American Accent Training
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  • American Accent Training
  • Ann Cook
  • Published by: Baron’s Educational Series
  • Level: Advanced
  • First Published in: 2001

This book offers an array of pronunciation and intonation exercises to help students speak with a standard American accent. American Accent Training is perfect for study abroad students, business people, or students who are planning a trip to The US. The book also comes with supplementary materials such as: detailed nationality guides , online material, and referral to a qualified telephone analyst for a diagnostic speech analysis.

Review posted: 15/10/2013
Have you used this book?

For the language student who plans to travel or live in North America (The US or Canada), teachers who work with accent reduction, or even native speakers involved in theater, radio, or voice acting, this book is a definite must have. This highly acclaimed self-study book is an essential tool for the upper intermediate and advanced student who wants to perfect their English speaking skills.

American Accent Training is a step-by-step course book that will guide you or your students towards speaking in a standard American accent. This book is one of the most extensive and thorough guides I have personally ever come across; if you are a casual English student who is only interested in preparing themselves for a trip abroad or for a short vacation, this book is not for you. Those who will benefit the most from this book are students who want to take part in a self -study course and work towards perfecting their accent over a period of time.

What does this book offer?

This book starts out by focusing on intonation, an important part of any language. The student begins the self-study course by becoming familiar with the rhythm and “music” of the American English dialect. After this introductory phase, the book focuses more on proper pronunciation of vowels. As the book progresses both of these methods come together and then listening comprehension exercises are integrated into the program. 5 audio CD’s are included in this package and in each listening activity voices of both male and female voice actors are used.

"Through extensive intonation and pronunciation exercises, students learn how to speak with a standard American Accent. At the same time, listening comprehension improves dramatically."- Ann Cook (Author)

One thing that sets this book apart from most pronunciation and accent reduction books is the fact that the book comes with a nationality guide. You may be asking yourself “what is a nationality guide?” Simply put, it is a guide that helps correct common errors or difficulties that arise from a student’s specific linguistic background. The book’s nationality guide offers useful tips for native speakers of Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Hindi, Russian, French, and German. Unfortunately these are the only languages listed on the guide, but speakers of other languages can benefit from the guide as well. For example: speakers of Italian or Catalan can find some useful tips under the Spanish section of the guide. Dutch, Danish, and Afrikaans speakers can also find a few useful tips under the German section.

The exercises in this book help students achieve a natural and modern day accent. Rather than having the student sound formal, academic, or even sounding like a newscaster, the author decides to take a different approach.There are also some very useful pronunciation tips; some examples include “Wouldn’t he?” Pronounced as “wooden-he?” or correcting the common pronunciation error of saying “situation” as “sid-oo-ey-shin.”

Extra perks

With the purchase of this book each student can take advantage of a toll free telephone diagnostic analysis that evaluates their initial speech patterns. This analysis aims to help each student realize whether they have a standard or non-standard accent and where they need to improve. Students also have access to free online support, extra material for written exercises, and even a small mirror to observe the placement of the lips and tongue to achieve an accurate pronunciation.

As a teacher who has experience giving accent reduction workshops, I can honestly say that nothing in the market has been as much of a help as American Accent Training.

The Downside?

Although this book is an amazing tool, the only thing that could complement this package is a tape recorder (for self-study students). There are quite a few listening activities where the student must listen and repeat what the speaker has said. If a student is able to hear him or herself and detect their mistakes then a lot more progress can be made. The price of the book is also something to take into consideration. You can expect to spend anywhere between $140-$200 US dollars; if the price isn’t an issue, then by all means, make the investment.

Over all this is a great book for any serious ESL student or teacher. I highly recommend this book to anyone who does business with American clients, people who are planning to live in The US and even foreigners who are currently living there. With a bit of dedication and practice anyone can achieve a perfect American accent with the help of this book. If you want to start speaking and sounding like a native speaker American Accent Training has all the tools necessary to help you reach your goal.



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