There’s an old saying, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” While there’s wisdom in this phrase given you don’t want to become so vocal that you are quickly viewed by coworkers as being arrogant and dismissive of opinions contrary to your own, remaining silent in daily meetings while learning the American accent is not recommended. Make it a daily habit to read from a variety of sources, both print and online to increase your vocabulary. Also don’t hesitate to ask your accent coach about any words you are unsure how to pronounce, as they can give you some insight into the context in which specific words, and any pronunciation variants thereof-are used.
Here are some commonly mispronounced words you may hear in conversation while learning the American accent.
Common mispronunciation: mute
Moot, which means “ an issue or question that is bound to raise controversy, and therefore is open to fervent debate without a clear resolution ”, might appear on paper to be similar to “mute”, which means “silent” or “not making a sound”. However, they are not pronounced the same way. The matter of pronouncing this word correctly may look to be a moot point, but really, a moot point is relatively distinct from one that is clearly stated in writing
To say it correctly: Moot must always be enunciated with the “moo” of a cow. Not the “myu” of mute.
Common mispronunciation: prostrate
When in a prostrate position, an individual is stretched out on the ground, facing downward. This is different from the prostate, which is a gland close to the bladder of males. Avoid switching them up. The two words are in such close proximity to each other spelling wise that it’s typical for the “R” be incorrectly added to either word.
To say it correctly: Make sure you are using the correct number of Rs, and using your intended word out of this pairing.
Common mispronunciation: silicone
Silicon and silicone appear to be basically the exact same word. They are both components of some kind, and there’s just one “E” differentiating the two. However, silicon, which is the chemical component frequently used in electronics, and silicone, which is a rubbery substance used in breast implants, aren’t just different components, they have distinct pronunciations too.
To say it correctly: Silicon, like the “Silicon Valley,” is pronounced “sill-i-con (not “cone).
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.