English Pronunciation

by Ika
(Jakarta, Indonesia)

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I have difficulties studying English pronunciation (American/British). One of my friends said that my English sounds Indian or Middle Eastern.

Honestly, his comment made me feel bad. Please help me learn how to train my accent. I'm teaching an English Course and I have to demonstrate the right accent to my students.
Hope you will help me soon....
Hi Ika,

First of all I am sorry that you friend made that insensitive comment. I'm sure they did not mean to hurt your feelings but I'm sure you only want to do you best, and having someone tell you that you have a strong accent can be upsetting.

To answer your question I need to explain a couple things.

The first thing to realize is that, you probably do have an Indian accent.

I don't know because I have never spoken with you so I can't say, but the truth of the matter is that EVERYONE who learns English usually has an accent. The only time when this is not true is if you grow up in a different country for a large portion of your childhood.

My friend Trini is Spanish but she grew up in the US for over 9 years when she was younger. She doesn't have a Spanish accent at all.

It depends on your situation. I would love it if you could leave a comment below, explaining how you learnt English and how long you have been studying etc. More details will allow me to help you better.

So remember, the first thing to realize is that you probably do have and accent BUT this is not necessarily a bad thing.

If you have a strong accent and no one can understand you, then yes we need to work hard to improve it.

On the other hand if you have a small accent that is noticeable but does not hinder communication then you are fine.

It is like my situation here in Spain. I am Canadian. I have an accent when I speak Spanish. I have a Canadian Andalusian accent. Canadian because that is where I am from, and Andalusian because that is where I live and where I am learning my Spanish.

Having an accent does not mean that my Spanish is poor; just like you having an accent does not make your English poor.

There is always room for improvement

We can always work on and improve ourselves and here are my suggestions and some resources to help you improve your pronunciation.

1) Listen to as much English as you can. I will be designing a new audio book program with the help of Audible.com and their amazing resources this month.

Audio Books at Audible.com
In the mean time, please feel free to visit audible.com and take a look at all the great books you can listen to.

It is an amazingly affordable online resource that is made for people who would like to read more but don't have time.

Don't focus on the ESL books, search for something you would like to learn about, finances, weight loss, cars, mysteries or even comedy. For more information click here.

2) Watch British and American films and mimic what they are saying. Pretend you are the actor and try to sound like them. If Brad Pitt is talking to Julia Roberts, (In the Mexican) listen to a sentence and then pause the movie and repeat it. Try to sound exactly like him.

Mimicking sounds is a really good way to push yourself and improve your accent. It is what we did as children to learn how to speak. We mimicked our parents.

3) Try to extend your vowel sounds. I am not sure if you have the same pronunciation problems as most Spaniards, but they tend to cut their vowel sounds really short. I am Canadian so I have more of an American than British accent and we have very long vowel sounds. Give it a try and see what happens.

4) The last thing I would like to recommend is the Ship or Sheep? Book and Audio CD Pack: An Intermediate Pronunciation Course


Just like many of the Cambridge books, "Ship or Sheep?" provides you with excellent explanations and exercises that are great for self study.

The CD allows you to listen to and mimic the pronunciation at home as well.

If you are looking for a way to improve your pronunciation from the comfort of you own home, this book is for you!

Please let me know what you decide to do, and how it works for you.

I hope that you feel better, and try not to worry too much about your accent.

As long as your accent does not hinder people's ability to understand you, try to embrace it.

Have a great day Ika!

- Diana

Need more help?
Read why I love Charles Becker's "Best Accent Training MP3's".

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Accent Reduction MP3 Course

Comments for English Pronunciation

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Aug 27, 2010
American English and Accent Reduction
by: Afef

Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well. I'm AFEF from Algeria. I'm an English student and I wanna be fluent in English. In fact; I have a problem with my vocabulary. I don't have much vocabulary and I didn't find the best way to get it. I don't have many problems with my pronunciation coz I can sound a bit like the Americans, coz I had trained myself but I need to have more training. I mean to have an American accent reduction class; please help me realize my dream and speak good English. I'm looking forward to have a reply. Have a good day.

If you are looking for accent reduction classes you might be interested in Charles Becker's accent reduction training course.

Apr 09, 2010
watching TV
by: Anonymous

I grew up in a non English speaking country but as I child I always watch English TV shows like Sesame Street, while growing up I realized that I am a better English speaker compared to my friends, I guess I owe it to those English TV shows I've watched. It really helps.

Sep 30, 2009
Pronounciation and Talking power
by: Anonymous

Hi dear!
I'm very poor in English b/c of low vocublary and so I couldn't talk in English with my friends and I am dull in pronounciation it stops me talk with others.

How can I improve my pronounciation as well as my talking power? thank you.
Dear Anonymous,

Many people find it hard to pronunce words correctly but the best way to improve is to practice.

Some people do not feel comfortable practicing alone because they want to hear that words and be able to mimic the sounds being made.

In addition to speaking more, I might suggest getting a good pronuncation course, such as Charles Becker's MP3 course .

Do not let weak pronuncation limit your communication. :)


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