Now that you have a set of strategies and, hopefully, an interactive software program, or  “English Talk Shop”,  you can attain better English clarity. Here are some English accent targets.

In the following segments, we will address the primary consonants, vowels and other pronunciation code systems that differ from the North American English [NAE] “Accent”.

Sound Components You Need to Know:

All English consonants and vowels have behavioral components that make up how each sound is made in a very rapid tiny muscle movement sequences.

Consonants have three components. Place: Manner and Voicing

Place:  Where is the sound made in the mouth? For Consonants, there are seven (7) possible places.

Manner: How is it made?

  • [a] With Friction (Fricative):
  • [b] With friction + stopped. (Affricate):
  • [c] With a plosive feature? (Plosive);
  • [d] As a gliding sound / (Glide):
  • [e] Or as a liquid free flowing sound? (Liquid)

Voicing: Ask yourself – For each consonant in English – Is the larynx (voice box) turned on when the sound is said or is it off ?

Vowels of English are made using the voice moving across different select tense or relaxed movements of the tongue and openness of the mouth and jaw.  Other English vowels are blended combination of two single vowels – called diphthongs.

Differences:  With Consonants, we often see that most substitutions are because of voicing and / or place.

Vowel differences between languages are usually in response to:

  • Not having the sound within the that individuals mother 1st language sound system or
  • Difficulty forming the sound around consonants that are not usual sound combinations within the first language.

Yet with differing versions/dialects of many languages, it can be all components that are involved in the substitutions or omissions.

When tired or stressed, muscle groups tend to revert to old learned sequenced sound patterns of movements of the first language.  Even though the vocabulary may be English.


Mandarin: Mainland Standard: Although Mandarin has approximately four “dialects” / versions, it is mutually understood across most of China.

The NAE / English sounds that differ:

NOTE- Spellings are often different.

Phonemes in NAE – English that are not found in Mandarin include the following vowels and consonants:


* /ae/ sound as in “ back” – Common substitution may be an /ah/

* /ai:/ diphthong – long “I” sound as in “lime” — Common substitution may be an /ah/

* /ei:/ diphthong – long “A” sound as in “ grey;” — Common substitution may be an /eh/

* /i:/ long “E” sound as in “green” — Common substitution may be an /ih/

* /eh/ sound as in “Red” — Common substitution may be an /ih/

* /ow/ diphthong – sound as in “Yellow”  — Common substitution may be an /ah/

* /oo/ sound as in “Wood” — Common substitution may be an /uh/

* /ow/ diphthong – sound as in “Brown” — Common substitution may be an /uh/

* /u:/ long “U” sound as in “ “Blue” — Common substitution may be an /ah/

Consonants: There be either final consonant deletions or these substitutions;

* /v/ sound as in “various; river, love”  — Common substitution may be an /f/ or /w/

* /z/ sound as in “ zoo; easy; knees” – Common substitution may be an /s/

* /sh/ sound as in “sheet; social; quiche” — Common substitution may be an /s/

* /zh/ sound as in “ vision; beige” — Common substitution may be an /s/ or /z/

* /ch/ sound as in “ chair; nature; watch” — Common substitutions may be an /ts/:

  • (/ts/  & /dz/ are common sounds in Mandarin)

* /J/ sound as in “jeans; logic; package” — Common substitution may be an /dz/

* /th/ voiceless – sound as in “ thick; healthy; with” — Common substitution may be a /s/ or /f/

* /th/ voiced – sound as in “these; either, smooth” — Common substitution may be a /d/ or /z/

Listen to each word on a pronunciation website such as  You can see the spelling, the simplified pronunciation, the IPA spelling as well as Hear the pronunciation of the sound in the word.   Record your effort – Have Mentor listen – Then record correctly 9 out of 10 times.

It takes practice to override old learning. 

Resolve to do what it takes.   Practice and desire make magic happen.

Hot dog with mustard, relish and onionsSummertime is the time to travel, exploring people, places and culture. Yet, we often hesitate to try the foods that are deeply part of the culture, especially when we are not certain what it is or how to pronounce it.

My German physical therapist in Shanghai entertained me with stories of her adventures exploring the USA – from San Diego to Louisiana to Chicago to New Jersey. In each of these areas, she found the local food at the restaurants and festivals, the most interesting.

Here is some Syllable Stress Practice for a few menu interesting items that Anke found.

In the south she encountered “HOP-pin’ John”, a favorite made with black-eyed peas, rice and crackling fried bacon or ham-hock, seasoned with salt, vinegar and differing spices depending on the exact state. It usually had a side dish of cooked greens, such as CO-llard greens, TURnip greens, kale (KAIL), or Chard (“SHARD”). It was supposed to bring “good luck” to the one who ate it. To round out the meal one usually had HOME-made BU-ttermilk (BU-der-milk) BIScuits (BIS-kits) and HONey: Delicious!

Several Chinese friends went to school in Madison, Wisconsin where they experienced Backyard BAR-B-ques (BAR-Bee-kyuz) that often had BRATs /BRAHTS/ (a type of ground meat sausage) on HARD rolls followed by S’MOREs, a dessert of two sweet graham crackers with a MARSH-Mellow and a chocolate /CHO-Kluht/ piece melted together over the BBQ /BarBeeQu/ fire.

Meander into larger American cities and menus become more diverse with American-styled ‘ethnic foods’ such as Chop SU-ey , Rueben /RU-ben/ /SANwich/, Taco /TAHko/, and Lasagna /la-SAHNG-ya/.

To help you learn the pronunciation of food names, you can refer to the International Menu Speller, by Kenneth N. and Lois E. Anderson (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1993)

Do you want to be able to Communicate Your Brilliance faster?  Let’s talk!  The First 30 Minute Call is FREE.  It may be all that you need.  We will work on a the Your BEST goal first.  Contact me at or call my office at 920-458-2767.