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November 27, 2019

Hi friends! Every week, I generate a quick brief about 5 interests for the week relating to accent mo
November 27, 2019
By Kristopher Wan • Issue #34 • View online
Hi friends! Every week, I generate a quick brief about 5 interests for the week relating to accent modification and English learning. If you have a few minutes on your commute to work or lunch break and want to consume some interesting content in the world of English learning, enjoy!

🧠 Journal Club
There are a variety of nuanced aspects to English communication that impact how native one sounds. Kerr (2000) discusses the impacts of anterior resonance or posterior resonance and how English sounds are more anterior. English sounds bounce off the teeth and the hard roof of your mouth. Posterior resonance can sound more muffled because sounds are bouncing off softer tissues in your mouth like the bunching of the tongue or soft roof of your mouth further back.
Kerr outlines a 12 session program that focuses on teaching English sound resonance by changing the focus of resonance towards the front of the mouth. By focusing on the front of the mouth, the lips, the teeth, the nose and the vibrations of these structures, a forward focus can help shape a more English-oriented mouth shape.
Check out the article for more details if you are interested!
💬 Thoughtful Quote
“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”
Being able to communicate in a native English accent does not mean that you become fearless when communicating. As a native English speaker, I continue to deal with stage fright, stumble over my words and need to practice my delivery.
Communicating effectively still requires practice, dedication, and self-reflection. The point of accent modification is to figure out how to improve your communication skills to realize what skills are needed for clear communication - some of them being slight tweaks in the sounds you produce to align more with listener expectations.
📖 Vocabulary Word
Woman and Women
woman (singular) women (plural)
the female human being, as distinguished from a girl or a man.
Now I know that woman/women is probably not a new word for you. What I need to focus your attention on is the vowels
woman and women
The ‘man’ is woman is NOT pronounced like 'man’ in man. The 'wo’ in woman and women are different. Do not rely on the spelling of a word to reliably predict the pronunciation of a word. In English, spelling does not consistently reflect the word’s pronunciation.
Only by recognizing this can you start the journey of paying attention to how words are pronounced, not spelled.
💎 Tech Finds
The IPA Chart
Not exactly a cutting edge tech find, but a foundational information site for the international phonetic alphabet – a critical aspect of sound production.
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is the sound/symbol map that you need in your life. English language learners always have a hard time learning English pronunciation because the letters don’t always make the same sound.
The ‘o’ sound in woman is NOT the same 'o’ sound in clock.
The 'i’ sound in fire is NOT the same 'i’ sound in bin
The 'a’ in fan is NOT the same 'a’ sound in bar
By accurately understanding, visualizing and knowing of the existence of a consistent map for sounds to written symbols, you can learn how to ALWAYS pronounce the sounds correctly - even for other languages.
The IPA Chart


❌ Message Mishap
Intonation is a huge part of English communication and it has nothing to do with whether your lip, tongue or jaw shape is correct.
Depending on whether there is a rising or falling pitch change at the end of your sentence can determine whether you sound uncertain, are asking a question, said a statement or sound confident.
Being aware and in control of HOW you speak allows you to control how you want the interaction to happen. Do you want the listener to respond? Do you want the listener to provide their opinion? Do you want to communicate that something is factual and not an opinion?
All of these things can be communicated through intonation.
Imagine your boss asking you if you can complete a project.
Because of your rising intonation, he hears, “Yes I can?”
If it sounds like a question, your boss cannot be confident you can do the job. He may understand the words you said but the intonation pattern communicates uncertainty and does not instill confidence.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Kristopher Wan

Hey friends, I'm Kris, a speech-language pathologist interested in and pursuing a side-hustle in accent modification. Every Wednesday I send out a "5-bullet brief" email newsletter with some thoughts, research and internet treasures relating to accent modification and English language learning.

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