• How are you today?

    In American English, unstressed syllables are usually shorter than stressed syllables. Because unstressed syllables are said more quickly and less precisely, the vowel sound in these syllables is usually reduced to a more neutral sound known as the “schwa”. The schwa is pronounced “uh”, as in the word “a” (e.g., a book). It’s the most […]

  • Fireworks

    Do you like fireworks on Independence Day? July fourth is Independence Day in the U.S. and fireworks are often displayed. The word “fireworks” is an example of how spelling does not determine pronunciation in English. “Work” is pronounced with a different vowel sound than the word “fork”, even though they are spelled the same. The […]

  • Surf the In(t)ernet

    In American English, when the “t” sound comes after the “n” sound, it is often not pronounced. This is called a silent “t”. The word “Internet” is often spoken as “Innernet”. The silent “t” is especially common in phrases (such as “San(t)a Claus”), contractions (such as “didn(‘t) it”), and verbs (such as “wan(t)ed”).

  • Father’s Day

    Did you honor your father on Father’s Day? The “ah” vowel sound in “father” is the same sound as in “honor”. The key is to NOT round your lips as you would do for the British variant of this sound. This “ah” is a common sound and is often spelled with the letter “o”, so […]

  • Pick UP vs PICKup

    Words or syllables that are stressed in American English are said with higher pitch (the tone of your voice goes higher). A compound verb, or 2-word verb phrase, (such as “pick up”) is stressed on the second word; whereas a compound noun (such as “pickup”) is stressed on the first base word. To “pick up” […]