American Accent Reduction for Chinese — get fast changes

If you speak Chinese (or any other Asian language) your challenge is to speak English in such a way that you are understood both in person and especially on the phone.
1. Make a conscious effort every day to concentrate on speaking carefully when you talk on the phone. This is a great place to practice speaking because no one can watch you.
2. Speak s l o w l y  at first– you will not sound dumb. People won’t notice you’re not speaking fast and they’ll understand you without having to ask you to repeat yourself. Later on you can speak at your normal rate.
3. Enunciate. Take the time to speak ALL the letters of the word – especially if they are at the beginning and end of a word. This will make a big difference.

4. Watch out for the letter /s/ at the end of words. You need to say the sound, otherwise what you say can be unclear. English differentiates between singular and plural nouns and it gives listeners a clue what your conversation is about if you use plurals.
5. Avoid slang when you can since it can often be used incorrectly or sounds strange when you say it with an accent. The mistakes you might make can be embarrassing to you. Other people won’t really care but maybe you will.
6. Don’t speak through your teeth. Open your mouth so American English sounds can come out. If you talk through your teeth, it’s impossible to understand you.
7. Do put your tongue between your teeth when you say a word with a /th/ in it, as in /thin/, /there/, /this/, etc. The sound /d/ for /th/ doesn’t sound good, that’s how small children speak in the US when they first learn English.
8. Avoid nasal sounds, i.e., speaking through your nose. English sounds are more towards the front of the mouth and not in the nasal cavity.
9. Don’t repeat your words more than once when you want to make sure people understand you . It is better to rephrase your sentence.
10. People are very tolerant in the US and in Silicon Valley and they’ll usually make an effort to understand you. Even so, take the time to practice and you’ll improve.

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