English Communication Confidence Blog

How To Practice Your American Accent

Mar 15, 2022

Organize your American Accent studies one topic at a time. For example, if you are learning intonation, go deep into the subject for at least two weeks. Superficial study will result in good, not great, communication.


Video Transcript:

Hey everybody. It is Jill Diamond. And I just finished up a session with one of my clients and something came out of my mouth that I said that just resonated with me. A lot of times when we are trying to learn something or do something, we try to do everything all at once. We make the tasks at hand bigger than they need to be. And this idea of tackling the mountain instead of mastering the hill. Whether you're learning to ski or play tennis or speak English fluently, it's not about doing everything all together at once.


So this idea of what is the current hill that I'm standing in front of. What is the current goal that I have? How can I break that down into these little hills that I master until I've reached the top of the mountain? So it's a little bit of a metaphor that it's great to have big goals. I have big goals in life, but it's important to understand what are the parts of that goal so that you can really dig in and, and learn what you need to do, practice what you need to practice. This is so, so important. And so look, if you're working on flow, come in and check out those flow, the flow playlist that I have on the channel. If you're working on thought chunking, go ahead and watch the, the, the video that's going to help you with pausing, right? Start to break down what it is that you want to achieve and look for all of the tools and all of the learning material that you can find on that one thing. But remember, it's one hill at a time that gets you to the top of the mountain.


Thanks for watching today. I hope this little inspirational talk will inspire you to go ahead and keep improving your English communication skills. And if you're interested, why don't you check out the description in today's video so that you can learn more about how I can help you and how you might be able to join a group of international professionals to really increase your communication skills. Thanks for watching. Remember to like share and subscribe to the channel as I try to get to a hundred thousand subscribers this year. Okay. Thanks so much. Bye.

Check out these FAQs related to today's post:

Q. Can I identify and practice more of your American Accent Training Methodology by listening to music and watching movies/series from the United States?

A. The answer is yes to both of those. Listening to music is a great way to study the rhythm and emphasis of American English. I like to suggest songs that tell a story so that you can really get into the language as well. Country music is great for this. Read the lyrics while you listen and then tap your toes or snap your fingers to find the emphasis of stressed syllables and FOCUS words. It is amazing how much easier it is to speak the phrases of the songs once you've sung them a few times. For movies and series, I've said this in other posts, when you are practicing the accent side of your American English, turn the subtitles on so that you can start to analyze "how" people are saying what they say even if you already understand "what" they are actually saying. This can be a good thing to do on something that you've already seen for enjoyment. Turn it into an exercise by reading along with the movie or episode with the purpose of breaking down the pronunciation, rhythm, and intonation patterns of the language. It's fun! 

Q. Because I'm already fluent in English, I find it difficult to make time to practice even though I know that I could improve. What do you suggest?

A. I suggest small doses of practice and integrating that practice into something you are already doing. So, for example, if you drive to work, how about listening to an audiobook read by one of your favorite American actors. As you listen to them speak, you can mimic them for intonation, speed, and any other speaking technique you want to master. Another thing I often say to my clients is to work with Post-It Notes (or any kind of sticky paper.) You want to write one word at a time on a piece of sticky paper and post that word in several areas of your life--the mirror in your bathroom, the computer in your home office, your wall in your work office, etc. The same word goes on each paper and for one week, every time you see the word, you say the word. You can choose to work on word emphasis in which case make sure you write the word on the paper in a way that tells you which syllable is stressed. Start with words that you use most in the workplace and that you know you'd like to improve saying. 

Q. Is there somewhere I can learn more about the by Jill Diamond Methodology and techniques for speaking American English well? 

A. Absolutely. You've got some options. You can sign up for my educational emails and get tips and tricks every week. My regular topics include: Melody Monday, Thought Chunking Thursday, Flow Friday, and Celebrity Sunday. I do my best to hit all the English Communication Skills over the course of each year so that is a great place to start. You can also get a hold of one of my eBooks starting with English Communication Confidence. It's free and you'll learn more about my methodology and what you can do as an adult language learner to improve your practice habits. 

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