Mastering the American Accent

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Lisa Mojsin, M.A.
Director, Accurate English, Inc.
Los Angeles, CA

This book is dedicated to my accent reduction students who came to the United States
from all parts of the globe. Their drive to excel, passion for learning, amazing work
ethic, and belief in the American dream have inspired me to write this book. In the
words of Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live
the life you have imagined.”
Thanks to all of the supportive and extremely professional people at Barron’s: Dimitry
Popow, my editor; Wayne Barr for seeking me out to write this book; and Veronica
Douglas for her support.
I am enormously grateful to Lou Savage, “The Voice.” His is the beautiful male voice
on the recordings. He was also responsible for all of the expert audio engineering and
audio editing. Thank you, Lou, for being such a perfectionist with the sound and insisting on fixing the audio “mistakes” I couldn’t hear anyway.
I am also grateful for the contributions of Maryam Meghan, Jack Cumming, Katarina
Matolek, Mauricio Sanchez, Sabrina Stoll, Sonya Kahn, Jennie Lo, Yvette Basica,
Marc Basica, and Laura Tien.

© Copyright 2009 by Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in
any form or by any means without the written permission of the copyright owner.
Address all inquiries to:
Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
250 Wireless Boulevard
Hauppauge, NY 11788

ISBN-13: 978-0-7641-4185-0 (book only)
ISBN-10: 0-7641-4185-6 (book only)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7641-9582-2 (book & CD package)
ISBN-10: 0-7641-9582-4 (book & CD package)
Library of Congress Control Number 2008938576
Printed in the United States of America

Introduction vi
Chapter 1: The Vowel Sounds 1
Main Vowel Sounds of American English 1
Production of Vowels 2
/i/ as in meet 3
/I/ as in sit 3
/eɪ/ as in take 5
/ɛ/ as in get 6
/ae/ as in fat 7
/ɑ/ as in father 8
/ɘ/ as in fun 9
/ɔ/as in saw 10
/oʊ/ as in boat 12
/ʊ/ as in good 13
/u/ as in too 13
/ɘr/ as in bird 15
/aɪ/ as in time 15
/aʊ/ as in house 16
/ɔɪ/ as in boy 17

Chapter 2: Vowels in Detail 18
Review of /I/ and /i/ Sounds 18
Review of /ɛ/ and /æ/ Sounds 19
Review of /ɘ/, /ɑ/, /ɔ/, and /ou/ Sounds 20
The Problematic o 21
The American /ɔ/ Sound 23
Review of /ɛ/, /æ/, /ɑ/, /ɔ/, /ɘ/, and /oʊ/ 25
Review of /ʊ/ and /u/ Sounds 25
Comparing /u/ and /yu/ 26
Review of the /ɘr/ Sound 27
Vowels Followed by the /r/ Sound 27
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