Robby Kukurs from Accent Adventure reveals how any non-native English speaker can learn to speak with American and also British English pronunciation by following a few simple rules and doing plenty of spoken English practicing! Robby strongly believes – which is backed up by his personal accent acquisition experience – that there’s no such a thing as accent reduction in the common sense of the word whereby we’re looking into the mirror for hours on end while trying to change our inherited sound production mechanisms and tongue placement when speaking. Instead, we simply have to repeat entire sentences by focusing on certain sounds and then the whole accent learning thing becomes so much easier!
How Native English Speakers ACTUALLY Pronounce the TH Sound!
Here’s how to practice your American Pronunciation – imagine that you take some water in your mouth, then start watching my video and repeat every sentence after me! Here’s the sounds you have to FOCUS on: R sound, flap T sound, W sound, ‘Ash’ sound, dark L sound - the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it!
Video Transcript Below:
Hi guys, it's Robby here from AccentAdventure.com where we learn to sound like American English speakers, right?
But in case you don't really aspire to sound like an American English speaker, if your goal is just to improve your pronunciation enough to sound decent while communicating with other people in English, you still may want to check out the blog, AccentAdventure.com right here!
Just click on this link and it's going to take you to my blog where you'll find dozens upon dozens of very relevant articles and videos and it's all about pronunciation improvement.
It's not necessarily how to sound like a British English speaker or an American English speaker but it's going to improve your accent big time, even if you don't aspire to sound like a person coming from a specific geographic area.
But anyway, the whole thing it's geared more towards the American pronunciation and that's what I'm probably more passionate about myself personally and that's the road I'm taking anyway.
And in today's video we're going to look at much the dreaded English sound, TH, right?
TH sound which is the “the”, the voiced version of it, right? TH like in the word “the,” right? “The” and the unvoiced version TH like in the word “thumb”, all right?
Biggest Mistake Made by Foreigners – OVERDOING the TH Sound!
And this is what a lot of foreigners get wrong when they're trying to use this sound or to pronounce this sound when they speak, right?
They try to get it like in a book, right? They tell you that you have to pronounce it this way - you have to place your tongue between your teeth like that. This and these, that and those, this is how the TH goes, right? There's a saying like that. And you guys are probably trying to get it just like in the book when you speak and that's when you start running into an awful lot of problems.
And the reason being, in real life I've yet to meet a native English speaker who pronounces these words like that: this and these. Nobody does that. Nobody :!:
Because in reality the TH voiced sound TH becomes more like D. It's something like the D sound, right? It's just that it's not really a stressed D. Nobody really says “Dis”, right? Although there are certain native English speakers who say that, who speak that way when they come from specific geographical areas. But anyway, that's beyond our discussion today.
Don’t Place Your Tongue BETWEEN the Teeth – It’s WRONG!
Suffice it to say that, you just have to place the tip of your tongue behind your teeth. TH. TH. Like that. TH. This. This. This. It's this. It's this. Nobody really says “it's this.” People say “it's this”. It's the 100th video on my YouTube channel. It's the 100th video. Nobody really says “it's the 100th video.” It's the 100th.
And speaking of the unvoiced version, the TH, the TH sound as in the word thumb, it becomes T. It's more like T. 100th. For the 100th time. It's my thumb. Thumb, right?
Obviously it's not the very same as T. It's not my tumb. It's thumb. It's something between the thumb and tumb, right? Thumb. Thumb. Thumb. Thumb.
How to Pronounce Contractions I’ll, You’ll, He’ll, She’ll, It’ll, We’ll, They’ll in American English
Video Transcript Below:
Hello guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby's Accent Adventure video blog, where we learn to speak like American English speakers.
Yes! I'm trying to sound like American currently and I'm putting on my general American pronunciation and in case you're wondering how that's possible, how we can achieve the same kind of results, you definitely may want to check out the Accent Genie program.
I was following the same principles outlined in the program and you'll be repeating hundreds upon hundreds of sentences spoken out loud by a native English speaker and you'll be repeating them and you'll be focusing on the key sounds.
What I've done with those videos is I've gotten rid of all the irrelevant stuff. And you'll be only focusing on the sounds that will actually enable you of sound like an American English speaker, right?
There are so many other courses out there but what they do is they analyze the whole speech and you're focusing on too many details at the same time. So it's way too overwhelming.
Anyway, let's get down to today's business which is contractions: I'll, you'll, he'll, she'll, it'll, we'll, they'll.
Why I’m Talking About It? One Of My YouTube Commentators Asked Me To!
And the reason why I'm going to be talking about them is I was asked by one of my YouTube commentators to make a video about them and specifically how to pronounce them in fast and slow speech.
And he asks me that because there's only one – according to him – there's only one video on YouTube and that person isn't even from an English country and doesn't sound like a native English speaker. And I really appreciate your comment because by reading that you would think that you think I sound like a native English speaker which is a great thing.
Thanks for saying that and anyway, I'm not a native English speaker. My native background is Latvian. I come from Latvia and I've been living in an English speaking country for 14 years now, right? Not 40, 14. But it's not the United States, it's Ireland.
But anyway, I've always taken such a great interest in everything that's got to do with the United States that a few years ago I decided to teach myself how to sound like an American English speaker. And I'd like to think that I have approached that level where one would hear that I sound like a native American English speaker, right?
It’s the Dark ‘L’ That You’ve Gotta Be Focused On Here!
Anyway, sounds I'll, you'll, he'll, she'll, it'll, we'll, they'll is a typical dark “l” sound. And actually it happens so that a few years ago I recorded a video about the two different “l” sounds. The light “l” and the dark “l”, right? So you may want to check out the video here, in that you'll find out everything there is to know about the dark “l”.
But anyway, nonetheless I'm going to read out these following sentences that I wrote down there in order to show you how to pronounce these sounds in these specific contractions, right?
I’ll Do It
So I'll do it. I'll do it. Or slowly, I'll do it. Well, to be honest with you, I don't really see the big difference, I'll do it or I'll do it. One way or another the “l” sound is the dark “l”. L. I'll do it. I'll do it, you know. It's not I'll do it. It's “l”. It's a bit more throatier than the light “l” sound, right?
You'll See for Yourself
You'll see for yourself. You'll see. You'll see for yourself. You'll see. You'll. You'll. You'll. It's a bit throaty. So you definitely refer back to that video made a few years ago. So that's the way you pronounce these “l” sounds in these contractions. You'll. You'll see for yourself. So you'll. Then you kind of swallow the sound. You'll. Almost like that, right? You'll see for yourself.
And as a matter of fact, this “l” sound is very characteristic to American English speakers,
Internet – Interview – Interact – Interesting – American Pronunciation
Hi guys and welcome back to Robby's Accent Adventure video blog!
And in this video we're going to look at the pronunciation of the following words: interesting, internet, interact, interview, right?
And this is typical for the American pronunciation. If you're trying to speak like a British English speaker obviously, it's not really the case. So this is specific to American pronunciation.
And for those of you guys who might not be familiar with me, I'm Robby and I'm a foreign English speaker. My national background is Latvian, it's an Eastern-European country and I've been living in an English speaking country for 13 years now, right?
And I've been constantly speaking with myself practicing my spoken English and for a good few years now I've been trying to sound like an American English speaker and obviously it has helped a great deal. A few years ago I wouldn't have been able to speak like this, right?
So what's so interesting about the words interesting, internet, interact?
If you listen to the way I pronounce them, you'll definitely notice that letter “t”, basically the “t” sound tends to all but disappear!
So it's not the “internet”, it's “INNERNET”.
And it is especially obvious when you speak quite fast, when you pronounce the words slowly, I would imagine even native speakers would say “internet”, right? If you just pronounce that word individually.
But if it's part of a larger sentence such as for example “Yesterday I was browsing the INNERNET for some INNERVIEW related information and I found very INNERESTING facts in relation to job interviews, right?”
So basically when I speak quite fast, those words are pronounced with the “t” sounds omitted, right? And this is something you may want to take on board if you are trying to sound like an American English speaker.And especially if you live in the United States and you're trying to blend in in the local society, so, well, yeah, in that case it's definitely advisable that you pronounce the words internet, interview, interact and similar words without “t” sound, basically you just omit the letter “t”.
And I'm pretty sure that in linguistics this particular phenomenon is known as assimilation.
So basically if the “n” sound is followed by “t”, the “t” gets assimilated and you basically don't even hear it, all right? But we don't have to burden ourselves with all these linguistics terms. All that you need to know is that the words internet, interesting, interacts, interview are pronounced this particular way.
So you definitely have to practice them. Basically don't go about the whole thing trying to sound like that when speaking with real people in real life, right? You have to do some spoken practice beforehand. And there's no better way of doing such practice than having it all organized in a very well-organized fashion basically using specific software. And that's where Accent Genie program steps in and you definitely may want to check it out, okay?
Okay. Thanks for watching this video my friends. If you have any questions, please feel free to publish them in the comment section below. Bye-bye!
American Netflix Programs I Watched in 2014 and 2015
Here’s another video where I’m speaking with the General American Pronunciation, and this time around I’m talking about good American Netflix programs I’ve been watching lately.
Well, to tell you the truth, I’m actually speaking a little bit too fast in this video and that’s the reason why I’m not getting all American English sounds right in all words.
For the most part, however, my American English is just fine and I’m quite happy with my performance.
But in case you’re wondering how I can say such a thing without consulting with other people and getting their opinion on it – well, here’s the thing – I watched the video I recorded over and over again and I’m intelligent enough to spot any imperfections and mistakes I’ve been making.
The heck, ANYONE is intelligent enough to be a good judge of their own pronunciation provided that they know what sounds they have to FOCUS on:
Dark and light ‘L’ sounds;
The “Ash” sound;
The ‘R’ sound;
The ‘W’ sound;
And a whole lot more!
On top of that, it’s also important to get the little details right such as using certain hesitation sounds and stretching words a bit as well.
So as you can guess, it’s a matter of practicing your speech and now I’m going to use a cliché:
If I can do it, you can do it TOO!
Anyhow, today’s video is about what Netflix shows I’ve been watching lately, and in case you’re wondering how watching Netflix can improve your American English pronunciation, here’s the deal.
You can SHADOW American Netflix programs and it’s one of ways you can improve your American pronunciation and also the overall English fluency.
That’s what I’ve been doing myself, so check out the video above to see what Netflix shows I recommend!
Ignore Extreme Opinion When Working on Your English Pronunciation!
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Hello, guys! Hello, boys and girls, and welcome back to Accent Adventure video blog!
I'm Robby, accent learning enthusiast, English fluency expert, and your friend above everything else! And, now, I'm back with another Accent Adventure video blog.
To tell you the truth guys, I haven't been publishing on this website for more than half a year now, which is a long, long time. And to be totally honest with you, I wasn't sure for some period of time whether I was going to continue with this blog or I was just going to let it die a slow and natural death.
But, lately, I decided - why not? I just could publish a video every now and then to keep those of you happy who are keen on following my accent learning adventures, right?
And currently, as you may guess, I'm speaking with the General American pronunciation. But, funnily enough, some people think that I don't sound like an American English speaker AT ALL, which is obviously not true. Yes, I know for a fact that anyone can tell right from the get-go that I'm a foreign English speaker, and I don't sound exactly like a native English speaker, and I probably never will for that matter.
But, it's not even my goal. I'm just trying to sound like an American. I am trying to nail the American English sound such as the distinct "R" sound, right? "Or", "my problem", "we’re partners, remember?" - it's one of my previous videos. That's why I was using this particular phrase, right?
But, I'm just showcasing you what exactly I'm focusing on when trying to sound like an American English speaker. And I know for a fact that I'm getting the general feel of the pronunciation, if you like, when I'm speaking. And I got a comment recently saying that... Let me read it!
It was on my other English Harmony channel, right, on YouTube and I received a comment saying, "Why do you have American accent? I thought you were living in the United States." So, there you have it! Some people think that I have American accent and they can definitely tell that I do sound like an American.
There Are As Many Different Opinions As There Are People!
And then on the opposite scale of the comments we have someone who said recently that "I have to tell you that you don't sound American at all. You might have a slight American twang, maybe, but you've got an accent that is somewhere between soft and medium, and it is a very distinctive Eastern-European sounding accent."
Well, obviously, all comments and all opinions are welcome to my YouTube channel, and my blog, and everything, and I'm not knocking anyone for publishing their honest opinion on my pronunciation.
But, the reason I recorded this video was just to show you guys that other people's feedback matters very little.
If you're on a journey to improve your English generally or acquire an American accent, or a British accent for that matter, or you're just generally trying to improve your pronunciation and make it clearer, and basically you want to make yourself being understood with ease, right, no matter what your goal is, you should take other people's opinion and advice with a pinch of salt.
Focus On Your English Pronunciation And Ignore the Naysayers!
Meaning, you shouldn't take it too seriously because there are people who will think that no matter what you're doing you're not good enough.
And, then, there are people who will congratulate you on your achievements and they will actually probably try to compliment you no matter what. They won't even point out your mistakes or whatever. Do you know what I mean?
So, the best way would be probably to give a very constructive criticism so to spea...
American English Pronunciation: “What’s The Matter With You”?
That’s me – Robby from AccentAdventure.com – and this time around we’re going to learn how to pronounce the following American phrase properly:
WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?
The main focus here is on the sound created by the double TT in the middle of the word “matter” – it’s the so called FLAP T sound – and it’s actually much closer to the letter D than T!
That’s the reason why I’ve transcribed the flap T sound with the letter D or with a two letter combination TD in my American Pronunciation learning program Accent Genie, and as you can see in the screenshot below – the FLAP T sound in the word “fitting” is transcribed with the two letter combination TD (just because in this case it’s not as close to D as in the word “matter”).
But anyway – going back to today’s phrase WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU? – it basically becomes “What’s the maDer with you?” because Americans transform the double TT into a sound which is much closer to D (with a little hint of “R” in it probably).
If you want to get it just right, however, please watch the video above where I’m looking at this phrase in depth and I’m also giving you a few useful tips on how to get the FLAP T sound just right.
Other things that you have to watch out for when practicing this phrase are the W sound in the word WHAT’S and you also have to make sure to put stress on the first syllable of the word “matter”.
So this is how you pronounce this phrase when speaking with American accent (the underlined syllable indicates the stressed syllable):
Uat’s the maDer with you?
Is it all a bit too confusing?
Well, watch the video above and keep practicing till you get it right – practice is what makes one perfect, don’t you ever forget that! ;-)
And of course, if you’re REALLY serious about your American accent and English pronunciation improvement in general, you definitely want to check out the Accent Genie program which is all about learning the American pronunciation in a fast and effective manner.