Episode #1 – Your New Year’s American Pronunciation goals



Hi, It’s Lisa Scott with losemyaccent.com. Have you written your New Year’s Resolutions or set those New Year’s goals? I will tell you in just a minute why that might not be a good idea.

But first, I want to share with you how excited I am about some of the new developments we have here at Accentuate. One of the biggest changes is that we are moving to much more video this year. When you ask pronunciation questions, it is so much easier for me to explain them when you can actually see what I’m explaining. So, starting today, the majority of my blog posts will be videos rather than written articles.

You have asked for some lower priced video trainings, and those are coming as well. I have an all new 6 week series that is almost ready for you, so I’ll be sharing the details very soon. I can tell you that since my birthday is at the end of January, I will be running a very special birthday sale as I launch this new series.

And lastly, I have started a Facebook page that is just for us to talk about your questions and concerns regarding American pronunciation. So, come visit me at www.facebook.com/losemyaccent and tell your friends to join us too. Introduce yourself, share your concerns with learning English, and ask your questions about pronunciation, grammar, intonation – whatever is on your mind! I will try to answer simple questions on the page and I will choose some of them as topics for future blog post videos. I’m really looking forward to connecting with you there!

And now, back to my comment at the beginning on why New Year’s Resolutions might not be a good idea.  People make them every year and every year they get frustrated because they just can’t stick with them. But what if instead of focusing on the specific goal, you focus on the outcome, or who you want to be when you meet that goal. Let’s take the example of setting a goal to reduce your accent. You could set a measurable goal of improving 50% on a pronunciation test, and that would be great. But you don’t really care if you score 50% higher on that test, do you? What you really care about is being understood more easily, not having to repeat yourself, and feeling confident when you speak English. Right? Those are outcomes rather than goals, and it is those outcomes that truly make you feel like you’ve accomplished your goal.

So, how do you change your focus? First, you think about your goals for the year one by one and think about how you will be different when you meet that goal. What will you gain by meeting that goal? What will the outcome be? That is your true motivator and the way to help you stay focused to accomplish that goal.

And if one of your goals is to improve your American pronunciation, and the outcome you are looking for is to be understood more easily and feel more confident when you speak, then I hope you will be an active part of our community this year. Watch these videos, share your questions on the facebook page, and let me know what I can do to serve you as you work towards the outcomes you desire in 2013.

See you next time!



Eye Halve a Spelling Chequer Contest

Today’s post is a contest I ran a couple of years ago, but since we have added lots of new readers since then, I decided to post it again – and yes, I am running the contest again, too. Be sure to send me your entry!

Ever get frus­trated try­ing to improve your spo­ken Eng­lish by read­ing writ­ten Eng­lish? Or won­der why two words that are spelled com­pletely dif­fer­ently are pro­nounced exactly the same? With cer­tain words, you have to hear them in con­text in order to fig­ure out which word, and which spelling, was intended.

lose my accent spellcheck

Today’s entry is a humor­ous look at how using spellcheck on your com­puter might sub­sti­tute cor­rectly spelled words in a com­pletely wrong con­text. Give your­self a spelling chal­lenge and see if you can fig­ure out how the words really should be spelled.

To make it more fun, I’m turn­ing it into a contest!

Here’s how the con­test works: Rewrite the poem with the cor­rect spellings for the con­text, leave a comment below telling me what you’d like to learn in your free coaching session, and then e-mail your completed poem to me at lisa at losemyaccent dot com. Don’t post your corrected poem below- just let me know what you’d like to learn if you win the free session! From all the cor­rect entries, I will select one win­ner on Wednesday, August 21st to receive a free 30 minute coach­ing ses­sion with me! This is a $50 value! We can work on pro­nun­ci­a­tion, gram­mar, idioms, or other Eng­lish top­ics. It’s up to you!

Please share this with your friends on FB, Twit­ter, and other sites; I want as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to have a chance to win! Good luck!

Here’s the poem:

Eye halve a spelling che­quer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly mar­ques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rarely ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its let­ter per­fect in it’s weigh
My che­quer tolled me sew.

— Sauce unknown


Don’t for­get — when you fig­ure it out, post a comment below to tell what you’d like to learn in your free coaching session, then e-mail me your poem. Check back on Thursday, August 23rd to see if you are the lucky winner!

Share with your friends by clicking on the buttons below:


American Pronunciation: Go To, Got To, or Gotta?

One of my readers, Peter, sent me a question after reading my recent post on the pronunciation of T in hot tea. He wanted to know the difference in the American pronunciation of the expressions go to and got to. I thought this was such as wonderful question that I wanted to address it in a blog post.

To help you hear the differences, I have recorded a video of me explaining the sounds and have also written out the explanation for you below.


First, let’s look at the pronunciation of each expression individually.

To pronounce go to, we say the hard G followed by a long O, GO, and then say a crisp, or released T followed by the long U, or OO sound. GO TOO.

To pronounce got to, we will say the hard G followed by the short o or AH vowel, hold the T at the end of the word, then release the T as we say to, with a long u, or OO sound. GAH-TOO

Also, I think we need to mention the shortened version of got to used in more casual conversation: gotta.

To pronounce gotta,we start out exactly the same as with GOT TO, using the AH sound, then blend the two T’s in to a fast T , or D sound, and instead of ending with the precise pronunciation of TO, we shorten and simplify the ending with a SCHWA sound. So, when we put it all together in rapid speech, it becomes GAH-DUH.

Now, let’s talk about when we would use these expressions. GO TO is a verb indicating movement from one place to another. I want to go to the store.

GOT TO indicates either that you were able to do something in the past, or that you need to do something in the future. When talking about the future, you must always use HAVE or HAS with it.

When talking about the past, you might say:

I got to go see a movie yesterday.


They got to ride in the new car.

But, when talking about the future, you would say,

I have got to finish my project.


I’ve got to go get some groceries.

Often in casual conversation, the GOT TO is reduced or simplified to GOTTA, as in:

I’ve gotta go to the store.

So, remember that go to, got to, and gotta each have their own distinct pronunciation and usage. You will impress those around you with your knowledge of American pronunciation when you can use these words correctly. Come on now, you’ve gotta give it a try! What have you got to lose?

Was this post helpful to you? What questions do you have about American pronunciation? Let me know in the comments below!

Shattered Glass, Shattered Dreams, and Accent Reduction Classes

What do shattered glass, shattered dreams, and accent reduction classes have in common? A lot — if you look at the end result. While traveling over the holiday weekend, our family was caught behind several backups on the interstate. Trying to take a shortcut, we started down a smaller road where a deer suddenly jumped at the side of our van, shattering the window in the sliding door. Although it was scary at first, no one was hurt.

We had thought it would be easier and quicker to go down a different road, but our expectations were suddenly shattered. Riding home for several hours with a plastic bag taped over the hole, we gave up on conversation because the wind noise was deafening. Its constant presence weighed on us the entire way, and we couldn’t wait to get home and have a new, quiet window installed.

It made me think about some people I know who came to America as second-language English speakers expecting to blend in easily, not realizing that their accented speech would be an obstacle to their success. They had studied English for years, knew all the grammar rules, and felt secure in their ability to communicate. But, once they got here, people misunderstood them and kept asking them to repeat themselves, and their expectations shattered around them much like the glass in that van window.

At that point, they had two choices. They could put tape over the shattered windows of their dreams, fighting to be heard above the wind noise of their heavy accent.

Or, they could recognize that life wasn’t exactly how they expected it would be, but that they could create a better life for themselves by replacing those shattered dreams with new ones. By taking accent reduction classes, some of them learned to reduce their accent and make their speech much clearer than before. Instead of struggling to be understood, they can now communicate clearly and easily with those around them. The shattered dreams are gone and have been replaced by new, clear speech patterns and new dreams of success.

Which choice have you made? Are you struggling to get through each day, repeating yourself and feeling more and more defeated as the “noise” of your accent drowns out what you really want to say? Or, have you taken steps to reduce that noise, to improve your pronunciation, and open up the path to clearer communication?

Don’t settle for less than what you had hoped for. You deserve to be heard and not to be drowned out by your accent. It’s time to put aside your shattered dreams and replace them with a window of hope. By taking accent reduction classes, you can get rid of the “wind noise” in your speech and begin communicating clearly and easily. That’s a dream that really can come true.

A Sneak Peek into my Newest Accent Reduction Class

We all like to try out new products or services before we commit to them, right? That’s why I’ve decided to give you a sneak peek into my newest accent reduction class. In fact, over the next few weeks, I’m going to give you several opportunities to sit in on my class virtually, so you can see just what goes on in my American pronunciation classes.

I just have one favor to ask: if you like what you see, will you let me know? I’m considering offering this class live over the internet, and I want to see if this is something you are looking for.


Please leave a comment below and tell me the one thing you would most like me to teach in my internet class. Thanks for your help!