Accent Reduction: Secrets of English Pronunciation for Koreans, part 1
I am an accent reduction specialist, and I am going to give away some secrets of English pronunciation for Koreans learning English. There are some common mistakes that almost all Koreans make, and it is because of the differences between the Korean and English languages. Once you understand these differences, you’ll be on your way to clearer speech and less frustration when speaking English.
Secret #1: You must understand the difference between voiced and unvoiced sounds.
K and G are almost the same sound, but G uses voice and K does not. What do I mean? Put your hand on your throat and say “ahh” Feel the vibration? Your voice is on. Now say k-k-k-k. You should not feel vibration. Now try saying g-g-g-g-g. You should feel the vibration again. This voicing is the only difference between the word coat (a piece of clothing) and the word goat (an animal).
Secret #2: You must learn to hear the difference between the f, v, b, and p sound.
This is a difficult concept for many Koreans because the f and v don’t really exist in your native language, and the b and p are often interchangeable. However, in English each of these sounds is distinct, and using the wrong sound can easily change the whole meaning of a word. Here is a very simple example:
fan – something that blows air to cool you off
van – a vehicle you can drive
ban – to prohibit or not allow something
pan – a cooking utensil
The only difference in each of these words is the first letter, but it completely changes the meaning of the word. So, you can see how easily an English speaker would be confused if you substituted one of these sounds for another.
The difference in these sounds is in the lip and teeth placement, and also in the voicing, like we talked about earlier.
F and V are both produced by putting the top teeth on the lower lip and blowing. The V uses voicing and the F does not.
B and P are both produced by pushing the lips together and releasing. The B uses voicing and the P does not.
Try saying the words fan, van, ban, and pan. When you master the four sounds, each of those words will sound different.
Now you know some of my secrets. I hope they help you with your English pronunciation. If you are still having trouble, contact an accent reduction specialist, who will work with you on exactly what you need. For the ultimate convenience, look for someone who offers private lessons via webcam. These classes can be scheduled at your convenience and in the privacy of your home or office. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
Why don’t you take my free online speech and accent screening at www.losemyaccent.com? It only takes a few minutes, and you will get free tips on how to improve your communication skills.
Lisa Scott is a nationally certified speech pathologist who specializes in accent reduction training. Great communication is vital to a productive life, and Lisa is passionate about helping you increase your productivity by removing communication barriers. She offers a free online speech screening and follow-up phone call to determine if her classes will benefit you. If you are tired of being misunderstood and are ready for a change, please visit www.losemyaccent.com.