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Online Course

Tricky American English Pronunciation

University of California, Irvine via Coursera


In this course, you’ll practice the sounds of American English that might sometimes be confusing. You'll practice both consonant and vowel sounds. You’ll also learn about the things that give English its special “music,” such as how to stress the right syllable in a word, how to make your voice go up and down in a natural-sounding melody, and how to naturally connect sounds and words. Learning these things will help you speak more clearly and make sure that others can understand what you're saying.
This course is useful for English language learners who want to improve pronunciation of American English for better communication.
Note that access to all of the lectures and handouts are free to anyone, but the graded assignments and quizzes are only available in the paid version of the course. You will need to submit recordings of your own pronunciation for graded assignments.


-In this course, you will learn about the consonant and vowel sounds of American English and practice some of the difficult sounds. You will also learn about and practice intonation and stress. Practicing these things will help you improve your pronunciation and make your speech easier for others to understand.

Tricky Consonant Sounds
-In this first week, you will practice the consonant sounds of American English. Consonants are the sounds where the air coming up from your lungs meets some obstacles on the way. The first sounds in the words time, sand, and moon are consonants. After a quick quiz to find out which consonant sounds are the most difficult for you, you’ll practice some pairs of sounds that might be confusing and learn some tricks for telling them apart, and you’ll start to understand how your mouth moves when you say these sounds.

Tricky Vowel Sounds
-This week, you’ll practice some tricky vowel sounds in American English. Vowels are sounds that come out of your mouth very smoothly, like the first sounds in apple, ocean, and out. Vowel sounds are very important for being understood in English. They’re the “heart” of each syllable, and they need to be said clearly to avoid misunderstanding. Our goal is to help you pronounce English in a way that can be easily understood by listeners in real life, and mastering vowel sounds is an important step toward that goal. Now let’s practice the vowel sounds of American English.

The Music of American English Pronunciation
-This week, you’ll learn about some things that give English its special rhythm and melody. You’ll learn about syllables—the small chunks of sound that make up the “beats” in words—and word stress—the way some parts of words are emphasized more than others. You’ll also see how some words become shorter and weaker when we talk. Since these words are used very often in ordinary speaking, we can’t understand spoken English without them. Our goal this week is to help you use the music of English to communicate more effectively and to be understood more easily when you speak. Enjoy learning about the music of American English pronunciation.

Other Tricky Things
-In this final week of the course, you'll look at a few more tricky points in American English pronunciation. First, you’ll learn about the different ways to pronounce the –s and –ed word endings, which have important grammatical meanings, and you’ll learn when to use each kind of pronunciation. Next, you’ll practice pronouncing numbers like 14 and 40, 15 and 50, 16 and 60 that can cause misunderstandings. You’ll also learn about the pronunciation of the words “can” and “can’t” –the difference between them might surprise you. Finally, you’ll practice some sound changes that happen when words come together in common spoken expressions like "gonna" for "going to," "wanna" for "want to," and "shoulda" for "should have."

Taught by

Tamy Chapman and Marla Yoshida

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4.3 rating, based on 11 reviews

Start your review of Tricky American English Pronunciation

  • Profile image for Inna Dronova
    Inna Dronova

    Inna Dronova completed this course.

    I wanted to say thank you To all of the teachers and developers for this course providing it for free. This course is good for people who already speak English and have some English language Knowledge, and just need help with American English pronunciation....
  • Profile image for Bharti Vashisth
    Bharti Vashisth

    Bharti Vashisth is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    this course is nice but just someone review my assigment because there is one assigment which is not review at yet

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    It is a good course for second language learners. It is very interesting. I love learning it. If you have time, you should try it. I'm sure, you will love to learn it. I finished all course but I'm not sure it gives a certificate because I do not receive it yet. But it is not important matter, you should try it.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Many problems on this course
    Assignment are not completed after the right answer submission ..
    Plz slow this as soon as possible
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    The course was very good.It is very helpful for who is trying to learn American English. I am loving to learn in coresera and I am recommended to everyone.Thank you...
  • Profile image for Nella Reka
    Nella Reka
    It's a very helpful course for non-native English teachers and English speakers. I learned a lot about linking, intonation, tricky consonant and vowel pairs, and musicality of American pronunciation. It will definitely improve your listening and speaking skills.
  • Masuma Sarmin Sumi is taking this course right now.

    As a teacher I want to improve my pronunciation skills.I am a Asian school teacher so whenever I teaches I feel some problem in my pronunciation.So need to improve this skill.I think after finishing this course it will help me a lot.
  • Profile image for Yaser Hashimi
    Yaser Hashimi

    Yaser Hashimi is taking this course right now, spending 7 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    I really appreciete you all to give us an opportunity to enrolle in this free course that really suit to me. I will try my best to follow the rules and persue the lessons that I will receive to use them in an accurate way.
  • is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This cousre is very good. It is about language. Is it a very good way to improve english. I recommand this cousre to all of you because it is great opportunity to have exeperience in such language reference.
  • Parmeet Kaur

    Parmeet Kaur is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Nyc website...and all courses is vey good....and beneficial for me.....and thanks for these courses free providing me
  • I'm going to improve my ielts skills. How can I learn English? To cut it short, I'm going to learning ielts skills.

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