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Overview

This is a complete guide to help you improve your English pronunciation. While we primarily focus on the American accent, we have covered other popular English accents like the British accent and Australian accent, so you can sound like a native English speaker.

More importantly, we have focused on many pronunciation patterns and exercises that are universally important, regardless of your accent.

Completing this course will help you:

Who is the course for?

Unlike other English learning materials, this English pronunciation course is not level-specific and can benefit learners of all level. 

You may use this take this course on your own, but we strongly recommend that you use this course together with SpeakUp, so you can practice what you learned live with a native speaker and receive effective feedback. 

Table of contents

If you want a crash course on English pronunciation and different accents, start from here from top to bottom. You will learn basic English pronunciation rules, the fundamentals of American and British accents, and perfect all 44 sounds (phonemes), which are critical building blocks for improving your English pronunciation.

Intro to Pronunciation Rules 

Dialect vs. Accent 

Phonemes and an interactive Phonemic Chart 

Intro to the American Accent 

Intro to the British Accent  

Intro to the Australian Accent 

Intro to the Southern US Accent

English pronunciation is like music composition. You have to figure out how and when to use volume, pace, pitch (intonation) and emphasis (stress) to create a pleasing sound. In this section, you will learn important word stress patterns, sentence stress rules, and definitions and examples of commonly confused words called heteronyms.

Intro to intonation and syllable Stress 

Syllable Stress in heteronyms 

Sentence stress in English 

Remember how word stress has everything to do with vowels in a word? We are diving into all 15 vowel sounds here in this section. Meanwhile, you will also learn how the schwa sound and r-controlled vowels work. These two modules will surely improve your English pronunciation and make you sound like a native speaker. To top it all off, you will practice vowel pronunciations with a minimal pairs exercise.

As a bonus, you’ll also learn how these vowel sounds are treated differently when you have an American accent vs when you have a British accent. 

Short Vowels & long vowels

Other vowels 

The SCHWA – /ə/ 

R-controlled vowels 

Minimal pairs with Vowels – The Common Mixups 

Vowels in heteronyms

In this section, we’ll examine a subset of the 15 vowel sounds we’ve introduced. This subset is called diphthongs, where all sounds are made of two vowel sounds. Again, we’ll look at how a British accent and an American accent deal with diphthongs differently. 

Introduction To Diphthongs

/ɔɪ/ (Choice/Voice/Noise)

/eɪ/ (Face/Make/Cake)

/aɪ/ (Rice/Die/Bike)

/oʊ/ (No, Low,Go)

/aʊ/ (Out/Cow/South)

/eə/ (Bear, Square, Mare) (British English) 

/ɪə/ (Ear/Here/Near) (British English)

Consonants can easily get in the way of your flow of speech and cause misunderstandings if you don’t pronounce them properly. We’ll start with an overview of all consonant sounds including consonant clusters, move on to tackle the most challenging consonants, and end with another round of minimal pairs exercise. 

Voiced and voiceless consonants 

Stops and continuants 

Consonant Blends (2 & 3-letter blends) 

The Most Challenging Sounds

The “American R” (Rhotic /r/)

The Many Sounds of /t/   

/θ/ and /ð/ (TH sounds) 

Minimal Pairs: Commonly Confused Consonants

/v/ vs. /b/ and /w/

/ʤ/, /ʧ/ and /j/

/s/ and /z/

/ʃ/ and /ʧ/

/ŋ/ sound (vs. /nk/ & /n/) 

In this section, you will learn how words are connected together, a concept called connected speech, so that your speech sounds smoother, more natural and more fluent. We’ll also explain which words you should reduce and how to reduce them. 

Linking (When sounds are connected) 

Intrusive Sounds (When sounds are added) 

Elision in Words (Removing Sounds)

Assimilation (When sounds change) 

People from different regions tend to make different types of pronunciation mistakes, quite often influenced by their mother tongue. Today we’ll look at some of the most represented languages and regions in the world, and correspondingly, the type of sounds people from these backgrounds tend to struggle with.

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