Accent Reduction and Communication Skills Training
Common Mispronunciations for Indian Speakers
If you are from India, you are most likely having difficulties with several American sounds. Here are a few for you to practice that may be particularly challenging.
1. The “r” sound is rolled The Indian “r” is very different from the American “r” sound.In your native language, you pronounce it by what we call “rolling” it.This means that you lightly place the tip of your tongue just behind your upper front teeth so that it hits it quickly.
To pronounce the American English “r” sound, begin by making a slight circle with your lips.As you do this, you will feel your lower jaw automatically push forward a bit.Then, pull your tongue high in the back of your mouth.It is actually the middle of your tongue that is high in your mouth.You should feel the tip of your otngue curl up toward the roof of your mouth. Make sure that it does not touch the roof of your mouth or curl back toward your throat. Try saying “er” to make the “r” sound.
2. The “t” and “d” sounds are pronounced with the tongue too far back in the mouth You are most likely pronouncing the “t” and “d” sounds with your tongue tip curled and placed too far back in your mouth. This creates a “heavier” sound than the American English “t” and “d” sounds. The “d” sound will sound thicker or heavier, while the “t” sound will sound similar to the American English “d.”
The American English "t" and "d" sounds are both formed by placing the tip of the tongue behind your upper front teeth, but not touching them. The tongue tip should not curl back and should not go behind area just behind the upper front teeth. Using just the tip of the tongue makes the sounds lighter. Begin by placing the tip of your tongue behind your teeth, hold your breath, then force the sound out.
The only difference between the "t" and "d" sounds is in what we call "voicing." Your vocal cords in your throat make your voice; when you talk they vibrate, and when you breathe out, they don't.
When you say the "t" sound, you don't use your voice. This means that you are only pushing air out because your vocal cords in your throat are not vibrating. If you place your hand on your throat when you say the "t" sound, you should not feel any vibratioin and you should not hear your voice. The only thing you should hear is a puff of air as you force out the "t" sound.
The "d" sound uses your voice. If you place your hand on your throat when you say this sound, you will feel it vibrate.
The word “to” will sound like “do” The word “tell” will sound like “dell”
3. The voiced “th” sound is usually pronounced like “d” Because there is no “th” sound in your native language, this may feel very awkward to pronounce.
To form the voiced "th" sound in American English, stick out your tongue so that your upper front teeth rest on it very gently. This sound must be continued, which means that you will need to keep your tongue and upper front teeth touching while you say it. Try not to open your mouth and separate your tongue and teeth. This will be the hardest part. You use your voice to say this sound, which means that if you place your hand on your throat when you say it, you should feel your vocal cords vibrate. You will also hear your voice.
The word “the” may sound like “duh.” The word “that” may sound like “dat.”
Round your lips slightly and feel your lower jaw move slightly forward.
Here's the tricky part. Pull your tongue high in the back of your mouth. Your tongue tip curls up but cannot touch the roof of your mouth.
"d" sound "t" sound
Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth. Make sure it is not curled back in your mouth. Use your voice and force out the sound.
Form the "t" the same way as the "d" only do not use your voice. You should hear a puff of air when yo usay this sound.
voiced "th" sound "d" sound
You must stick out your tongue and keep your upper teeth and tongue touching lightly. Use your voice and continue the sound. You should feel your tongue vibrate.
If you keep your tongue tip behind your teeth and release it quickly, you form the "d" sound instead.