Free English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Lessons
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Saturday November 22nd, 2008
The focus of today's lesson is:
Developing a clear distinction between / ə / and /a/:
Many students of English often subsistute /a/ for /ə/ because /ə/ doesn't exist in their native language.
** I strongly recommend that you listen to podcast #10 (introduction to schwa, /ə/) ,before using this podcast.
Difference in tongue positons between /ə/ and /a/:
To produce /ə/:
Tongue : relaxed, central, neutral.
To produce /a/:
Tongue: low and back. Back portion is pushed back, front is flat.
Exercise:Alternate between /ə/ and /a/ . Begin in a relaxed neutral postion, then slide your tongue backa little and lower your jaw. Listen and repeat:
1. /ə/... /a/
2. /a/ ... /ə /
If hearing and saying the difffrence is difficult for you, you should know that you're not alone. This distinction is considerd to be one of the most difficult in the English sound system. Even my most talented private students here in NEw York City, often have to work very hard to master this distinction.
Exercise: Listen and repeat the following pair of words , paying careful attention to the difference in vowel sound:
Improving your pronunciation and reducing your accent is all about reviewing and practicing regularly. The more you practice regularly, the easier it will become to say the sounds distinctly and correctly.
It's important to have good tools to practice with. I recommend Best Accent Training mp3s!
Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you and see you next time!
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