If you are looking to learn American English pronunciation then
is a fantastic place to visit! It is full with
free online step-by-step guidance. You can find there videos, charts,
diagrams, blog posts and exercises. And it's all clearly organized so
you won't get lost in that wealth of materials.
Rachel has built
quite a following, both on her YouTube channel and on Facebook, and
she's helping countless people to improve their American English
So I am very happy to have her answering some questions for the benefit
of everyone's English accent…
You have such an incredible site! It's a true paradise to someone who
wants to improve his or her accent. How did it all start?
all started when I was in Germany studying German at a language
institute. I had classmates from all over the world, and some
them were interested in English too. I was talking one day
friend from Turkey, and I taught him how to make the AA
said, "You're really good at that." That gave me the idea.
2. Is it
really possible for a foreign person to accomplish a natural American
think it is really hard and takes a very specific skill set, but I have
met a few people who sound native who did not grow up around
English. I think a musical background is helpful: a
fine-tuned ear, the ability to mimic the pitch, rhythm, and character
of a language. Though most people who did not grow up around
English won't have a completely native accent, anyone can
improve. It's a matter of understanding the concepts (mouth
position for a sound, reduction and linking) and then drilling them
into muscle memory over and over. It is helpful when possible
have a coach to check it with to keep you on the right track.
to your experience, what is the most difficult new sound for students?
really depends on what the student's native language is. I
probably taught more people from South Korea than anywhere else, and
getting the R and L correct is a big challenge!
which stage of the English study process should a student start
"worrying" about having a proper accent?
an ideal situation, students are getting good pronunciation coaching at
the same time they start learning English (learning from a native, or
someone with a very good accent). If you learn words but are
saying them poorly, that is just another thing that will have to be
unlearned and relearned later. As soon as a student of
able to obtain and understand pronunciation material, that is the time
to work on it! Then less time will be used to correct bad
to your experience, what are the best types of exercises for correct
that focus on just one or two things at a time, and that have a lot of
repetition. For example, if I am working with someone who
up or mispronounces R's and L's, I will have him/her read a passage
holding out that sound every time it appears: "RRRRachelllll
rrrreads slllllowllllly." I don't worry about linking,
other sounds, etc. Being comfortable with the sound in isolation and
drilling that movement into muscle memory has to happen before
naturally integrating that sound into conversation.
6. You also
offer a "1-on-1" service. Could you tell us more about it?
offer two different 1-on-1 services. The first is an
where a student sends me a video reading a text, and I spend time
analyzing mistakes. I'll then make a video response where I
edit in parts of the student's video to illustrate the
problems. Understanding one's issues are an important first
step. I had
very motivated student who took her evaluation, and with that
information knew exactly what to work on and did just that, resulting
in an unbelievable improvement in her accent.
service is private pronunciation coachings through
have been very popular and so at times I don't have space in my
schedule to take new students. It is a lot of fun ... I get
learn so much about other cultures while helping people improve their
7. What are
you doing when you are not helping students improve their American
think some people will be surprised ... in addition to my website and
pronunciation lessons, I currently work for a non-profit in Manhattan
that provides affordable housing. For relaxation, I love
and especially baking. I am lucky to live close to a major
Farmer's Market in Manhattan, and think it's important to eat food
grown locally when possible. I am also a huge classical music
theater fan – NYC is a great place to live for that!
8. Where in
the globe can we find you?
New York City.
9. Any future
projects you are working on?
have A LOT of ideas for new resources I can bring my users on Rachel's English, including audio courses that I hope to start working
the New Year.
great advice right
there. Thanks a lot for sharing, Rachel!
And I'll leave you with a
sample of Rachel's work: a video where she teaches English
expression and the correct American
English pronunciation for it.