American Accent Training by Ann Cook and published by Barron's provides a self study course that is sure to improve any advanced level student's pronunciation. This course includes a course book and five audio CDs. The book includes all the exercises, quiz material and reference material that are found on the audio CDs. In this way, learners follow their course by reading, listening and repeating materials that are oral in nature, but also provided in print.
The course takes what is termed a 'pure-sound' approach to learning standard American pronunciation. To put it simply, this course focuses on learning the 'music' of English as it spoken in the USA. The stress-timed nature of English is put emphasized with correct intonation, stress and liaison used to develop natural sounding speech patterns. These speech patterns are then combined with specific vowel and consonant patterns in connected speech in exercises which lead to improved, natural American sounding, pronunciation.
Here is a rough overview of how American Accent Training is developed:
- Introduction to American Intonation
This section helps the learner become aware of the music of English as it is spoken in America. Students learn about intonation and liaison.
- Refining your pronunciation - specific pronunciation problems including various vowel and consonant sounds.
- Nationality Guides - these guides help specific nationalities with particular problems arising from their linguistic background. The nationality guides include:
- Periodic diagnostic analysis and continuing review and expansion throughout the package
A Nice Extra Feature
For those studying American Accent Training on their own, a toll-free telephone tutoring number or the website at http://www.americanaccent.com provides a referral to a qualified telephone analyst. The diagnostic analysis is designed to evaluate your speech patterns to let you know where your accent is standard and nonstandard.
American Accent Training is a wonderful package that will surely help those who really want to improve their pronunciation. It is very thorough, and although presented in a light-hearted manner, American Accent Training presents a serious tool for advanced English speakers and ESL students determined to learn to speak with an American accent.
I would highly recommend this package only to learners who live, or want to live, in the United States or Canada. Furthermore, learners should also be advanced level readers to be able to truly take advantage of all this package has to offer. If you are a casual English learner, or interested in English for taking holidays or communicating with other non-native speakers, this package is probably too extensive for you. However, if you DO want to sound like an American, then this package is sure to provide you with all the tools you need.