Why is Speaking American English so difficult?
"...our accursed system of spelling...
which the sense of hearing suffices to contradict."
Lord Lytton, The American Encyclopedia
To put it simply. English is written one way and spoken another.
The Speaking Rules:
1. The edges of the mouth slightly relax, and so do the cheek muscles.
2. So, the jaw drops, the lips don't spread, and the mouth looks 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. Groups of words change constantly from long or short, or in between.
6. The littlest words are always shortened and are connectors of groups of words.
7. The groups 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. Speak 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 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.
"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
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 .
Lee teaches the rhythm of American English to a Russian Engineer.