American Accent Training Essay

6998 Words Nov 1st, 2011 28 Pages
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Chapter 1 American Intonation

The American Speech Music CD 1 Track 4

What to Do with Your Mouth to Sound American One of the main differences between the way an American talks and the way the rest of the world talks is that we don't 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. If you hold your fingers over your lips or clench your jaws when you practice speaking American English, you will find yourself much closer to native-sounding speech than if you try to pronounce every ... single ... sound ... very ... carefully. If you can relate American English to music,
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Not every American uses the downward staircase. A certain segment of the population uses rising staircases—generally, teenagers on their way to a shopping mall: "Hi, my name is Tiffany. I live in La Canada. I'm on the pep squad."

What Exactly Is Staircase Intonation? In saying your words, imagine that they come out as if they were bounding lightly down a flight of stairs. Every so often, one jumps up to another level, and then starts down again. Americans tend to stretch out their sounds longer than you may think is natural. So to lengthen your vowel sounds, put them on two stairsteps instead of just one. We're here. I We ///////// 're ///////// ///////// he ///////// ///////// ///////// re. ///////// ///////// ///////// ///////// The sound of an American speaking a foreign language is very distinctive, because we double sounds that should be single. For example, in Japanese or Spanish, the word no is, to our ear, clipped or abbreviated. No

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Clipped

No ///////// ou ///////// ///////// Standard American

When you have a word ending in an unvoiced consonant—one that you "whisper" (t, k, s, x, f, sh)—you will notice that the preceding vowel is said quite quickly, and on a single stairstep. When a word ends in a vowel or a voiced consonant—one that you "say" (b, d, g, z, v, zh, j), the preceding vowel is said more

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