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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    accent check

    Hi all, i have been working hard trying to improve my accent, i've recorded this short passage, please help me to spot any problem

    Thanks!!

    http://vocaroo.com/i/s1b8uWRiFk5C
    Last edited by tawsgo; 31-May-2015 at 04:01.

  2. Eckaslike's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: accent check

    (Not a Teacher. But a first language Englishman)

    Very good I can understand the majority of what you read and it sounds pretty natural. I found a transcript of what you read

    "Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station".

    I have underlined those few areas which I couldn't really understand that well. As you can see there aren't that many. Focus on improving these now and it will help you greatly as you learn.

    With the words "call", "Stella" and "also" the thing to do is not to rush them. I would say practice them at home by emphasising the "l" sound even if it sounds silly. That way when you use it in normal speech you won't try to emphasise it, hopefully it should just become more clear and natural sounding.

    For the word "these" you start the word fine, but it sort of trails off. You pronouce the word "peas" well. "These" should rhyme exactly with "peas" so just combine the two sounds "th" and "eas" together and you should be making a good sounding "these".

    Finally, for the word "bags", you just need to add the same ending that you used on the word "peas". So just use the sound after the "ee" sound and tack it on to to the word "bag" which you pronounce well. The sound is a standard BrE "z" and both BrE and AmE use it to start the word "Zuchini" it should not be like the AmE "Zee" sound. Add the sound to the end of what sounds like "bag" at the moment. Make the "z" sound quickly so that the word flows without a break. Again when practicising at home you can over emphasise some of these sounds so that when you use them properly you won't have to emphasise them and they'll flow well.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Eckaslike; 04-Jul-2015 at 10:01.

  3. Newbie
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    #3

    Re: accent check

    Hi, thanks for the tips. The things you've pointed out is something i've been trying to work on.
    how do i sound now?
    http://vocaroo.com/i/s0WEAnAjysNk

    thanks again!

  4. Eckaslike's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: accent check

    Hi tawsgo,

    Well done! That is much better. I was able to understand everything you said that time, with no problems.

    I can tell you have put a lot of effort into practicing those sounds because, to me, they now sound much clearer and more natural.

    A first class effort!

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: accent check

    Quote Originally Posted by tawsgo View Post
    Hi all. I have been working hard trying to improve my accent. I've recorded this short passage. Please help me to spot any problems.

    Thanks. !!
    See my amendments above. Always capitalise the word "I". Do not join separate sentences with a comma. End every sentence with a single, appropriate punctuation mark.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. Newbie
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    #6

    Re: accent check

    Hi, Eskaslike

    Thanks again for the feedback. What do you mean by sounding natural? Do you mean that my speech flows well? I'd like to know what else I can do to get closer to native.


    emsr2d2, I know the grammar, but I usually let spell checker take care of it. It's more of a habit that I don't hold shift with letter i. I do have problems with plural and the article. Thanks for corrections.

  7. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: accent check

    Quote Originally Posted by tawsgo View Post
    emsr2d2, I know the grammar (no comma required here) but I usually let a/the spellchecker take care of it. It's more of a habit that I don't hold down shift with the letter "i". I do have problems with the plural and the articles. Thanks for the corrections.
    Spellcheckers are notoriously unreliable when it comes to grammar so you need to do the hard work. You'll just need to get used to holding down the Shift key when writing the first person singular, "I".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  8. Eckaslike's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: accent check

    Quote Originally Posted by tawsgo View Post
    Hi, Eskaslike

    Thanks again for the feedback. What do you mean by sounding natural? Do you mean that my speech flows well? I'd like to know what else I can do to get closer to native.
    Yes, I definitely mean your speech flows well. "Sounding natural", means that you sound more like a native English speaker.

    1) In my experience, the way to improve anything you are trying to learn is, to concentrate more upon the things you either can't do, or don't do well, and less on the things you already know, or can do well. (i.e. In this instance, practise letters, words, or phrases which you find, or know that Chinese learners find, difficult).

    This can also apply to the reading, writing, or speaking English. If you have more difficulty speaking it, than reading or writing, then focus more on that aspect.

    The greatest improvement can only, and therefore will always, come from practising what you find the hardest.


    2) When we learned English as children, we used to learn the difficult sounds in words, or combinations of words, by using "tounge twisters". These are a type of word game, usually played by children but, whatever your age, they will help your speed, fluency, and intelligibility, as they get you to focus on making the right sounds quickly. Practicising them a lot, although sounding silly at the time, will help you to sound much more natural when speaking later.

    The one I always remember is:
    "Betty Botter bought a bit of butter, but she said, "This butter's bitter, if I put this bitter bit of butter in my batter, it will make my batter bitter!". First language English speakers find this difficult to say quickly, which is why it is good for learners to use.

    Similarly; "How much wood would a wood-chopper chop, if a wood-chopper could chop wood" This is the BrE variation.

    You will frequently see the AmE variation as, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood". The reason why it isn't generally used in BrE is because British people wouldn't really understand what a "woodchuck" is.

    In BrE a "wood-chopper" is an informal, or colloquial way of saying "lumber jack". The reason it is used is to make the speaker have to vary they way they say the different "o" sounds found in the sentence.


    The BrE version may not work in AmE, possibly because they may just think more that a "wood-chopper" is an axe, and so for them it possibly doesn't work. They will understand what a "woodchuck" is, which is why they use it in their version.

    Remember these are fun, and may deliberately contain bits of poor grammar, or funny words in order to make them so. They are good for practicising sounds quickly and properly, and as a bit of learning fun.

    3) What type of variation of English do you need, or want, to learn? If you want to speak, or mainly deal with Americans, then focus more on their ways. If you want to learn to become more like an Australian, then use theirs. The same is true if you wish to use British English. Overall, the variations are not that great, because we all understand each other, for the vast majority of the time! But try to learn from all first language English speakers, because it will help you understand why different words and phrases are used by different people from around the world. But as I have said, focus on the variation of English which you need, or wish, to use.

    This web page is good because it contains a simple story called "Arthur the Rat" which contains all the sounds found in the English language. http://ask.metafilter.com/25526/Sent...nglish-phoneme. I note that, further down the same page, someone has pasted a link to "Please Call Stella", so you may have already found "Arthur the Rat".

    However, I think this is useful because it gives you the text, and also the link to these audio files read by first language users from all the English speaking areas in the world. http://alt-usage-english.org/audio_archive.shtml#Arthur (For me, the MP3 files work). So, you can chose the story in the regional variation of the language on which you wish to focus.

    When speaking this story, note where you stumble or have difficulty with the words, especially if the difficulty persists after quite a few readings. These are the words or sounds to focus on, in order to improve.


    4) Connected to 3) above: Find, if you can, on the internet, television or film, an English speaker that you like, and who you know speaks very well in the English regional variation you are trying to emulate. They may not be infallible, but generally aim to mimic them as closely as you can. After all, this is what all children do in any language, by trying to copy their parent's speech. That is why, with practise, they end up as natural sounding speakers.


    5) Try, always, to know and maintain a distinction between formal and informal English and when to use them. This is true when writing, or speaking. It will reap rewards. Firstly focus on the formal, or at least semi-formal version. This is because it will help you gain an understanding of usage.

    I think that is quite a lot to think about, but hopefully, some of it will be useful to you.
    Last edited by Eckaslike; 12-Jul-2015 at 01:47. Reason: Editing typos and punctuation.

  9. Newbie
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    #9

    Re: accent check

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Spellcheckers are notoriously unreliable when it comes to grammar so you need to do the hard work. You'll just need to get used to holding down the Shift key when writing the first person singular, "I".
    I'm aware of my grammar not being perfect and having issue with phrasing but I never realize they were that bad until you pointed it out. My American co-worker once told us (non-native speakers) how bad grammars made him cringe whenever he saw them on presentation slides. He just tried his best to ignore it as he knew it was a lost cause. It's not easy as an adult learner because you need to unlearn what you are so accustom to by breaking the habit. I'm not using that as an excuse for not improving my English of course, otherwise, I wouldn't be here.

    Eskaslike, Thanks for the tips.

    When i compare myself to the native speakers, the biggest difference i heard right now is the intonation and the linking between words. I will practice with tongue twisters since i find myself run into trouble with certain word combinations.
    I have been practicing with audio files. I didn't know "Arthur the Rat". I will move on to that next. Thanks again!

  10. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: accent check

    Quote Originally Posted by tawsgo View Post
    I'm aware of my grammar not being perfect and of having issues with phrasing but I never realized they were that bad until you pointed it out. My American co-worker once told us (non-native speakers) how bad grammars ​grammar made him cringe whenever he saw them it on presentation slides. He just tried his best to ignore it as he knew it was a lost cause. It's not easy as an adult learner because you need to unlearn what you are so accustomed to by breaking the habit. I'm not using that as an excuse for not improving my English of course, otherwise (no comma here) I wouldn't be here.

    Eskaslike, thanks for the tips.

    When I compare myself to the native speakers, the biggest difference I heard hear right now is the intonation and the linking between words. I will practice with tongue twisters since I find myself running into trouble with certain word combinations.
    I have been practicing with audio files. I didn't know "Arthur the Rat". I will move on to that next. Thanks again!
    See amendments above, in red.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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