What is the surprising “A” factor , and how does it take your accent reduction to the next level?
After you have worked on the more obvious elements of accent reduction such as grappling with the /r/ sound, the ‘th’ sounds, pronunciation of vowels and stress timing and rhythm in English, you may want to take your pronunciation and speech clarity to the next level.
I recently had an email from a client who wanted to have a coaching lesson with me to take his English pronunciation to a higher level and fine tune it. One of the things he was surprised to learn about is what I call the “A” factor.
Accent Reduction. The Surprising “A” factor
There are a group of English words that begin with an ‘A’ in which the ‘A’ says the schwa sound /ə /. The words are all at least 2 syllables long, the first syllable is the ‘A’, and it is a de-stressed or weak syllable. If your background language is a syllable timed language where every vowel in every syllable is said as a stressed vowel, you will need to consciously de-stress the initial ‘A’ in these words.
I have created an audio lesson for you below so you can hear how to pronounce these words with the schwa sound.
“A” Factor words
again, away, award, alike, around, agreed, avail, appear, achievement, adjust, alive, amazing, against
Don’t do it again.
They went away.
His award was long overdue.
They look so alike.
Turn around at the next corner.
They agreed to go ahead with the deal.
Their efforts were to no avail.
It doesn’t appear to be broken.
Finishing the project was a great achievement.
Can you adjust the strap please?
He was grateful for being alive.
She ran with amazing speed.
He leaned against the fence.
Best wishes, Esther