If people struggle to understand you when you speak English, you may want to focus on learning how to pronounce English words like an American. While you may never be able to speak like a true American, there are many different methods that you can use to improve your accent to adapt to American ways of speaking. 

Below, discover five strategies to speak more like an American. 

1. Students Attending English School Can Study Contractions to Speak Like an American 

Americans use plenty of contractions in their everyday speech. One of the ways that students attending English school can improve their pronunciation is by mastering the many different contractions used in American English. A contraction is a word that combines two words through the use of an apostrophe (‘). For example, instead of saying “is not” try “isn’t,” and instead of “ I will,” use “I’ll.” Swapping out certain words for the appropriate contraction will not only make your speech sound more American, but will also help you to better understand what American English speakers are saying. 

Learning contractions can help you speak more like an American

2. Practice Your “Rs” and “Ls”

When it comes to pronunciation, learning how certain letters are spoken in American English can help you to sound more like an American. The American “R” is unique, as Americans typically put more emphasis on the “R” when speaking English. Additionally, it’s important to learn the difference between “R” and “L.” In many languages around the world, these letters have similar sounds, or these sounds don’t exist to begin with. Practicing words with “R” and “L” sounds will improve your ability to speak like an American, and this can be done by watching videos of American English speakers using words with “Rs” and “Ls.” Repeat the pronunciation you hear in order to properly master the sound of these letters.

3. Learn Common American Idioms

An idiom is a common “slang” word or expression that’s unique to a certain language. It’s often difficult to directly translate idioms into another language, as they are part of the dialect of a certain country or region. Americans use many different idioms, and becoming familiar with them will help you to sound more like an American when you speak English. Expressions such as “hit the books” (to study) or “up in the air” ( when something hasn’t been decided) are  common idioms that Americans use. Using a resource such as a dictionary of American Idioms or taking an English speaking course will help you to compile a list of idioms and learn their meaning in order to use them in conversation.

Using American idioms is a great way to sound more like a native speaker

4. Work on Your Intonation

Intonation refers to the rise and fall of a person’s voice when they speak a language. Try noticing the emphasis that Americans put on certain words when they speak. Do the words that they stress change when they are arguing versus when they’re explaining something? Working to improve your intonation through plenty of practice will help you to sound more like an American when you speak.

5. Use American Television to Learn Accents

This might sound obvious, but a great strategy for improving your pronunciation of American English is to watch American television and movies. If you truly want to learn, don’t just stare at the screen – pause what you’re watching at different intervals and repeat what the actor has said. By mimicking their dialogue, you’ll become more comfortable using an American accent, and you can incorporate what you’ve learned into your everyday speech.

ESL lessons can help you to speak English like an American.

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