How to Learn American English

By Michael E. Andrews

Did you know that there are 26 letters in the English alphabet? Each letter makes a different sound when spoken. Learning American English can be even trickier than Standard English. The American Heritage Dictionary points out that American English not only has 25 consonant sounds, but also up to 18 different vowel sounds.

If you are learning English as a second language, you may be having some difficulty finding effective information to help guide you through the learning process and make learning more enjoyable. Enjoyable learning experiences come from researching topics that you find interesting. Topics that interest you are certain to keep your attention, and that will help speed your comprehension.

There is an e-course called “Learn the American accent – FAST!” available that will help students interested in learning American English to surpass their own expectations and achieve perfect pronunciation. Language e-courses are a great option for students because of their flexibility and their ease of use. These e-courses are designed to give students the highest understanding of the American English language by following simple and effective routines.

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Repetition is very important when learning American English. Learning a new language takes a good amount of work. If you are repeating activities, you are memorizing content. Memorizing content is important because it helps you to identify common word parts and sounds. This identification will in turn make it easier to process new words and phrases as you learn American English.

You also want to follow-up every learning activity with a review. After some time has passed since completing language activities, you should revisit the topic. Revisiting the topic will help you to revise your understanding of the language so that it is more accurate. It is good practice to review past lessons about once a week.

Students that understand what steps are used to learn American English, perform much better. Following your curriculum and implementing activities you find interesting is the best policy. Keeping your goal in mind is a great way to stay motivated to do all of your work and push yourself that extra inch. Keeping dedicated is the key to learning American English.
Tips for Successful Learning Habits

Be certain to challenge yourself. There are many grammar quizzes, vocabulary tests, puzzles and more available to help you gain a better understanding of American English. Watch videos, listen to podcasts, and generally fill your free time with doing tasks that help you to learn American English through exposure.

Set goals for your vocabulary each week. By learning several new words each day you are exposing yourself frequently to the language. Learning new words involves the spelling, meaning, pronunciation and how they are used in a sentence. You will learn very quickly that American English has many words whose meaning changes depending on how the word is used. Do not get discouraged. American English is a difficult language.

You also want to listen to the language being spoken, often. Hearing the spoken language will help you to identify letter sounds. Many letters have different sounds in American English. Letter sounds vary depending on how the letter is used.

You can learn the many different letter sounds by repeatedly listening to instructors, radio, television, and videos that speak in American English. Challenge yourself by choosing English versions of your favorite audio programs. Listen to the spoken language as much as you possibly can.

Work on matching sounds to words. Listening to the language is only part of the work involved with learning American English. You also need to begin looking for letters and words to match those sounds in print. This is a great way to learn American English reading comprehension and pronunciation. Matching words with sounds is the first step in learning how to spell. Learning the different sounds that letter combinations make will ease your experience. Here are a few examples of the different sounds that letter combinations can make:

Cap/Cape
Cop/Cope
Cut/Cute

Notice, that something as simple as placing an “E” at the end of a word can change its sound and meaning completely. This is the same for many letter combinations you will encounter as you learn American English.

Dedicate some time each day to supplementing your courses with an hour of reading. Learning American English can be a long process. By exposing yourself to the language an hour each day you will find that your comprehension and learning ability will improve.

The same can be said for writing. Each time you learn a new word or phrase in American English you should write it down in a notebook. Write in both your native language and in English. This is a great way to memorize the things you learn.

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Additionally, you should practice speaking American English. While it may be difficult to find English-speaking individuals that you know, you should still dedicate a good amount of time to practicing the language in spoken form. Practice speaking each day, even if it is in a mirror, so that you can familiarize yourself with the way words feel when you form them. You might also consider recording yourself reading American English aloud. Replaying the recording will help you to identify what sounds you need to work on.

Finally, utilize the internet for additional research opportunities. It is very likely that your course material will weigh heavily on the use of web research. Prepare yourself for this by using the internet each day to find new activities and articles related to learning American English that interest you. Be aware that when researching how to learn American English on your own, you may encounter many inconsistencies in the language. This is what makes learning American English a challenge. Next we will touch on some of the inconsistencies you can expect during your learning process.

Inconsistencies of American English

The most important thing you must remember in order to learn American English, is that the spelling system does not always match the spoken language. This causes a lot of confusion, even for some Americans. Here are some examples of inconsistencies in the American English language:

Depending on the word, the letter “S” can make several different sounds
/s/ Safe
/zh/ Leisurely
/z/ Designer

”C” is also a letter that can mimic the sounds of other letters
/s/ Century
/k/ Court

Finally, the letter “X” is quiet a challenge. It has sounds that many might never guess without proper instruction.
/ks/ Axe
/egz/ Extreme

A final important tip to keep in mind when learning American English, is that the way a letter sounds depends largely on where it is in a word. If you want to learn American English, be prepared for a challenge, but do not let that stop you.

Learning American English can open many doors for you and introduce you to opportunities you may not even know exist. With the right attitude and access to the right material anyone can learn American English.

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