The top ten mistakes that foreign speakers make #8: open vowels

Some foreign speakers talk with very closed mouths.  In English, we move our mouths a lot.  This means that we open them.  As one client stated, “you open your mouth REALLY WIDE!” The short a and short o sounds are pronounced with a wide open mouth.  When you do not, open your mouth wide enough, the short a and short o sound like short u.  This makes a word sound different. For example, bat (a) and bought (o) both become but. To correct this mistake, just open your mouth more.  It is opened in a wide circle for the short a.  For the short o it is opened in a wide oval. Try it…people with notice the difference!

The top ten mistakes that foreign speakers make #7: Z

The Z sound is confusing for many foreign speakers.  The main reason is because of how words are spelled.  In a lot of cases, the letter “S” is pronounced as a Z sound.  For instance, the word because is pronounced becauz, is sounds like iz, and was is said, waz. In English, we add S to nouns to show generality or to make plurals, possessives, and contractions. An S is added to verbs to ensure subject-verb agreement with a singular subject.  Sometimes, the S is pronounced S but other times it is pronounced Z. To correct this mistake, you have to do two things: Determine which words use the Z sound when spelled with S (do this by listening or using a dictionary) Learn when to use S or Z to end plurals and possessives, and contractions Good luck…people will notice the difference.

The top ten mistakes that foreign speakers make #6: final voiced sounds

This error is a big problem.  Foreign speakers omit (say bee for beat) or do not keep the voice on (say back for bag) when a consonant sound ends a word.  These errors create entirely new and different words. To correct this you must first learn to say ending sounds.  Focus on saying each word.  This will force you to use the ending sounds.   Talking slowly also helps.Once you master this, work on adding your voice.  Do this by placing your hand on your throat.  Say “ahh”.  Your voice box moves when you do this.  This is voicing.  Many sounds in English have a voiceless and voiced counterpart.  For example, the P and B sounds are made the in same way except for the voicing.  T/D, K/G, CH/J, and S/Z are also made in the same way except for the voicing. You can’t tell the difference? Then try this exercise to

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The top ten mistakes that foreign speakers make #5: ING endings

Many foreign speakers have trouble with word endings.  The “ING” ending is commonly used.  I hear foreign speakers pronounce the “ING” as:  “INK”, “IN”, “ENG”, “EENG” or “IN GA”. When mispronounced, the word sing would sound like sink, sin, seng or sin ga (which might be interpreted as singer).  When “ING” is added to a verb to change the tense, the word thinking would sound like thinkin or thinkeeng. To correct this error, do these things: make the vowel short make the NG one sound say NG not N.  Do this by touching the tip of the tongue to the back of the bottom, front teeth; NOT the top teeth. Good luck!  People will notice a difference.

The top ten mistakes that foreign speakers make #4: L

The “L” sound is common mistake that I hear from ESL speakers.  Correcting this sound will make you sound clearer. Many speakers confuse this sound with the R and W.  They also leave the sound off of the end of words or omit it when it comes near a vowel.  This leads to listener confusion.  Correcting this error will make you sound clearer. The mistake that most foreign speakers make with the L sound is that they pronounce it in a very strong manner.  American’s sound more “casual” when they say the L sound.  Clients have told me that the American production sounds “faster”. Many clients also pronounce the “L” sound more like an “O” sound.  This happens most times at the end of a word. To correct this error, do these things: Touch and go…say the L sound then quickly move to the next sound Touch lightly…say the L sound by lightly touching the teeth

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The top ten mistakes that foreign speakers make #3: T

The T sound is another high frequency sound in English.  It is used in common words like “to”, “what” and “time”.  Correcting this sound will make your speech sound more native. The mistake that most foreign speakers make with the T sound is that they pronounce it in a more “British” way.  Meaning it is pronounced in a very strong manner.  In most cases, this is not a problem. You are still saying the “T” sound.  It is just slightly different. If you want to sound more American you can work to improve the way you say this sound.  I know time is an issue for most people.  If you want more bang for your buck, work on sounds that others do not understand when you speak. Americans sound more “casual” when they say the T sound.  Clients have told me that the way Americans say T sounds “fast”. To correct this, do these things:

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The top ten mistakes that foreign speakers make #2: R

The R sound is used a lot in English.  It is a high frequency sound (right, read, run), it impacts the vowel that precedes it (were, more, hear), and is used in consonant clusters or blends (print, screen, scroll).  Correcting this sound will make you sound much clearer. There are several mistakes that foreign speakers make with the R sound: Move the R…in English it does not move, flap, or trill Confuse the R with W and L…these are very different in English and change the meaning of the word.  For example:  rye, why, lie Leave the R sound out when it comes near a vowel…in English we say each sound, the vowel then the R To correct this error, do these things: If you move your R sounds, keep your tongue still by placing the sides onto your top teeth Learn the difference between the L (make with the tongue behind the top teeth),

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The top ten mistakes that foreign speakers make #1: TH

The TH is used a lot in English.  It is a high frequency sound used in words such as “this, that, these, those, the, them, then, with”.  Correcting this sound will make you sound much clearer. Most languages do not have this sound.  To make matters worse, most foreign people think it is “ugly” and avoid improving their pronunciation of this sound.  Why do they think it is ugly?  You have to put your tongue between your teeth. Basically, you stick your tongue out of your mouth. To get over this fear, watch a native English speaker talk.  Once you become proficient, others can barely notice your tongue placement.  When you are learning, you have to hold the tongue in the position longer than a native speaker.  This makes the position more noticeable.  It will go away with time and increased speed and accuracy. People who cannot pronounce TH, say these sounds instead:  D, T,

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How to Pronounce Question Words

Question words are used frequently.  Learning them will make you clearer.  Some of my clients get confused since WH is pronounced as H or W.   WH pronounced W: WHEN is pronounced W-short e-N WHERE is pronounced W-AIR.  Video lesson for where. WHAT is pronounced W-short u-T WHY is pronounced W-long I.  Video  lesson for WHY.    WH pronounced H: WHO is pronounced H-long EW.  Video lesson for WHO.    HOW is pronounced H-long OW

How to say KEYS and KISS

Today’s question is originally from Mexico City. I’ve lately watch many of your videos. Your content is very helpful for us all.  I want to thank you for what you’ve done and I want also make a video request about the difference between the word KEYS and KISS, one friend once taught me the difference which I forgot, so I wish you read this and assist me.  So, that’s it, thank you again and goodbye. 😀   It was posted again today on YouTube from a Spanish speaker in Spain. Hi, Jennifer. I’m from Spain, and I want to thank you for your extremely useful channel, and your great teaching. I would like to ask you a question. What is the difference between “kiss” and “keys”, please? Thank you very much, Jennifer. KEYS has three sounds:  K-long E-Z KISS has three sounds:  K-short i-S Spanish speakers typically make the long

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