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This lesson focuses on pronunciation and how to improve telephone communication so that the American Customer can clearly understand what the agent is saying. This lesson enhances conversational English Skills by incorporating intonation, word liaisons, and proper English pronunciation.

This module is designed to further enhance your communication skills and teach you how to adjust from the commonly accepted English to the Global Language that we speak in the Call Center Industry, which is the typical American Accent..

What is


A distinctive manner of expression i.e. an individuals distinctive or characteristic inflection, tone, or choice of words, or way of speaking typical of a particular group of people residing in a specific region. (Webster Dictionary) Is the combination of three main components: intonation (speech music), liaisons (word connections), and pronunciation (the spoken sounds of vowels, consonants, and combinations)

Symbol Sound Spelling Example o ee i ou ooh ah + +o take eat ice hope smooth [tak] [et] [is] [hop] [smuth]

Symbol Sound Spelling Example i eh ih ih+uh uh get it took some [gt] [it] [tk] [sm]

caught [k t] cat [k t] down [don]

r er ul her dull [hr] [d]

long vowels requires the use of a lot of facial muscles especially lip and mouth muscles

short vowels or reduced vowels you relax your mouth and lip muscles



The A and E combination sound. Although not a common sound, it is very distinctive to the ear & is typically American. - To pronounce it, drop your jaw as far down as it will go. The final sound is not two separate vowels, but rather the end result of the combination. It is very close to the sound that a goat makes: ma-a-a-a!

ex. Bat, cat, math, can, man


- the A and O combination sound. - to pronounce, relax your tongue & drop your jaw. Its the sound you make when the doctor wants to see your tongue, so open up & drp your jw. ex. Water, daughter, caught

[ ] the Schwa Sound.

- the most common sound in American english - is a neutral sound. Its actual sound is uh - to make a Schwa sound, put your hand on your diaphragm & push it until a grunt escapes. Do not move your jaw, tongue or lips; just allow the sound to flow past your vocal cords. It should sound uh and not ah. ex. Pun, Monday, can photography [phuhtahgruhfee] I can di it. [ I kn do it ] I cant do it. [ I knt do it ]

Vowel Sound Differentiation / Drills

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

own bone cone coat dont phone goat hotel Joan loan moan motor known note

aint bane cane Kate Dane feign gain hate Jane lane main made name Nate

end Ben Ken ketch den fend again het up Jenny Len men met nemesis net

Ann on unban bond bun can con come cat caught/cot cut Dan Don/dawn done fan fawn fun gap gone gun hat hot hut Jan John jump lamp lawn lump man monster Monday matter motto mutter Nan non~ none/nun Gnat not/knot nut

15. pan 16. ran

pawn Ron

pun run

pony Roan

pain rain/reign

pen wren

17. sand
18. shall 19. chance 20. Tack 21. van 22. wax 23. Yam

Sean chalk talk Von want yawn

shut Chuck tuck vug one young

show choke Token vogue wont yo!

Shane change take vague wane Yea!

Shen check tech vent when Yen

24. Zap






The American I and E

There are ways of saying these two sounds depending on what the final consonant is.
eat deed keys it did kiss They eat it. He did the deed. Give me a kiss for the keys

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. It Fit This Bit Sit Nit Pit Is Sick Lick Sin

eat feet/feat these beat seat neat peat ease seek leak seen 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Sim Dim Kin Hill Sill Pick Gin

seem deem keen heal seal peak Jean

Reading the / / sound

The Tn Mn
A fashionably tan man sat casually at the bat stand, lashing a handful of practice bats. The manager, a crabby old bag of bones, passed by and laughed, Youre about average, Jack. Cant you lash faster? Jack had had enough, so he clambered to his feet and lashed bats faster than any man had ever lashed bats. As a matter of fact, he lashed bats so fast that he seemed to dance. The manager was aghast. Jack, youre a master bat lasher! he gasped. Satisfied at last, Jack sat back and never lashed another bat.

Reading the / / sound

A lt of lng, Ht walks in the garden
John was not sorry when the boss called off the walks in the garden. Obviously, to him, it was awfully hot, and the walks were far too long. He had not thought that walking would have caught on the way it did, and he fought the policy from the onset. At first, he thought he could talk it over at the law office and have it quashed, but a small obstacle halted that thought. The top lawyers always bought coffee at the shop across the lawn and they didnt want to stop on Johns account. Johns problem was not the office politics, but office policy. He resolved the problem by bombing the garden.

Reading the / / sound

What must the Sun Above Wonder About?
Some pundits proposed that the sun wonders unnecessarily about sundry and assorted conundrums. One cannot but speculate what can come of their proposal. It wasnt enough to trouble us, but it was done so underhandedly that hundreds of sun lovers rushed to the defense of their beloved sun. None of this was relevant on Monday, however, the sun burned up the entire country

are sounds that cause two points of your mouth to come into contact, in three locations - the lips, the tip of the tongue, and the throat.

there two types of consonants:

VOICED the vocal folds in the larynx are vibrating while sound is being made VOICELESS the vocal folds are nor vibrating

VOICED Consonants
/ b, d, g, v, , z, 3, d3, m, n, , l, r, w, y / example: / b / - bad / m / - man / d / - did / n / - no / g / - gave / / - sing / v / - voice / d3 / - judge / / - that / l / - leg / z / - zoo / 3 / - vision / r / - red / w / - went / y / - yacht

VOICELESS Consonants
/ p, t, k, f, , s, , t , h / example: / p / - pot / s / - sun / / - she / t / - chat / f / - if

/ / - think / t / - tea / k / - cat / h / - how


The American T
4 Basic Rules
[ T is T ]

is influenced very strongly by intonation and its position in a word or phrase

[ T is D ]

[ T is Silent ]

[ T is Held ]

[ T is T ]
If the T is at the beginning of the word, it is a strong T sound.

1. In the beginning of a word: Table, Take, Tomorrow, Teach, Ten, Turn, Tired
It took Tim ten times to try the telephone. 2. with a stressed T in ST, TS, TR, CT, LT and sometimes NT combinations: STeak, traiTS, TRain, taCT, beLT, conteNT

3. In the past tense, D sounds like T, after an unvoiced consonant sound f, k, p, s, ch, sh, th picked [pikt], hoped [houpt], raced [rast], watched [wcht]

[ T is D ]
If the T is in the middle of the word intonation changes the sound to a soft D. Letter sounds like [ledder].
Water, daughter, bought a, lot of, got a, later, meeting, bedder

Betty Bought a Bit of Better Butter

Betty bought a bit of better butter, But, said she, This butters bitter, If I put it in my batter, Itll make my batter bitter. Beddy b d bhida bedder budder, Bu(t), said she, This budderz bidder If I pdi din my bdder, Idll make my bdder bidder.

[ T is Silent ]
T and N are so close in the mouth that the [t] can disappear.
interview international advantage percentage center internet twenty [innerview] [innernational] [dvnj] [percenj] [cenner] [innernet] [twenny]

[ T is Held ]
If the T is at the end of the word, it is held back that you almost dont hear it at all. put, what, lot, set, hot, sit, shot, brought Thats quite right , isnt it?

[ T is Held ]
With tain, -tten and some TN combinations, the T is held. The held T is, strictly speaking, not really a T at all. Remember, [t] and [n] are very close in the mouth. If you have [n] immediately after [t], you dont pop the [t] the tongue is in the [t] position, but you release the air for the [n] not the [t]. Make sure you dont put the Schwa before the [n]. An important point to remember is that you need a sharp upward sliding intonation up to the held T, the a quick drop for the N. Written, certain, forgotten, sentence, bitten, curtain, mountain, mutant, button Hes forgotten the carton of satin mittens. Shes certain that he has written it. Martin has gotten a kitten.

The AMERICAN TH (Tee aich)

-the TH can either be voiced & unvoiced.

The VOICED TH is like a D, but instead of being in the back of the teeth, its inch lower & forward, between the teeth. The UNVOICED TH is like an S between the teeth. ***Most people tend to replace the unvoiced TH with an S or T & the voiced one with Z or D. Instead of thing, they say sing or ting. Instead of that, they say zat or dat.
Try this: that these those they them their thought think through thing threat thieves

TH - Consonant Sound Pair Voiceless / / & Voiced / /

/ / - thirty, thousand, thought, thundering, thumbs / / - clothing, though, the, they, there, this, clothes

Thirty thousand thoughtless boys, Thought theyd make a thundering noise; So with thirty thousand thumbs, They thumbed on thirty thousand drums

The American R
The American R is like a vowel because the tongue does not touch anywhere in the mouth.
Earn Hurt Word

art heart lark

air hair flair

or horse course

ear here clear

hour power our

The American L
The American L has different pronunciations in English. In the beginning of a word, the tongue tip touches just behind the teeth on those hard ridges.
In the beginning of the word:

laugh, law, love

In the middle of the word:

belly, alley
At the end of the word (a little Schwa):

ball [b-uhl]
Silent L




Stressing the correct syllable is as important as pronouncing the sounds correctly. Words & phrases can have different meanings depending on which syllable is stressed.
1. 2. invalid invalid August august - a sick person - not correct - the eighth month - majestic or grand


personal office personnel office

Trusty trustee property console console

- a private office - the office where you apply for a job

- reliable or can be trusted - a person who manages someone elses - control panel in front of the car - to make someone feel better


Vowel Reduction Vowel in unstressed

syllables immediately before or immediately after stressed syllables are usually reduced.
Stressed full vowel
1. Ball

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Fast Late Men Social Recorder

Unstressed reduced vowel balloon breakfast chocolate women society a record

Word type
Two Syllables Nouns Verbs Nouns

Where is the stress

on the 1st syllable on the last syllable on the first part on the last part(verb part) on the last part(verb part)

center, objects release, admit, arrange desktop, pencil case, bookshelf, greenhouse well-meant, oldfashioned, hard-headed understand, overlook, outperform economic, geometric, electric technician, graduation, cohesion photography, biology, geometry parameter, thermometer barometer


(N+N) or (Adj.+N)



Word with -ic the syllable before the added ending ending -tion, -cian, -sion the syllable before the ending -phy, -gy, -try, the third from the last -cy, -fy, -al syllable -meter the third from the last syllable

Stress & Vowel Reduction in Noun-Verb Pairs

Certain two syllable words are stressed on the first syllable when they are nouns & on the last syllable when they are verbs Example: Noun Verb REcord reCORD CONduct conDUCT PERmit perMIT PROGress proGRESS PREsent preSENT SUBject subJECT Rebel reBEL PROject proJECT SUSpect susPECT

When nouns are used as adjectives (before other nouns), the stress is retained on the first syllable
Example: 1. Contract negotiations were completed last night. 2. The project engineer has been waiting for two hours already.

When ing or ed are added to verbs to make adjectives, stress remains on the second syllable
Example: 1. The recording studio is closed every Sunday. 2. He made the presented output.

When other endings are added, such as er or or, the stress tends to be the same as the most closely related word.
Example: 1. The presenter is the one who presents the minutes of the meeting.

Disappearing Syllables
The vowel immediately after the stressed one is usually reduced. In some very common words, when two or three unstressed syllables follow a stressed syllable, the unstressed syllable immediately after the stressed syllable is dropped altogether. This is specially common before <r>. Example: 1. Interesting intresting 2. Temperature tempreture 3. Favorable favrable 4. Miserable misrable 5. Laboratory labratory 6. Separate seprate 7. Elementary elementry 8. Favorite favrite 9. Beverage bevrage 10. Restaurant restrant

The adverb ending in ically is usually pronounced as /ikli/ Example: 1. Physically physiclly 2. Practically practiclly 3. Economically economiclly

ACRONYMS - Stress is on the last letter IBM BCC MI5 CIA FBI ASPCA TWO-PART WORDS 2-PART NOUNS -Compound Nouns stress the first part a tkeover milman a gtup grenhouse a ltdown freman a lftoff htdog a prntout rommate

2-PART VERBS -Phrasal verbs stress the preposition to take ver to get p to print ut to let dwn to lift ff

NOUNS -90% stressed on the first syllable nswer sthma cstle slmon cho nighbor Chrstmas ktchen clmate chrus chir dughnut knwledge mther stdent chos chcken sland hnor

Compare -ain
Verbs to complan to entertin to explin to maintin to remin Nouns muntain funtain

-Foreign borrowings stressed on the last syllable -French Origin Silent t ch ge ballt champgne barrge bufft crocht corsge fillt chatau grarge gourmt chiffn massge

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. The farm was used to produce produce. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse. The soldier decided to desert in the desert. This was a good time to present the present. I didnt object to the object. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests. The drug addict was addicted. His conduct was awful. We hope hell conduct himself better in the future. They signed the contract. They contracted to do 3 jobs. The convict was finally caught & convicted. He projected that his project would be done by next year. He recorded his new record. The rebels rebelled against the government. They were insulted by the mans insult.

same pronunciation different spelling different meaning

a air heir ere aisle isle Ill ate eight

b balm bomb base bass been bin berth birth bedding betting billed build bite byte blew blue board bored bough bow born borne brake break bridal bridle buy by bye C cache cash cast caste cell sell cent sent scent cereal serial check cheque Czech chews choose choral coral coarse course colonel kernel core corps coup coo

d dam damn dear deer dew do due doe dough ducts ducks e earn urn f flea flee fill Phil find fined flea flee flew flu flour flower for four fore forth fourth freeze frees frieze g groan grown h hair hare heard herd here hear heed hed hi high him hymn higher hire hole whole hoarse horse hour our

k Knight night knit nit knot not know no l lead led liar lyre m meat meet moan mown mode mowed morning mourning n need kneed night knight Nome gnome none nun not knot o oar or ore one won

p pain pane pear pair pare peace piece peak peek pique per purr peer pier pudding putting r rain reign rap wrap read reed read red right rite write road rode rose rows rote wrote s sea see seas sees seize scene seen sell cell shone shown shoe shoo sight site cite slay sleigh some sum stair stare stationary stationery steal steel straight strait t taught taut their there theyre threw through thru throne thrown to too two

u u ewe you v vale veil vial vile w wail whale wait weight war wore ware wear where warn worn way weigh whey weal wheel wine whine wrote rote y Your youre


Silent P Pneumonia Corps Raspberry pseudonym coup psalm psychiatrist cupboard

Silent B
Crumb Thumb Lamb Comb dumb plumber climb debt numb tomb bomb doubt

Silent K Knee knew Knight

kneel known Knot

knelt Knowledge

know knife

Silent G Gnome reign Design

Silent T Castle Watch Fasten Soften Ballet Gourmet debut

gnu foreigner resign

gnash Sign

Campaign diaphragm

whistle kitchen listen mortgage buffet valet

catch chestnut often mustnt crochet depot

Silent H Heir Oprah




Linking him, her They called h/im They called h/er Afghanistan Rhetoric Silent L Calf Chalk Could Colonel Almond aghast rheumatism Ghana Rhode Island ghetto rhyme

half walk would folks salmon

balm talk should Lincoln


Silent M Mnemonic
Silent N Autumn Silent S Aisle Island








Silent TH Asthma
Silent W Answer Whole Wrote Wrestle

sword who written wrist

toward whom writing

two whose wrap