Accent Reduction and Communication Skills Training
Common Mispronunciations for Chinese Speakers
Because your native language is Chinese, some of the sounds that you are most likely having difficulty pronouncing include the following:
1. The “l” may sound like “oh” at the ends of words You are most likely pronouncing the “l” sound correctly at the beginning and in the middle of words, such as “lake” and “balloon.”Pronouncing the “l” sound at the ends of words can be particularly challenging.
You may be putting your lips in a circle and saying "oh" for this sound. In American English, the "l" is formed by keeping your lips flat and putting the tip of the tongue behind the upper front teeth. The word “pail” will sound like “pay-oh”. The word “ball” will sound like “baw-oh”
2. The “n” sound may sound like “l” at the beginning and middle of words. The “n” and “l” sounds are made basically in the same place in the mouth. From the pictures on the right you can see that they look very similar.
To say these sounds, place the tip of your tongue just behind your upper front teeth. The difference is this: the “n” sound stays on this spot and you actually use more of your tongue to hold the “n” in place. The “l” sound uses just the tip of your tongue and gently release your it from this spot. Notice that your mouth needs to be open a little wider to pronounce "l."
he word “no” will sound like “low”
The word “pronounce” will sound like “prolounce” 3. The “ih sound is often pronounced like “ee” These sounds are both made with the front of the tongue and are often difficult to distinguish.
Right now, you are most likely pronouncing "ih" like "ee." This is because are tensing your tongue and your mouth. What happens is that your tongue ends up very high in your mouth, so that the sides of your tongue are pressing against your upper side teeth.
To pronounce the “ih” sound, your mouth should feel relaxed and your lips should be flat.Your tongue should be raised about half way up inside your mouth and should not be pressing against your upper side teeth.
The word “sit” will sound like “seat" The word “pill” will sound like “pee-oh"
"l" sound "oh" sound
Keep your lips flat and place your tongue tip just behind your upper front teeth
If you round your lips and keep your tongue down, you will create the "oh" sound instead.
"n" sound "l" sound
Your tongue tip goes behind your teeth. Feel your tongue touch the sides of your teeth, as well
If you use only the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth and let the rest of your tongue hang down, you will create the "l" sound instead. You must feel the front of your tongue pressing against your side teeth.
"ih" sound "ee" sound
Keep your lips and tongue relaxed. Raise your tongue half way up inside your mouth.
If your tongue is high in your mouth and you can feel it pressing against your upper side teeth, you will create the "ee" sound instead.