Why is Speaking American English so difficult?
It is written one way and spoken another.
"Now I enjoy speaking English. Before it was kind of like torture!"
Tamaki Onishi, Fundraiser
"I no longer feel I am misunderstood when speaking English. I owe Lee Kelley a great deal."
P. Fisch, College Student
"Ms Kelley is a very creative instructor who taught an accent reduction course for students at the Graduate
School of Education. [Her] approach proved extremely effective.."
Yuriy Karpov, PhD
Associate Dean, Graduate School of Education
Learn the Speaking Rules: (not found in books, or tapes, or apps)
1. The edges of the mouth relax slightly, so do the cheek muscles, so does the jaw. Don't force the jaw down.
2. The lips don't spread, and the mouth looks more like an oval, not wide and flat.
3. The vowels are never stressed.
4. Beginning consonants are stressed. Not middle ones or ending ones.
5. The littlest words are always shortened, so they connect important words. (ex. the word can sounds like ken or kin.)
6. Long or short groups of words flow on a river of deep, smooth breath from the diaphragm (just above the waist).
Avoid common mistakes:
1. Don't stress every sound or word. That makes English choppy and hard to understand. Stress just one word in each long or short group. No more than one!
2. Think what you want to say and then speak very smoothly. Don't try to put words and sounds together with your tongue. They come together naturally in one place - just above and behind your upper front teeth (where your teeth meet the gums).
Tips for learning.
1. Spend a few minutes a day training your ear. Close your eyes, relax, and listen to American television programs or films. Listen carefully how words are grouped, not just the sounds.
2. Spend a few minutes a day, relax and watch the mouths of speakers. You should see and sense that all the sounds come forward behind the upper, front teeth.
3. Spend a few minutes a day, relax, place the palm of your hand lightly just above your waist. As you listen to speakers, you will feel how they breathe.
The sounds that seem so difficult to say in American English are mainly only difficult, when they do not flow and connect to the other sounds as they should. It is the connections, not the sounds themselves that make Speaking American seem so hard.
A few concepts and a few simple exercises done correctly will allow you to master Speaking American English
Lee Kelley studied Standard American Speech under Louise Eaton, a protegee of legendary teacher Margaret Prendergast McLean. She was trained in voice at Boston Conservatory, and at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, by Dr. Ernesto Vinci, who was an opera singer, a medical doctor, and one of the top voice teachers in Canada .