Tips Two Tricks for Learning to Speak American English for Free By Eugene O’Reilly, M.A., C.C.C.-SLP Speech Therapist, Accent Specialist and Voice Coach Director of Contemporary Speech and Voice Services, San Francisco
There is an old saying in America which goes, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”. With that said, I want to suggest a couple of free learning techniques for people from other countries who are striving to speak American English better. The only real expenditure is time and focused effort. It’s all paid back when the goal is reached.
1. Get a Public Library card. The Public Library has all the materials any person could want to learn almost anything they would want to learn. A librarian can help you to find books and books on CD at your level of reading. Using a voice recorder of some kind, play the book on CD while reading one or two sentences. Stop the CD and imitate what you heard with the recorder running. Playback the recording and compare your speaking to the speech of the person reading the book.
2. Don’t just watch TV, imitate TV. Many people from overseas have told me that they think they will be able to learn English from watching movies in English.
I have watched movies in numerous languages and I can’t say that I am able to speak any of them as a result. Don’t just watch the movie but imitate what is being said. You can do it the same way as the books on CD. Read the captions of the movie in English. Most captions are on the screen before the actor speaks.
While using a voice recorder, quickly pause the DVD and read the captions of the movie then let the actor speak. Once again compare your speaking to the pronunciation of the actor in the movie.
Basic Guidelines for Changing Pronunciation: How Can We Do It? By Eugene O'Reilly
1.People use three pathways to acquire and "memorize" new speech sounds i.e. change pronunciation:
A.Visually - We watch the movements of the speech sounds when another person is talking and we see how they are shaped. Then we imitate those shapes by using a mirror.
B.Auditorily - We listen, to learn and know the difference between mispronounced sounds and acceptable pronunciation. Then we imitate what we hear.
C.Tactile - we "study" the feeling of what our various speech muscles i.e. tongue, jaw, etc. are doing to produce the speech sounds. We see and hear the sound and then feel the sensation of tongue placement, jaw movement etc. etc. then we remember those postures when we acquired a new way of speaking
Posturing Each speech sound corresponds with a specific "posture" of the lips, tongue, teeth, jaw, voice, etc.. By seeing, hearing and "feeling by doing" each posture, we can learn the specific sounds and reach our goal quicker.
Summary We memorize the "look", the "sound" and the "feeling" of correctly produced sounds and combine those memories to speak in a new way.
Remember . . . If you or your colleagues … have trouble being understood due to accented speech or present a challenging voice quality… have stage fright , a “shaky” or monotone voice when providing presentations - - - CONTEMPORARY Speech and Voice Services has the techniques and expertise to assist you in achieving your personal speech and voice goals quickly and easily!
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