Why is it Important for you to Improve your Accent?

Why is it Important for you to Improve your Accent?

The Americans, the British, the Canadian and the Aussies all speak the same language and that is English. However, as a listener, you find a drastic difference in their pronunciation and this is what brings about so many different accents.

If you are planning to move to any of these countries, it is important that you learn the accent that is followed in that country. Not only does it help in cracking admission tests or visa interviews, but also it helps you in adjusting in a new place. Only if you’re fluent and are able to understand the language that is spoken by natives of the place, you get friendly with the locals. And in case you don’t adjust yourself to the new surroundings, you will not be able to get best out of your study abroad journey.

While studying abroad or living in an English-speaking country, you get to improve your English speaking skills in a very short span of time. It is because learning while practicing in a real-life scenario is the most efficient way of mastering a foreign language. However, you just can’t wait to arrive in a country for language learning to start. The preparations for your study-abroad journey have to start much early. Also, you need to master language so as to score well in the language proficiency tests and get through visa interviews.

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Use of Vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

  • When a vowel is followed by one consonant, that vowel is usually short.
  • A vowel is long when it says its own name. When a single vowel is at the end of the word, it usually makes the long vowel sound.
  • When ‘e’ is the last letter in a word, and there is only one other vowel in that word, the first vowel makes the sound. For example, ‘e’ as in “cake” is silent.
  • In a consonant digraph, two consonants work together to form one sound.
  • Consonants blends are a group of two or more consonants whose individual sounds can be heard as they blend together like the scrub, grasp, and clap.
  • The schwa is only in words with more than one syllable, but never in the “accented” syllable. It is the most common sound in the English Language.
  • When the letter ‘c’ is followed by vowels e, i, or y, it usually makes a soft sound like cent, Cyrus and a hard sound like the cat, cocoa.

Information on Different Accents

American

  • In American English, words ending with “rl” or “rel” can be pronounced using either one or two syllables, completely interchangeably.
  • American vowels are a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y and w. But when “y” or “w” appears at the beginning of a word or syllable, they are NOT vowels.
  • Americans tend to pronounce “o’s” as “a’s” as inSarry = sorry

Barrow = borrow

tomarrow = tomorrow

  • Often Americans have weaker vowels as in

Accent = icent

Enter = inter with a weak

  • Sometimes American vowels are stronger as in

Presentation = pree-sentation

Semi-automatic = .sem-eye

  • Other words like ‘out’ is more like ‘ow’ as in ‘cow’, sounding like ‘ow’+’t’. Other words often pronounced differently are ‘pop’, and ‘roof’.

Useful Resource

Learn British and American accent: British vs American Accent

British

 American English and British English, often, differ at the levels of phonology, phonetics, vocabulary and vey less in grammar and orthography.

  • “-rl” words like “girl”, “hurl”, “curl”, “burn” etc. are pronounced as one syllable with silent R, while “squirrel” is “squih-rul”, and “referral” is “re-fer-rul”.
  • In many British accents, theH at the beginning of a word is often omitted.

Useful Resource:

Learn British Accent

Canadian

There are no major differences between Canadian and American accent. They are almost similar. The Canadian ‘accent’ can be heard easily in the following words: out, about, house, and others with ‘ou’. Like “out’s” as “oats”, “about” as “aboat” and “out as oat.”

  • Canadian spellings can also cause confusion: colour as color, cheque as check, centre as center, and so on.
  • The “au” as “o” in caught is pronounced as cot and Dawn as Don.

Australian

 The ground rule of learning this language is to start talking like an Aussie.

  • Don’t say “r”, “g” or “t” at the end of word. To model, “runner” should be pronounced as “runna”, “river” as “riva”, “getting” as “gettin”, and “catching” as “catchin”.
  • The sound of “a” becomes “i.”
  • End sentences with “but, as, hey? or “aye.”
  • The “ah” sound in words like “that or hat” sounds like the “eh” from egg.
  • Turn “oo” sounds into “ew” sounds likeschool” as “skewl”.

Useful Resource

Learn Australian Accent

Some Very Useful Tips

  • It is easier to learn accents by listening to people. A formal British accent can be heard on BBC news.
  • It is advisable to learn only one accent at a time.
  • You have to make the learning process interesting.
  • Listening to and imitating a native speaker is the best and fastest way to learn.
  • Pronounce everything clearly.
  • Self Practice: Newspaper articles, short stories or your favorite book written in English can be read out loud.  As you read, you can practice saying the words by concentrating on the correct accent.
  • If you can understand one style, you should be able to understand the other style.
  • Don’t forget that you are never too old to improve or learn anything new. Also, you are not the only one who has taken up the task of learning a new language.

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