Speak Like a Native: 7 Tips to Learn American Accent

Speak Like a Native: 7 Tips to Learn American Accent

Do you want to learn American accent so that everyone thinks you are native?

If you want to succeed, you have to be persistent and dedicated.

But it’s easy!

Speaking English with an American accent can change your personal life as well as your career.

That is why we’re going to give you some tips on how to get an American accent fast and speak American English like a native.

And not just that. You will learn something more about the American accent, some of the main characteristics that will help you in your practice.

So, let’s not waste our time but get straight to the point.

 

What Is an American Accent?

Before we start the American accent training, let’s take a glimpse at what the term ‘American accent’ means.

People worldwide know that the American accent is spoken by the majority of the people in the USA. It is called Network English or sometimes even newscaster English.

And now, here is something amusing. The American accent is older than the British. The first British settlers brought with themselves the accent today most of the Americans use.

When in 1776, the US became independent, there wasn't a difference between British and American English still. 

Over time, however, the British accent started to change, while the American remained just like the first settlers brought it there.

 

Features of American Accent

Even though people from the USA and Britain understand each other, there are many differences between British English and American English.

Besides many different words, a well-known difference between these two English variants is in pronunciation.

Some of the typical features of the American accent are:

  • One of the most famous differences is in the pronunciation of the sound ‘r.’ Americans pronounce it harder than the British. It is called a rhotic speech

The word ‘hard,’ for example, is pronounced ‘har-d’ with the American accent, while the British pronounce it without saying the sound ‘r,’ like ‘hah-d.’ 

  • Another well-known difference is the ‘a’ sound. The short ‘a’ sound in some words like ‘cat,’ or ‘man,’ are pronounced ‘keət’ and ‘meən.’
  • Words like ‘road’ are pronounced with ‘relaxed’ vowels like ‘rahd.’
  • Some words that contain vowel sounds, merger before the ‘r’ sound. Those words are, for example, ‘Mary,’ ‘marry,’ or ‘merry,’ which all are pronounced the same.
  • One more difference where there is no specific and clear explanation is the tonic syllable in the word. Words ‘address,’ ‘ballet,’ or ‘cafe’ for example, are differently pronounced.

Different American Accents

 

Right now you must be thinking ‘Oh no! Different American Accents!’

You thought  that once you mastered  your American accent, that’s it. 

Don’t be disappointed, though. True, there are several different regional American accents, but it’s not that hard to master them at all.

But first, let’s see those American accents.

 

The New York City American Accent

Unlike other accents in the USA, the New York City accent is non-rhotic, or at least at some point. 

Even though you can’t hear it often in New York, you can come across to old New Yorkers with this accent now and then. They pronounce words such as ‘father’ or ‘dog’ as ‘faw-thuh’ and ‘daw-ug.’

 

The Boston/ New England American Accent

Here’s one more non-rhotic American accent. Spoken in Boston and places around this city, the Boston accent is famous for the following sentence: ‘Pahk yuh cah in hah-vud yahd’ (Park your car in Harvard Yard).

 

The Midwest American Accent

This accent is also known as the General American accent, which means that it is a standard American accent. The majority of the US population speaks and understands it. 

When we mentioned some of the features of the American accent, we described this one, so go ahead with practicing. The best way you can exercise and improve your listening skills is with the news on CNN.

 

The Southern American Accent

If you like American western music, then you’ve probably noticed that the accent is a bit different than the general one.

It is called ‘country accent’ or ‘Southern Drawl.’

The southern accent is recognized easily because their speakers talk slower and they shorten words. Some of the well-known words pronounced with this accent are ‘lemme’ which is ‘let me,’ or ‘git’ which means ‘get.’

 

7 Effective Tips to Help You Learn American Accent

American slang words are a great way to help you sound like a native.

Besides that, we are going to show you 7 effective tips for learning all American accents.

Watch Movies And Learn American Accent

The best way to learn to learn to speak English with an American accent is to listen to the natives.

When you want to take your mind off classic learning, the best way to relax and learn at the same time is to learn English with movies.

Many American movies can help you not only improve your American accent but choose which accent you prefer to master.

The mighty Star Wars, classic Gone With The Wind, or Dark Knight trilogy, all of these movies can help you with the standard American accent.

For those who find the Midwest accent cute, the TV series Fargo is ideal.

And if you want not only to listen to western country music to hear southern accents, you may enjoy watching the unforgettable Forrest Gump from Alabama.

 

Use YouTube to Learn American Accent

Today, YouTube offers so many different materials for learning languages that the only difficulty you might get into is which one to choose.

The Learn English with Let’s Talk Youtube channel is one of the most popular ones, where, among thousands of useful tips, you can learn differences between different English variants and dialects.

Actors Academy is one more channel on YouTube that can help you learn American accents and to speak like a native. On this channel, you can find some useful methods that actors use to master different American accents, that is, what you see in movies and TV shows.

Besides the fact that these channels can help you master the accent, they are also one of the best materials where you can learn and repeat grammar and vocabulary.

 

Work on the Accents

We’ve already mentioned some of the characteristics of the American accent. 

However, you have to practice these features, not just be familiar with them.

  • Practice the ‘r’ sound. Gather words with this sound, and start practicing. General American accent pronounces words like ‘car’ or ‘park’ with the ‘r’ sound, while non-rhotic ones pronounce  as ‘cah’ and ‘pahk.’

Open your mouth slightly. With the tip of your tongue, without touching the top of your mouth, pronounce the ‘r’ sound.

  • Articulate vowels in words with a little more effort. In words as ‘laptop,’ or ‘football’ the stress is on the first syllable. 

The stress in phrasal words is on the second part, for example, ‘work out,’ or ‘log out.’

It is essential to stress the right syllable because your speech will be clear, and people will easily understand.

  • Use contractions. Americans use contractions whenever they have a chance for that. In writing, they use the apostrophe to replace words that are missing. For example, ‘cannot’ is rather used as ‘can’t,’ ‘will not’ is often replaced by ‘won’t,’ or ‘gimme’ is used instead of ‘give me.’

 

Practice With Native Speakers

Native speakers are always the best way to learn American accents.

With the help from professionals, you can practice your pronunciation and correct mistakes if there are any.

If you find difficulties in pronunciation, be patient. Don’t force it but be persistent in practicing because only that way you will master the accent.

We recommend doing online English classes at Lingoda.com - Here you will find teachers from various English speaking countries.

Sing And Read Aloud

Language learners usually improve pronunciation with English tongue twisters.

But there are other useful ways.

Not only is it useful, reading and singing aloud can be fun, too.

Find some entertaining poems, stories, or any articles in English and read aloud, paying attention to the correct intonation. Stress specific words in a way American natives would do.

As for the singing, choose your favorite songs, make a microphone out of your deodorant or hairbrush, and sing along! Enjoy while practicing your pronunciation.

 

Make a List Of Difficult Words

In every language, and so in English, some words are more challenging to pronounce correctly than the other. 

Here is one very simple, and yet, very efficient solution: make a list of words that seem difficult to pronounce. Add some words with tricky sound combinations as well. Practice pronouncing them every day. Don’t rush with pronouncing them. Speak slowly and feel every syllable. Very soon, the results will be there.

 

Practice And Record Yourself

One of the best ways to see if your dedication to learning American accents is working is to record yourself.

Choose one paragraph or video clip, set it up on your mobile device, and start recording. Don’t read too fast. Be natural, and don’t think about the recording. After you finish, compare it to the original audio.

 

Final Thoughts

Now you have all the necessary information and useful resources that can help you learn American accents.

If you're looking for a fun easy way to expand your English vocabulary, you should try the language learning app Babbel.
- Babbel offers structured lessons and real-life dialogue that go beyond basics, ensuring a deeper understanding of the language and its cultural context.

After these tips, no one will recognize that once you were just an English student.

How long does it take to learn an American accent?

Learning American accent takes around 2-3 months.

Is it hard to understand an American accent?

It's not hard to understand an American accent.

Can you lose your American accent?

There are many tactics you can try to lose your American accent. You could try practicing with a native speaker of another language or try some accent trainings.

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