Improve your English accent faster

How to improve your English accent faster

if you really want to improve your English accent faster, I want to share with you a very important fact, if not the most important one!

 

A Common Mistake When Trying To Improve Your English Accent Faster

Which do you think is the most common mistake English learners usually make?

The mistake I’ll talk about is the complete lack of a clear and specific reference of how your English accent has to sound.
I bet that you try to improve your English accent completely blindfolded and without any reference at all.

 
Improve your English accent faster

 

Why you can’t Improve Your English Accent Faster?

It’s not easy at all to improve your English accent because:

First difficulty You have to deal with a lot of things like:
Pronunciation
Entonation
Liaisons
Contractions
Among many others…

Second difficulty There’s a lot of different English accents that sound pretty different between them:
The British accent
The American accent
The Australian accent
Among many others accents …

Third difficulty Check out how many different accent you can find inside the aforementioned accents. For example in the British accent there’re many other accents like:
Scottish
Welsh
RP
Estuary
Scouse
Gordie
Among many others…

Those are pretty bad news, aren’t they?

But don’t worry, there’s still light at the end of the tunnel!
There’s something that’ll make things a lot easier.
Something that can help you to improve your English accent faster.

 

How To Improve Your English Accent Faster?

To overcome all these difficulties, you have to pick out a specific English accent as a reference for you.

You’re in the wrong way if:
You haven’t a specific English accent as a reference.
You constantly shift from one English accent to another.

And let me tell you an even most important thing:
The trick here is not just to choose a specific English accent. You also have to choose an English native speaker as a reference for you.
It can be a singer, an actor, a TV show host…whoever you like!

If you have these references it’s going to be a lot easier to improve your English accent faster. You’ll know how your English accent must sound.

If you want to improve your English accent faster, you always have to keep in mind your 2 cornerstones:
A specific English accent.
An English speaker of this specific accent.

The difference between having this references or not, is the difference between succeeding or failing when trying to improve Your English Accent Faster.

 

Steps To Follow In Order To Improve Your English Accent Faster

Step One:
-Choose both a specific English accent and an English speaker of this accent.
-Take your time and choose it carefully!
It’s a very crucial decision for you!
-Keep in mind that all the time you’re going to spend listening to different English accents and speakers is by any mean a waste of time. Just quite the contrary.

Step Two:
Once you have a specific English accent and an English speaker of that accent:
-Listen to him/her as much as possible.
-Try to imitate him/her as much as possible.
-Try to catch all the characteristics that makes this English accent to sound how it sounds.

Step Three:
-Don’t worry if at any time you feel that you choose a wrong accent or the wrong speaker reference for you.
-Just go back to step 1 and start over to find a more suitable one.

I’m myself following this same strategy and I can assure you that it works pretty well!

A very important recommendation:
I do recommend you to stick with a specific English accent when working on your speaking.
Nevertheless, it’s very important for you to still listen to all kinds of English accents if you also want to improve your listening skill.

 
Which English accent are you going to pick out?
Which English speaker do you have as a reference?
Any other idea about how to improve your English accent faster?
All your comments are very welcome!!!

 

Copyright © 2012-2016 Learn English Like Me and learnenglishlikeme.com
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited.
Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Learn English Like Me and learnenglishlikeme.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How to master sentence stress

3/9 post of the series “The 9 basic pillars to speak English well

For native English speakers to stress the correct words in a sentence is not a big deal.They don’t even have to think about it because they do it unconsciously.

I bet that if you ask an English speaker to tell you “The basic rules of sentence stress”, he or she’s going to answer you   “Well… hum…sorry…I don’t know. I just do it!

It’s the same for you in your native tongue. You don’t plan beforehand how you are going to stress a given sentence. You don’t ask for a minute to prepare your speaking.
You just speak and don’t even know the rules you use to stress words in a sentence because it’s quite natural for you.
 
How to master sentence stress

 

The Most Important Rule About Sentence Stress

We, English learners, didn’t have the change to be in contact with the English language since our childhood.
Then it’s not obvious for us to know how to stress the correct words in a sentence.

The first rule and the most important one is
Forget about applying the patterns you use in your native tongue into English.
It’s the most common mistakes between English learners.

When you speak in English you have to forget about any other language that you speak. You have to switch your brain, mouth and ears to English mode.

 

How To Stress Sentences In English

First of all, you need to clearly differentiate in every sentence between Important words (content words) and non important words (function words).

Content words are…

  • Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Adverts
  • Negative contractions (won’t, can’t, isn’t)

Function words are…

  • Articles
  • Pronouns
  • prepositions
  • Auxiliary verbs

You usually have to stress content words and not stress (or even distress) function words.

The bigger stress is on the last content word of a sentence. This word is also called the focus word.

This is what makes English to sound like it sounds.  And because you don’t do that your English maybe does’t sound good.

Some easy examples…

  • I LIKE your CAR.
  • My FRIEND is LIVING in LONDON.
  • I’d LIKE to BUY a COMPUTER.

As you can se as a basic rule you stress important words (nouns, verbs…) and you don’t stress or distress non important words (pronouns,prepositions…)
 

Breaking The Rules Of Sentence Stress

When you speak you always want to convey a certain meaning. Sometimes you are going to break the rules above in order to be able to convey a specific meaning.

I’m going to show this with an example.

As you are going to see, even thought I told you that the strees is usually in the last content word of a sentence, if you want or need to convey a diferent meaning you can stress other words in a sentence (even function words)

Imagine that you meet a  friend (who’s a little deaf) and you are talking about his new car…

Dialogue Explanation
You: “I like your CAR. This is the common stress pattern of the sentence. You stress the last focus words of the sentence “car”
Him: “What car do you like?”
You: “I like YOUR car.” you are stressing a content word but you do that because you want your friend to understand that it’s his car that you like and not another one’s car.
Him: “What do you think about my new car?”
You: “I LIKE your car.” Here you stress the verb that is a focus word but not the last one, because you want to make quite clear that you LIKE your friend’s car.
Him: “Who do you say that likes my car?”
You: “I like your car.” This because you want to make quite clear that’s you and not another one who likes your friend’s car.

 

3 basic steps to improve your sentence stress

If you follow the next 3 basic steps for a while, you are going to end stressing sentence naturally almost like native English speakers do.

1) Learn the basic sentence stress rules that are going to help you to stress words correctly in sentences.
2) Practice and apply consciously these rules into basic sentences.
3) After a lot of work, you’re going to forget them because you are going stress sentences correctly.

 

And Remember…

How to master sentence stress_
 

What To Do Next…

The 9 basic pillars to speak English well
– How to master English pronunciation … Coming soon!
How to master word stress
– How to master the Schwa sound … Coming soon!
How to master English intonation
How to master connected speech
How to master English contractions
– How to master thought groups … Coming soon!
– How to master Word Ending pronunciation

Copyright © Learn English Like Me and learnenglishlikeme.com, (2012-2016).
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Learn English Like Me and learnenglishlikeme.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How to master word stress

2/9 post of the series “The 9 basic pillars to speak English well

 
In English like in other languages you need to know how to stress words correctly.

Even if your English pronunciation is perfect, if you don’t master word stress, I can assure you that native English speakers are going to fight a lot in order to understand you.
In English there are no written accents in words (like you can find in other languages) and then you have to know or guess where to stress every word.

Let’s see how to stress words correctly…

How to master word stress

 

Why Is Word Stress So Important?

Before sharing with you some basic rules to help you master word stress, I want to make sure that you are really aware about how important is to stress words correctly in English.

Here is an example to show you that:

– Example 1:
Imagine that your pronunciation is not very good, but you stress words correctly like that…

“I woke up at seven because I wanted to arrive at the meeting on time. But sadly because of a traffic jam, I’m still driving.”

– Example 2:
Now imagine that your pronunciation is perfect, but you stress words incorrectly like that…

“I woke up at seven because I wanted to arrive at the meeting on time but sadly because of a traffic jam, I’m still driving.”

In the first example, as you stress words correctly, English speakers are going to understand you even if your pronunciation is not perfect.
But in the second example, I can guarantee you that it’s going to be very difficult to understand you because you stress words incorrectly, even if your pronunciation is good.
As you can see, it’s even difficult to read the second sentence because it doesn’t sound natural at all.

That being said, I think that if you didn’t, now you do agree with methat word stress is a must if you want to speak English well.

Let’s now take a look to some rules that are going to help you to stress words correctly.

 

How To Use These Rules?

In my humble opinion it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to stress uncommon English words like the next ones…

  • Phlyarologist
  • Apanthropinization
  • Pseudisodomous

But in the other hand it does matter a lot to know how to stress basic and very common words like for example…

  • Phrasal verbs: Make up, Find out…
  • Compound words:  Hardware, Basketball…
  • Proper nouns: New York, North Dakota…
  • Abbreviations: FBI, CIA…

I’m going to share with you some of the most important rules about word stressing.
I don’t want you to learn these rules by heart. You just have to use them as a guide to improve how you stress words.
Use the next rules whenever you don’t know how to stress a particular word.

 

Basic Rules To Master Word Stress

Let’s see some basic rules that are going to help you to stress most words correctly…

1. Two syllable nouns, adjectives and adverbs
Rule: You usually stress the first syllable Examples: Teacher, Student, Sunday, Market, Paper, Brother, Sister
2. Two syllable verbs
Rule: You usually stress the last syllable
Examples:  To receive, To admit, To record, To relax
3. Compound noums
Rule: You usually stress the first word
Examples:  Seafood, Iceland, Classroom, Software, Homework, Football
4. Compound adjectives
Rule: You usually stress the second word
Examples:  Bad-tempered, Old-fashioned, hard-headed
5. Compound verbs
Rule: You usually stress the second word
Examples:  To understand, To overflow, To overlook
6. Phrasal verbs
Rule: You usually stress the second word (preposition)
Examples: To run out, To call off, To break down,  To wake up
7. 2 words proper noums
Rule: You usually stress the second word
Examples: New York, North Dakota,  Mr. Smith,
8. Abbreviations
Rule: You usually stress the last letter
Examples: FBI, CIA
…How to stress 3 or more syllable words
Let’s talk about how to stress these kind of words in an upcoming post…

 
Very important note
As you can see, I always say “You USUALLY stress…”.
I say “usually” because these rules don’t work for all 100% of the words,  but they work most of the times.

 

As Always…Exceptions To The Rules

At some time some doubts are going to show up…

– Doubt 1:
“George, you told me that two syllable nouns are stressed in the first syllable and I heard “record” instead of “record” can you explain that?”

Answer: Be careful with heteronyms. There are words that can be either a noun or a verb. When they are used as a noun you stress the first syllable. When they are used as a verb you stress the last syllable. Ex: “a record” (noun) and “to record” (verb)

 
– Doubt 2:
“George, you also told me that compound nouns are stressed  in the first word but I hear “ black bird” instead of “ Blackbird” can you explain me that too?”

Answer: Be careful with “compound nouns” versus “Adjective + Noun”. Compound nouns are stressed on the first word. But sometimes instead of a compound noun you have an adjective + noun. In this case you have to stress the noun.

Compound noun Adjective + Noun
The Whitehouse
(the house of the president of the US)
A white house
(a house that’s painted in white)
A Blackbird
(a specific genre of bird)
A black bird
(a bird with black feathers)
Slimboy
(someone’s nickname)
A slim boy
(a boy that is slim)

 

And Remember…

How to master word stress_

 

What To Do Next…

The 9 basic pillars to speak English well
– How to master English pronunciation … Coming soon!
– How to master sentence stress … Coming soon!
– How to master the Schwa sound … Coming soon!
How to master English intonation
How to master connected speech
How to master English contractions
– How to master thought groups … Coming soon!
– How to master Word Ending pronunciation

Copyright © Learn English Like Me and learnenglishlikeme.com, (2012-2016).
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Learn English Like Me and learnenglishlikeme.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.