Memorize the phrase and pronounce it without looking at a copy).

Origin: A tongue twister from Iona and Peter Opie’s The Schoolchild’s Pocket Book, I Saw Esau is one of the classic tongue twisters featured in this children’s book. The other literary pieces may also be used for pronunciation exercises.

Accent Reduction: Want to Learn More?

Accent Pros has a continuing series on accent reduction tips, including common English phrases and American idioms.  Be sure to check out other blog posts to find your favorites.  Ready for a complimentary accent reduction tutorial or a free accent screening?  Check out our on-line accent reduction courses  available to students with accent reduction goals all over the world. For consistent access to our idioms series and other accent reduction tips. Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter