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How to speak like an American: Part 1

Learn how to form and speak all the vowel sounds in Standard American English (SAE).
4.4 (11 ratings)
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467 students enrolled
Last updated 10/2013
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
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  • Certificate of Completion
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This course provides practice and explicit instruction in all vowel sounds of Standard American English. There are 17 video lessons and it will take about 2 hours of watch time and more time in practice. Students will meet with the instructor in live sessions for evaluation and assessments as students work through the course. Students who need or want to speak American English more fluently and sound more like a native American English speaker will benefit from this course. Also, students who are preparing for the IELTS, TOEFL or TOEIC exams will benefit from the instruction and practice found here.

There are many accents in the world of English. This course teaches Standard American English pronunciation. This is what many English Language Learners are taught all over the world.

Who is the target audience?
  • Persons wishing to reduce their accent and feel more confident speaking American English.
  • Persons wishing to understand spoken American English better
  • Students preparing for the IELTS or TOEFL speaking test
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What Will I Learn?
By the end of the course, students will know how to pronounce the long and short vowel sounds, and diphthongs.
By the end of the course, students will have had the opportunity to meet with an experienced English teacher to provide individual help in their pronunciation.
View Curriculum
  • Students need to attend live sessions for assessments
  • Students need to practice at least 15 min per day
  • Students need a quiet place to listen to the lectures and record assignments.
  • Students need to have a mirror, or record themselves with a video camera so they can see themselves speak
  • Students know the American English alphabet and the sounds they make.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 19 Lectures Collapse All 19 Lectures 01:25:40
Basic Vowel Sounds
7 Lectures 28:26

This introduction explains how the class works and the three most important things students must do to be successful.

Preview 04:41

This is a short lecture that explicitly shows students how to make the long e sound.

Preview 02:56

This lecture explains how to make the short i sound. It practices listening to the differences between short i and long e from the previous lesson. Words with the target sound are practiced as well as two longer sentences.

Short i sound

This lecture explains the difference between the short i sound (/i/) and the short e sound (/e/). Students practice words and sentences emphasizing the short e sound.

Short e sound

This lecture teaches how to make the long a sound. It compares it to short /e/ and practices words and sentences with the sound.

Long A sound

This is a listening exercise. It practices telling the difference between what you hear. Also, there is more practice in making the short /i/ and short /e/ sounds.

Exercise 1 on short /e/ and short /i/

This lesson explains how to make the short a sound and compares it to the short e sound. Pair words and sentences are practiced.

Short A sound
Other Vowel Sounds and Dipthongs
12 Lectures 57:14

This lesson explain the importance of the schwa sound. Practice words and sentences are given.


This lecture explains the short /u/ sound and how it differs from the schwa sound.

Short u sound

This lesson explains how to make the short /o/ sound and how it differs from short /a/.

Short o sound

This lesson teaches the long o sound and compares it with short a. Spellings are also discussed.

Preview 03:47

This is a short quiz about the short vowels in Standard American English

Quiz on Short vowels
3 questions

This lesson explains how to make the long i sound and compares it with the short o sound.

Long i sound

This lesson covers one of the most important sounds in American English; the -er sound. Explicit teaching of how to make this sound and a discussion about its spellings are included in this lecture.

-er sound

This lesson discusses how to make the -ow sound, its spelling patterns and practices words and sentences.

/ow/ sound

This lesson explains the sound /oi/. It is a combination vowel sound. Students are taught how to make this sound and given practice expercises.

The /oi/ sound

This set of excercises focuses on the difference between the -oi and long /i/ sound.

Exercise 2 on -oi and long /i/ Sounds

This lesson teaches students how to make the sound of long u. Explicit directions are taught about how to make the sound and practice exercises are given.

/uw/ sound

This lesson teaches the sound -oo-. It is the sound heard in words like "book", "look". Students learn how to make the sound and then practice.

Look at that book on hooks

This lecture reviews what we have covered in this course on vowels.

Concluding Lecture
About the Instructor
4.2 Average rating
25 Reviews
996 Students
4 Courses
Philanthropist, Teacher, Mental illness wrangler

I have been a teacher my whole adult life, now going on 25 years! My passion is helping students become fluent in English.

My other goal is to help others with mental illness, so I have shared my story and my ways of living a positive life. All my classes are reasonably priced so students can get the help they need.

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