American English Accent

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1.American english accent is important for foreigners who lived in the US. Since English is considered as the universal language, it is quite natural that many people want to learn how to write, read and speak in English apart from their native language, specially American english accent. Now reading, writing, and speaking in English are easy to develop when a person begins at an early age. This is not a problem for most people.

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American English Accent





1.American english accent is important for  foreigners who lived in the US. Since  English is considered as the universal  language, it is quite natural that many  people want to learn how to write,  read and speak in English apart from  their native language, specially American english  accent. Now reading, writing, and speaking  in English are easy to develop when  a person begins at an early age.  This is not a problem for most people.





Among all accents used in English, many  consider the American English accent as  the standard accent used in formal and  business situations. When you speak with  the American English accent, you sound  more confident and easier to understand.

Like other languages, to learn American  accents has a set of rules that makes  it what it is. It is primarily composed  of intonation, and pronunciation. 

However, these rules are easy to follow  with time and practice. The first thing  that you have to realize is that  you have your native accent with you  and you have to neutralize that if  you want to pick up on the American  English accent.





2. General American (GA), like British Received Pronunciation (RP) and most standard language varieties of many other societies, has never been the accent of the entire nation. However, it has become widely spoken in many American films, TV series, national news and American radio broadcasts.

   The GA accent is most closely related to a generalized Midwestern accent and is spoken particularly by many newscasters.





   GA is sometimes promoted as preferable to other, regional accents. In the United States, classes promising "accent reduction", “accent modification" and "accent neutralization" generally attempt to teach speech patterns similar to this accent.

   GA is also the accent typically taught to people learning English as a second language in the United States, as well as outside the country to anyone who wishes to learn "American English," although in much of Asia and some other places ESL teachers are strongly encouraged to teach American English no matter their own origins or accents.





  3.Although the American accent developed from British English, the unique blend of the languages of other immigrants combined with the circumstances of history have produced the distinct American sound. The American accent is not homogenous.

   A few key linguistic terms are needed to analyze accents. These terms describe the mechanics of speech, and the way that words and letters sound. This is not a definitive list of linguistic features. Rather, this is a quick overview of the most important terms for using this American accent guide.





   To have a better understanding of how accents are formed, it pays to take closer look at linguistics. For example, a consonant is said to be voiced if the larynx vibrates as a part of the production of the consonant’s sound. For example, the “v” sound requires American English speakers to vibrate their voiceboxes. V happens to be a voiced labiodental fricative. What happens if the teeth and lips are held in the same way, but the voicebox is not vibrated? The sound produced is the “f” sound. Many consonants are found in voiced/unvoiced pairs. Letters like b/p, g/k, d/t and z/s are a few examples of the voiced/unvoiced pairs in American English.





   The character of vowels are known as monothongs and dipthongs. A monothong vowel has a single predominant sound and articulation. An example of a monothong is the sound made by the letter “i” in the word “machine.” A dipthong is a vowel sound that begins with one articulation and ends with a second articulation. For example, the “ui” combination in the word “ruin” is a dipthong in standard American English. Sometimes, an American English accent will transform the character of a vowel sound, turning a dipthong into a monothong.





Differences between RP and GA


1.systemic differences (differences in phoneme inventory)


  • - lack of RP monophthong /ɒ/ and diphthongs /ɪə, eə, ʊə/


  • - /ɒ/ > GA /ɑ:/ (‘cod, spot, pocket’, loss of distinction btw ‘bomb x ‘balm’) or /ɔ:/ before a voiceless fricative (‘across, gone, often’)


  • - /ɪə, eə, ʊə/ > GA sequences of vowel + /r/ (‘beard’ /bɪrd/, ‘fare’ /fer/, ‘dour’ /dʊr/)





2. lexical differences (differences of lexical incidence)

  • - RP /ɑ/ > GA /æ/ before a voiceless fricative (‘past, after’)


  • - RP /ɔ:/ > GA /ɔ/ (loss of distinction btw ‘cot’ x ‘caught’)





3.realisational difference (differences in the phonetic realisations of the phonemes)

  • - RP diphthongs /eɪ/ and /əʊ/ > GA monophthongs [e:] and [o:] (‘late’ [le:t], ‘load’ lo:d])


  • - RP /r/ > GA [ɻ] = the tip of the tongue curled further backwards


  • - RP /t/ > GA [ɾ] = voiced tap, in unaccented intervocalic positions (‘better’ ['beɾə], ‘butter, latter’)


  • - RP /l/ > GA [ł], i.e. dark (in all positions)





4. distributional difference (the same system but: limitation of the phonetic context for certain phonemes)


  • - RP /ɑ:/ > GA /æ/ + /r/ in words spelled with the vowel letter + (‘car, card, large’)


  • - RP /з:/ > GA r-coloured vowel [ɝ] in words spelled with vowel letter + (‘bird, farm, lord’)


  • - RP /ɔ:/ > GA /ɔ/ + /r/ in words spelled with vowel letter + (‘horse, cord, war’)





  • - RP [aɪ] + [ł] > GA [aɪ] + syllabic [ł̩ ] (‘fertile, futile, missile, reptile’)


  • - RP /ɹ/ > GA syllabic [ɹ ̩ ] when word final after a consonant (‘razor’ ['reɪzɹ ̩ ], ‘hammer’ ['hæmɹ ̩ ] , ‘tailor’ ['teɪlɹ ̩ ])


  • - RP /j/ + /u:/ after /t, d/ > GA /u:/ (‘tune, dune, duty’)





So, as we see there are many differences  between the American english accent (GA) and the Britain

english accent (RP).

  But the American and British English difference doesn't prevent us from understanding one another. Unless, of course, you happen to be British or American and find yourself speaking to the other.






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