As  you try to learn American English, one possible stumbling block may be the very pronunciation style focused on in accent reduction training. It is meant to achieve a standard American English accent. By contrast, the native English speakers are you interact with on a business level and socially are more apt to use slang and dialect terms in their speech that you are unfamiliar with. They may also unknowingly pronounce certain words–such as candidate–incorrectly, though they pronounce the word so often this way that you  are led to believe their pronunciation is correct. As such you begin to incorporate this pronunciation of the word into your everyday vocabulary being none the wiser.

When it comes to the pronunciation of words like “bobbed wire” and “candidate,”one should  not to overlook how the dialect unique to a region of a country impacts word pronunciation, and immediately condemn such pronunciations as being “wrong.” While they be wrong in the sense that some of these pronunciations are non standard English, you should still aim to learn American English from a variety of sources. This will enable you build a stronger vocabulary and gain confidence in a variety of  speaking situations.


Affidavit /af-i-dey-vit /

(often mispronounced as affi-david)

This is a mispronunciation that is common to both native English speakers and those who are attempting to learn American English with a neutral accent. The probability that a word such as “affavidavit” is mispronounced increases exponentially when the succeeding word starts with another consonant. Take for example  the following sentence: “The affidavit brought to light new questions about Gilbright’s alibi on the night of Dawson’s murder.” Here the ‘i” following the first syllable of the word is pronounced like a long “a”, “affa”, while the final syllables are pronounced “davit” rather than “david”


Bob Wire /bahrbd wahyuh r/

(often mispronounced as bob wire)

If you currently work in a state in the southeastern portion of the US, you may have seen this word in writing as “bob wire” or “bobbed wire”, with the word being pronounced exactly as written. However, this spelling and pronunciation of the word appears to be an arbitrary decision on behalf of the south that has significantly influenced the speech and written work of the area. The southern drawl blends the “ar” that can be seen in the more customary spelling “barbed wire.” Thus it is important that those who learn American English concentrate on clearly enunciating the vowel in the first syllable, as well as the long “i” sound in “wire”

Candidate /kan-di-deyt/

learn American English: Candidate(often mispronounced as cannidate)

The common mispronunciation here eliminates the second syllable in this word. Although you may have told others around you that you are working to learn American English with a neutral accent, this can sound rushed and unprofessional nonetheless. Split the word into three syllables and slowly begin your pronunciation, paying particular attention to the “d” which begins the second syllable. Treat the “i” as a short vowel  and pronounce it in rhythm with- date quickly. Finally, try saying the word as many times as necessary at regular speed until you feel comfortable with it.


Dilate /dahy-leyt/

(often mispronounced as dial-ate)

A long ‘i’ sound at the beginning of a word such as “dilate”  can sometimes make it tempting to squeeze in an additional vowel. Especially when you think about the word ‘dial’. In this case, resist the temptation and just stick to the single vowel. Go straight to the second syllable ‘late’ right after you pronounce the ‘i’ in ‘di’.


Learn American English – Where to Start

To understand English grammar concepts in the most efficient way possible, one should first consider practicing through the repetition of grammatically correct sentences. This is, after all, the way children first learn to speak – they listen to their parents and mimic what they say, then they learn to read and write.

Once you begin to learn American English and feel comfortable with its natural rhythm, you will want to become familiar with the basics of grammar. These basics include not only knowing what subjects, verbs, predicated, and articles are, but also knowing when and where to use each of them when speaking. If you feel like you have the basics of American English down, but you still have a foreign accent while speaking, you have the option of seeing an accent reduction specialist. He or she will provide you with all the necessary tools you would need to improve your pronunciation and bring you one one step closer to speaking American English with a standard American accent.