Today’s commonly confused word pair, “worse” vs. worth”, should be familiar to those in English accent training who are game show fans. Game show announcers relish shouting out the estimated value, or worth, of a Land Rover Evoque that a contestant just won, for example. Furthermore, the entire concept of The Price is Right is based around having everyday people estimate the prices of various household items as they play eccentric games. Players who take the biggest risks and emerge victorious are praised in hindsight by viewers at home for having the fortitude to play aggressively.
English accent training requires clients to take a similar risk with their speech in anticipation of later rewards. They must be willing to modify their speech knowing that they may sound strange to themselves and others initially. However, once they get into the habit of trying to incorporate those techniques learned in English accent training into their everyday speech on a regular basis, they can take comfort in knowing these techniques can be their guide through a lifetime of speaking. English accent training can also help them better understand the English language on a phonetic level, as seen with the commonly confused word pair below.
“Worse” Vs. “Worth”
When one looks at the words “worse” and “worth”, they might assume that the vowel in each word is pronounced in a way that is consistent with its spelling, but this is not the case. Pronounce “worse” by rounding your lips to clearly enunciate the long /w/ sound before segueing into the “or” portion of the word. Note that the vowel sound here is pronounced as “errr” rather than simply “or.” The final /s/ sound has a hiss like quality that is produced by maintaining consistent air flow to the end of the word and keeping the tongue behind the top teeth.
The vowel in “worth” is pronounced similarly, although the sound itself could be considered shorter in duration compared to the vowel in “worse.” It is once again vital that you provide yourself with enough air to articulate the -th sound at the end of the word by sticking your tongue out slightly just beyond your front teeth. Say this word 2-3 more times in front of a mirror so you can see how your lips and tongue work in concert to form each syllable, while also initially making sure that your tongue doesn’t protrude too far from between your teeth. Say both words at regular speed in quick succession before combining them in a sentence.
Example: When Angela put her baseball card collection up for auction, she felt worse than ever when she didn’t receive any bids even close to the collection’s estimated value.
English Accent Training: How to Learn More
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