One of the main causes of a foreign accent when learning another language is interference from our native language. As babies and young children, our brains learn which sounds are and are not important. The young child’s brain quickly learns to dismiss the sounds not included in our mother tongue, and at some point we are no longer able to distinguish them. We do not even notice them, and may have difficulty hearing them, even when they are pointed out to us.
So, English may have sounds that don’t exist in your native language. Therefore, you substitute an incorrect sound for the English sound. For example, you may not have some or all of the short/relaxed vowel sounds in your language. So you pronounce the “i” in the word “it” as “eat” or the “a” in “man” as “mon”.
Or, perhaps you DO have the sound in your language, but you don’t realize the spelling rules from your language don’t apply to English. Let’s take the letter “o” as an example. You may incorrectly assume when you see an “o”, you pronounce it “oh”, when it fact in many cases, it may be an “ah” sound, like the names of these 2 stores: Ross, Costco. You should pronounce the “o” here just like you would in the words “job” or “dog”, with an “ah” sound.
Furthermore, we automatically apply the sound system and intonation patterns we learned for our mother tongue to the new language. So now, we need awareness of what’s important in the new language and we need practice to form new habits. A famous wise man once said, “When you are ready to learn, the teacher will appear”. Are you ready to learn? Join my free class “5 Days to a Better Accent” and you will find out about the most important things to focus on to improve your accent and speak more understandably right now. You will also learn fun and easy ways to practice to make your new pronunciation an unconscious part of your speech.