How to Pronounce Juneteenth
Juneteenth falls on June 19th, and is the oldest celebrated holiday to mark the end of slavery in the US.
People often ask me what to do to improve their American English pronunciation or their American accent. While there's no quick fix for doing this, here's one thing you can start doing right away to better understand your speech and begin to improve.
Learn About Your Accent Error Patterns
The reason we have an accent when speaking 2nd and 3rd languages is that our first language acts like a filter on our brain. We have a sound system in our brain that we learned in our first language - not only what sounds are in the language, but the rules for how to use those sounds in words. When we learn new languages, we hear them through the filter of our sound system, and we apply the rules from our first language, even though they aren't always the same in our new languages.
This makes us have accent error patterns in English. For example, many Chinese speakers will have accent errors on the /n/ and /ŋ/ ("n" and "ng") sounds in English, because Chinese has a sound that is in between these two sounds. People from India will have accent errors on W and V sounds because these two sounds can be merged in the Indian English dialect. Spanish speakers will have an accent error on words that begin with sp, st, sk, etc. because the Spanish sound system has a different rule about how /s/ can be combined with another consonant at the start of words.
Once you learn about which accent error patterns you are likely to have in English based on your native language, you can begin to listen for those patterns in your speech. You can focus your practice on words with these patterns, and slowly change to the correct pronunciation in English.
Speech Modification has taken the guesswork out of your accent, by providing free "Accent Overviews" for different native languages. These free downloads show you what to watch out for in your speech, and give you examples of how the accent creates pronunciation errors on words. You can download your free PDF on our store page.
Next, use our free lessons and YouTube videos to begin working on the accent patterns in your speech. Try our online courses to get even more help. Or look into doing some 1:1 training to give you even more specific feedback on your speech patterns.
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