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Welcome to American Accent Training. This book and CD set is designed to get you started on your American accent. Well follow the book and go through the 13 lessons and all the exercises step by step. Everything is explained and a complete Answer Key may be found in the back of the text.
Id like to introduce you to the pronunciation guide outlines in the following chart. There arent too many characters that are different from the standard alphabet, but just so youll be familiar with them, look at the chart. It shows eight tense vowels and six lax vowels and semivowels.
This is a speech analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your American accent. If you are studying American Accent Training on your own, please contact toll-free (800) 457- 4255 or for a referral to a qualified telephone analyst.
One of the main differences between the way an American talks and the way the rest of the world talks is that we dont really move our lips. (So, when an American says, Read my lips! what does he really mean?) We create most of our sounds in the throat, using our tongue very actively.
Take a rubber band and hold it with your two thumbs. Every time you want to stress a word by changing pitch, pull on the rubber band. Stretch it out gently, don t jerk it sharply. Make a looping ° ° figure with it and do the same with your voice. Use the rubber band and stretch it out every time you change pitch. Read first across, then down.
So what is intonation in American English? What do Americans do? We go up and down staircases. We start high and end low.
1. Dogs eat bones. 11. Jerry makes music. 2. Mike likes bikes. 12. Jean sells some apples. 3. Elsa wants a book. 13. Carol paints the car. 4. Adam plays pool. 14. Bill and I fix the bikes.
Statement Intonation with Pronouns When you replace the nouns with pronouns (i.e., old information), stress the verb. They eat them As we have seen, nouns are new information; pronouns are old information. In a nutshell, these are the two basic intonation patterns:
In the first column, stress the nouns. In the second column, stress the verb. Fill in your own examples at the bottom.
You may have learned at some point that questions have a rising intonation. They do, but usually a question will step upward until the very end, where it takes one quick little downward step.
Exercise 1-4: Sentence Intonation Test Pause the CD and underline or highlight the words that you think should be stressed. Check Answer Key, beginning on page 193.
Depending on the situation, a word may be stressed for any of the following reasons: New Information Opinion Contrast the word Cant
Practice saying the four sentences after me. Pay close attention to the changes in pitch that you must make to convey the different meanings intended. The words to be stressed are indicated in bold face.
Practice saying the sentences after the suggestion and the beep tone +. You will be given only a short time in which to reply so that you wont have the leisure to overthink. Start speaking as soon as you hear the tone because Ill be saying the sentence only a few seconds later.
Native speakers make a clear distinction between pretty easily (easily) and pretty easily (a little difficult). Repeat the answers after me paying close attention to your stress.
Notice how the meaning changes, while the actual words stay the same. 1. I didnt say he stole the money. Someone else said it. 2. I didnt say he stole the money. Thats not true at all.
Now let’s see what you can do with the same sentence just by changing the stress around different words. I’ll tell you which meaning to express. When you hear the tone, say the sentence as quickly as you can. Then I’ll say the sentence for you.
Take the sentence I didnt say he stole the money and translate it into your native language. Write it down below, using whatever letters or characters you use in your language.
Write a short sentence and indicate where you think the most normal intonation would be placed. Then, change the meaning of the sentence slightly and change the intonation accordingly.
Notice that the meaning of the following sentence changes each time we change the stress pattern. You should be starting to feel in control of your sentences now.
Now you decide which words should be emphasized. Write a normal, everyday sentence with at least seven words and put it through as many changes as possible. Try to make a pitch change for each word in the sentence and think about how it changes the meaning of the entire sentence.
There is always at least one stressed word in a sentence and frequently you can have quite a few if you are introducing a lot of new information or if you want to contrast several things.
Mark every word or syllable with an accent marker where you think that the sound is stressed. Use the first sentence as your example. Check the anwer key beginning on page 193. pause the CD.
How you talk indicates to people how you are. Be aware of revealing your personality that you don’t have. There is no absolute right or wrong in regard to intonation, because a case can be made for stressing just about any word of syllable.


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