Lose your accent! English vowel /æ/ “short a”

He's getting there!
He’s getting there!

You can sound like a native.

The vowel “short a” requires special work by English learners, because /æ/ is articulated so much like /a/ and /ɛ/. In this video I contrast these sounds in similar words.

  • bat, bought, bet
  • cat, caught
  • dad, dot, dead
  • hat, hot, head

As usual I talk specifically about the tongue and lip position, as well as the jaw, so that you can feel and see the sound, in addition to hearing it.

Even though speaking with a foreign accent seems like a normal state, you can learn how to make the sounds that sound easy in the mouths of natives. This video series increases your awareness of all the parts of your mouth you use for speaking. A language never felt so good!

Dr. Thomas Coates blew my mind. He taught me how my tongue, lips, jaw, and teeth create language. Like a Chinese calligrapher learns how each finger holds a brush, like a yogi breathes with specific depth and stretch of her diaphragm, I took the first steps towards mastering language: losing my accent.

Enjoy!

Lose your accent! English “L”

Place your tongue correctly for the different English L's
Place your tongue correctly for the different English L’s

You can sound like a native.

English has different ways of pronouncing “L”, especially in the US. Generally at the beginning of syllables the tip of the tongue goes up, what we call a “light L.” At the end of syllables, the tip of the tongue stays down, as well as the middle of the tongue, what we call a “dark L.”

This video demonstrates the different pronunciation of dark and light “L” in different contexts, using multiple examples.

Even though speaking with a foreign accent seems like a normal state, you can learn how to make the sounds that sound easy in the mouths of natives. This video series increases your awareness of all the parts of your mouth you use for speaking. A language never felt so good!

Dr. Thomas Coates blew my mind. He taught me how my tongue, lips, jaw, and teeth create language. Like a Chinese calligrapher learns how each finger holds a brush, like a yogi breathes with specific depth and stretch of her diaphragm, I took the first steps towards mastering language: losing my accent.

Enjoy!

Photo credit: M Glasgow via Foter.com / CC BY

Lose your accent! Making the guttural “r” (German & French)

With an eye on your uvula you can pronounce this sound
With an eye on your uvula you can pronounce this sound

Improve your pronunciation of “r” in French and German! Richard explains how to position your tongue and control your breath to make this sound correctly. In this video I explain how to position your tongue and control your breath to make this sound correctly. These are the methods that I used to teach myself how to make this sound back in the day.

Many people get overwhelmed with the idea of sounding like a native in studying a foreign language. Speaking with an accent seems like a normal state. However, with a few tips on being aware of how our mouth makes sounds, a little concentration can produce great results. I made this video series to show you how to increase your awareness of all the parts of your speaking apparatus.

You can sound like a native in any language. Even though speaking with a foreign accent seems like a normal state, you can learn how to make the sounds that sound easy in the mouths of natives. This video series increases your awareness of all the parts of your mouth you use for speaking. A language never felt so good!

Speaking a language feels wonderful as you work to move your mouth like a native.

Dr. Thomas Coates blew my mind. He taught me how my tongue, lips, jaw, and teeth create language. Like a Chinese calligrapher learns how each finger holds a brush, like a yogi breathes with specific depth and stretch of her diaphragm, I took the first steps towards mastering language: losing my accent.

Enjoy!

Photo credit: Evil Erin via Foter.com / CC BY

Lose your accent! Rolling your “r” (Spanish, Italian, Russian)

Focus and you can make your tongue do whatever you want
Focus and you can make your tongue do whatever you want

Learn how to roll you “r” in Spanish, Italian, and Russian! Did you know that if you speak American English, you’re already half-way there? In this video I explain how to position your tongue and control your breath to make this sound correctly. These are the methods that I used to teach myself how to make this sound back in the day.

Many people get overwhelmed with the idea of sounding like a native in studying a foreign language. Speaking with an accent seems like a normal state. However, with a few tips on being aware of how our mouth makes sounds, a little concentration can produce great results. I made this video series to show you how to increase your awareness of all the parts of your speaking apparatus.

You can sound like a native in any language. Even though speaking with a foreign accent seems like a normal state, you can learn how to make the sounds that sound easy in the mouths of natives. This video series increases your awareness of all the parts of your mouth you use for speaking. A language never felt so good!

Speaking a language feels wonderful as you work to move your mouth like a native.

Dr. Thomas Coates blew my mind. He taught me how my tongue, lips, jaw, and teeth create language. Like a Chinese calligrapher learns how each finger holds a brush, like a yogi breathes with specific depth and stretch of her diaphragm, I took the first steps towards mastering language: losing my accent.

Enjoy!

Photo credit: Abu via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Related articles

Lose your accent! Russian soft consonants

Focus on your mouth and you can sound native!
Focus on your mouth and you can sound native!

You can sound like a native in any language. Even though speaking with a foreign accent seems like a normal state, you can learn how to make the sounds that sound easy in the mouths of natives. This video series increases your awareness of all the parts of your mouth you use for speaking. A language never felt so good!

Here I focus on Russian “soft consonants” or “мягкие согласные.” In linguistics we call them “palatalized consonants,” because you pronounce them with the middle of your tongue on the roof of your mouth or “palate.” English speakers tend to pronounce these sounds with a separate “y” sound, which is not correct. Pay close attention to the video!

Dr. Thomas Coates blew my mind. He taught me how my tongue, lips, jaw, and teeth create language. Like a Chinese calligrapher learns how each finger holds a brush, like a yogi breathes with specific depth and stretch of her diaphragm, I took the first steps towards mastering language: losing my accent.

Enjoy!

Photo credit: Giacomo Carena via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Lose your accent! German vowels “ö” and “ü”

Pay attention to your lips!
Pay attention to your lips!

You can sound like a native in any language. Even though speaking with a foreign accent seems like a normal state, you can learn how to make the sounds that sound easy in the mouths of natives. This video series increases your awareness of all the parts of your mouth you use for speaking. A language never felt so good!

German “ö” and “ü” confound learners with awkward contortions. Technically, though, English includes the same mouth positions, but in a different order. If you can speak English, you can make these sounds—only pay close attention to how you arrange your tongue and lips. The video will show you how.

Dr. Thomas Coates blew my mind. He taught me how my tongue, lips, jaw, and teeth create language. Like a Chinese calligrapher learns how each finger holds a brush, like a yogi breathes with specific depth and stretch of her diaphragm, I took the first steps towards mastering language: losing my accent.

Enjoy!

Photo credit: Kate Dreyer via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Lose your accent! Dental consonants (t & d)

Make sure you use your teeth right!
Make sure you use your teeth right!

Many people get overwhelmed with the idea of sounding like a native in studying a foreign language. Speaking with an accent seems like a normal state. However, with a few tips on being aware of how our mouth makes sounds, a little concentration can produce great results. I made this video series to show you how to increase your awareness of all the parts of your speaking apparatus. Speaking a language feels wonderful as you work to move your mouth like a native.

This video focuses on consonants, specifically, the sounds “t” and “d”. English (and German) speakers tend to pronounce these sounds in a peculiar way, which is distinct from how Russian and Spanish speakes do. Watch so you can make this subtle change for a great improvement in sound.

Dr. Thomas Coates blew my mind. He taught me how my tongue, lips, jaw, and teeth create language. Like a Chinese calligrapher learns how each finger holds a brush, like a yogi breathes with specific depth and stretch of her diaphragm, I took the first steps towards mastering language: losing my accent.

Enjoy!
Photo credit: Rupert Taylor-Price / Foter.com / CC BY

Lose your accent! Clean up your vowels

How can you make yourself clearer?
How can you make yourself clearer?

Many people get overwhelmed with the idea of sounding like a native in studying a foreign language. Speaking with an accent seems like a normal state. However, with a few tips on being aware of how our mouth makes sounds, a little concentration can produce great results. I made this video series to show you how to increase your awareness of all the parts of your speaking apparatus. Speaking a language feels wonderful as you work to move your mouth like a native.

This video focuses on vowels. English speakers tend to pronounce vowels in a peculiar way, differently from speakers of many European languages, such as German and Spanish. Watch so you can hear and imitate the vowels of these languages.

Dr. Thomas Coates blew my mind. He taught me how my tongue, lips, jaw, and teeth create language. Like a Chinese calligrapher learns how each finger holds a brush, like a yogi breathes with specific depth and stretch of her diaphragm, I took the first steps towards mastering language: losing my accent.

Enjoy!


Photo credit: Beverly & Pack / Foter.com / CC BY

On pronunciation and memorization: A eulogy for Dr. Thomas Coates

My first German teacher (circled) along with his class
My first German teacher (circled) along with his class

Wer noch? Du? Steh auf! Blitzschnell!

A-Be-Tse-De-E-Ef-Gay-Ha-Ee-Yot-Ka…

Who are the most influential teachers? It’s not always obvious at the time, but some lessons seep into your bones.
My first German teacher