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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 4 Secrets to Having an American English Accent: Advanced Pronunciation Lesson

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Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com.

Are you ready to sound more American?

Let's do it.

Have you ever wondered, is the American accent really different from the British accent?

The answer is "Yes, definitely."

Last year I made this video that has now over a million and a half views, it's called "Four

Secrets to the American English Accent", and in this video we talked about the four essential

elements of the American English accent.

But today I think it's time to go beyond those basics and dig a little deeper.

Are you ready?

We're going to be practicing four more secrets to the American English accent, and after

each section, I want you to try to imitate and shadow exactly with my voice.

That means that you need to practice and it's a great way to improve your pronunciation.

Let's get started.

The first secret to an American English accent is the stopped T. This is super common, it's

when there is a T at the end of a word, but we don't exactly say it.

Let me give you a quick example, how about the word right?

Did you hear right?

Nope.

Instead, when I said that final T, my tongue was stopped at the top of my mouth, that's

why we call it a stopped T. Right.

Right.

Let's look at a sample sentence.

I thought he wouldn't appreciate the plant.

There's a lot of words here that end in T or have a T close to the end.

Listen carefully again.

Do you hear any of those Ts?

I thought he wouldn't appreciate the plant.

For each of those Ts my tongue is stopped at the top of my mouth.

Let's look at another sample sentence.

I bought some meat and took it outside.

Almost each of these words that end in T have a stopped T. Let's listen one more time.

I bought some meat and took it outside.

The word outside has a T in the middle, but because this word is kind of two words put

together out and side, we're going to have a stopped T here in the middle, this is a

little bit of an exception.

All right, let's go back to that original sentence and I want you to try to say it out

loud with me.

Now that you've heard a lot of different examples, I want you to speak out loud, use those pronunciation

muscles and speak.

Are you ready?

I thought he wouldn't appreciate the plant.

I thought, is your tongue stopped at the top of your mouth?

I hope so.

I thought he wouldn't appreciate the plant.

You know what I'm going to do?

I'm going to pause and I want you to say this sentence all by yourself.

No matter where you are I'll be listening, so make sure you speak out loud.

Go ahead.

Great work.

All right, let's go onto the second secret of having an American English accent.

Number two is the glottal T. We're talking about the letter T again.

I've gotten a lot of comments about how to pronounce the word sentence.

Sentence or sentence?

I say sentence and I've gotten so many comments

of people saying, "Vanessa, why do you pronounce it like that?

How did you say that?"

Well, this is a lovely concept called the glottal T. Glottal, glottis is kind of a scientific

term for something in your throat.

I don't think I can scientifically explain it, but listen to these words and see if you

can hear my throat stopping the T in the middle of the word.

Listen carefully.

The winner of the International Winter Olympics has gotten an important award on the internet.

There's a lot of Ts in the middle of words.

Let's break down the sentence a little bit.

There are two different ways to have the glottal T. The first one is with an NT, so for example,

the words international, winner, internet, sentence.

In these words, the T is just gone, so here we have an NT usually plus a vow, and you're

going to say sentence.

You can say sentence with a T, it's fine, but you're going to hear native speakers when

we're speaking quickly, you're going to hear us completely cut out that T. Sentence, winner,

international, internet.

The other way to use the glottal T is with words that have a T in the middle, not necessarily

an NT but have a T in the middle sometimes it's the double T, sometimes it's not, for

example the words button, gotten, inner, important.

Do you notice that my throat is stopping that T sound in the middle of the word?

Listen again, button, eaten, gotten, important.

Here my throat is doing some important work here to make that glottal T sound exactly

the way it should.

Before you practice that sample sentence, sentence, again, I want to share what I found

when I was doing a little bit of research about where this glottal T came from.

I found on Wikipedia that it was first mentioned in Scotland in the 1800 and a dialect worker

who was doing some research about different dialects said, "It's considered a lazy habit

and may have been in the dialect for hundreds of years."

So it's possible that Americans got this glottal T from Scotland, possibly, I don't know, but

in any case, it is kind of considered a lazy habit, but Americans have picked up a lot

of that in our natural way of speaking.

Okay, let's go back to that sample sentence and I'm going to say it a couple times, please

say it with me because I'm going to pause and you're going to have to say it all by

yourself.

So let's practice together.

The winner of the International Winter Olympics has gotten an important award on the internet.

Let's say that one more time.

The winner of the International Winter Olympics has gotten an important award on the internet.

Okay, I'm going to pause and I want you to try and say this glottal T all by yourself.

Go ahead.

Great work.

All right, let's go on to the third secret of having an American English accent.

Number three, contractions with will.

There are two ways to pronounce contractions with will.

There is a clear way, and then there's a relaxed way.

Let's look at a quick example.

Let's take the words you will, if we want to make a contraction with this, we could

say Y-O-U apostrophe L-L.

How can we pronounce this?

Well, you could say it in a clear way, you'll.

Do you hear the full word you?

You'll.

Yeah, yeah.

I'm saying you and then, 'll, just the LL at the end.

But what if we want to say this in a relaxed, maybe lazy way?

Well, instead you can say you'll, you'll, you're only saying kind of like Y-U-L-L, you'll,

you'll.

Let's look at another example, this is kind of a crazy sentence, but it uses this concept

a lot.

First, I'm going to say it in the clear way and then we're going to say it in the relaxed

way.

He'll go if you'll go, and they'll go, if we'll go.

In each of these contractions, you heard that full pronoun, he, you, they, we.

But let's look at it when it's relaxed, and this is going to help you sound a little bit

more natural, like an American English speaker.

He'll go if you'll go, and they'll go if we'll go.

In all of these, there's an ll sound.

He'll go if you'll go, and they'll go if we'll go.

I didn't say we'll go, I just said the first letter, W plus U-L-L, we'll.

Let's go through each of the contractions that use will so that you can hear this in

a natural way and in a sentence.

You'll, you'll get the car.

He'll, he'll get the car.

She'll, she'll get the car.

We'll, we'll get the car.

They'll, they'll get the car.

Let's say that sample sentence one more time together, I want you to speak out loud and

then you'll have a chance to say it by yourself.

He'll go if you'll go, and they'll go if we'll go.

He'll go if you'll go, and they'll go if we'll go.

Now it's your turn to say it by yourself.

Go ahead.

Excellent work.

Let's go on to the fourth and final secret of having an American English accent.

Number four is linking the S plus a vowel.

Listen to this sentence.

How's it going?

How's it going?

What about this sentence?

There are cars in the sun.

There are cars in the sun.

Both of these sentences have an S and then a vowel, what happens here?

In each of these words, the S becomes a Z.

How's it going?

There are cars in the sun.

Common words that we use this with are "it", how's it going, and also "in", there are cars

in the sun, that's probably the most common ways that you're going to see this.

So let's take a look at a couple of sentences.

He's in the office, he's in the office, he's in the office.

She goes in the theater, she goes in the theater.

When he complains it gets on my nerves.

When he complains it gets on my nerves.

Do you see how when we link here, it helps you to speak a little more quickly and when

you link it together with a Z, it sounds so natural.

Don't go to the cliffs it's too dangerous.

If we have a pause here, you could just say an S. Don't go to the cliffs, it's too dangerous.

But if you say this quickly, and that's kind of our key here, then you're going to link

it together with a Z.

Don't go to the cliffs it's too dangerous.

Cliffs it's too dangerous.

All right, let's say together those two original sentences, please say it with me.

Use those pronunciation muscles and then I'm going to pause so that you can have a chance

to say it all by yourself.

How's it going?

How's it going?

There are cars in the sun.

There are cars in the sun.

Okay, now it's your turn.

Say it all by yourself.

You've got this.

Great work.

That was a lot of pronunciation practice but before we go, let's do a quick review.

If you'd like to say these sentences out loud with me, please do that, that's the best way

to improve your pronunciation and also just to remember these concepts.

I thought he wouldn't appreciate the plant.

The winner of the International Winter Olympics has gotten an important award on the internet.

He'll go if we'll go, and they'll go if you'll go.

How's it going?

There are cars in the sun.

And now I have a question for you, in the comments, let me know what is something that's

really important to you?

I want you to use this word important because in the middle we have that glottal T import,

and then at the end we have a stopped T important, there's no T that we actually speak at the

end.

So if you can say your sample sentence that you write in the comments out loud, that'll

be beautiful practice.

You can read each other's sentences as well to see what kind of things are important to

people all around the world.

Thank you so much for learning English with me, and I'll see you again next Friday for

a new lesson here on my YouTube channel, bye.

The next step is to download my free ebook "Five Steps To Becoming a Confident English

Speaker."

You'll learn what you need to do to speak confidently and fluently.

Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more free lessons.

Thanks so much.

Bye.

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