Learning to clean up just a couple of areas can make a huge impact on your
communication and your confidence. In my coaching and analyses, I look for the one or two most crucial areas for you as your starting point, to help you make improvements as quickly as possible.
Laura Elias, MA
Pronunciation help for learners of American English
TOP TEN TIPS-- helpful pronunciation advice for ANY student of English!
>> Some pronunciation difficulties are related to your first language. For example, many Spanish speakers have trouble confusing English "B" and "V", Koreans often mix up "F" and "P", and many Arabic and Somali speakers confuse "P" and "B". Other people have difficulties with intonation or stress -- for example, a Spanish speaker might have difficulty saying an English sentence with a smooth natural rhythm, but for a Portuguese speaker this is usually no problem. However, these Top 10 Tips are useful for almost anybody, no matter what your first language is.
The Pronunciation Coach blog has mini lessons on many different pronunciation topics.
If there is a topic that is not covered there, you can ask a question about English pronunciation by posting a comment on the blog. Your question may become the topic for a future post!
"American English" mean?
There is no official standard for American English, but there is an informal standard. Advice on this site is very similar to the informal standard that Wikipedia calls "General American" English.
There are different regional accents in the United States, and the differences between these accents is primarily in the vowel sounds.
One of the most complicated parts of English pronunciation is the vowel system, and there are different vowel systems shown in different ESL textbooks. The textbooks are different because the authors are from different places (or different countries)!!
I am a language teacher with a Master's degree in ESL (English as a Second Language) and also a Master's degree in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Minnesota. I have over 25 years of experience teaching English and Spanish from beginner to advanced levels. My favorite area in both languages has always been pronunciation!