5 problem areas in English pronunciation

Why do I have an accent?
Non-native English speakers often use the pronunciation and communication style of their native language when speaking in English, resulting in accented speech.  Below are 5 common problem areas that can interfere with intelligibility when speaking in English. Accent Modification training can be a great help in addressing these problem areas.

1.  Intonation
Intonation refers to the paralinguistic vocal features such as: pitch, loudness, resonance, quality and flexibility. Speakers vary these to  show intent and emotion.

2.  Stress
Stress is extremely important in English and carries a great deal of information. There is stress on both word and sentence levels. Stress can show contrast, if the information is old or new, the focus of the message and other information about the speaker’s intent.

3.  Thought Groups
This is how speakers’ group words into phrases to make their ideas clear.  Thought groups put information in understandable chunks to help lead the listener through the speaker’s message.

4.  Linking
Linking is how we transition from word to word. It is based on the last sound of the first word and the first sound of the next word. Without linking, speech sounds choppy and disconnected.

5.  Vowels /Consonants
English is not a phonetic language, so it is often hard to know how to pronounce  a word by its spelling. Pronunciation in English is based on sounds, not spelling. Some sounds in English (th for example) don’t exist in other languages.

Error in these areas can make it difficult to be understood by native English speakers. The degree of the problem will vary depending on one’s native language, awareness of English pronunciation rules, and personal differences in language learning ability.

What is your native language, and which areas do you find the most problematic?

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9 Responses to 5 problem areas in English pronunciation

  1. Robby says:

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  4. Simone says:

    That is fantastic ingisht and you are so correct, it is not just about English. Peer/family pressure is a major block in one’s ability in acquiring a language and how well one speaks it. There are many, many factors, but that is a big one.Your opinion on ESL teacher/tutor awareness is right on. Having that information will signal to the teacher/tutor how to approach the student and assist in diminishing his/her insecurities while helping ease the tensions surrounding peer/family pressure. Understanding makes things easier for both the teacher and the student.Aliawww.askalia.squarespace.com

  5. j says:

    I’d say that ESL learners usually have troubles with perceiving the differences between an English sound and a corresponding sound in their native language. It takes a lot of practice so they would be able to pronounce a word in isolation correctly, and even more practice to link the words in such a way that the sentence has a proper stress patter.

  6. Alena Gutierrez says:

    My husband and I struggled with all of these. We could write and read in English just fine, but our accents made it hard for people to understand us. . Good luck everyone! <3

  7. Alena Gutierrez says:

    My husband and I struggled with all of these. We could write and read in English just fine, but our accents made it hard for people to understand us. We used and reduced our accents in less than three months. Recommend it to people all the time. Good luck everyone! <3

  8. Alena Gutierrez says:

    My husband and I struggled with all of these. We could write and read in English just fine, but our accents made it hard for people to understand us. Good luck everyone! <3

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