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Vocal Delivery Resources

Click here to go right to the list of mispronounced words. But first, here are some key resources relating to accurate and clear vocal delivery:

HEAR how to pronounce ANY word

How to use these resources:

  1. Try to impersonate what you hear. Concentrate on getting the RHYTHM (cadence) right. It’s harder to fix how you are stressing syllables than to simply change pitch. So get the stress right, which “feels” like practicing the RHYTHM of the word.
  2. Make certain you are listening to the ENGLISH pronunciation.
  3. Listen to AT LEAST three. Sometimes one is not quite right. If two are identical, use those. If one is a little different, ignore that one.

Here are some top places to hear audio of words being spoken:

  1. Medical pronunciations
  2. Talking Dictionary
  3. Merriam Webster Audio
  4. How To Pronounce
  5. Forvo guide

Find words to practice, and listen to the correct pronunciations.

How to Find Words to Practice

Some you already know. Write those down (and any you notice over time). Second, ask your friends. Write those down. Third, record yourself from time to time to find more problem words. Write those down.

In practicing any script, when you have ANY issue, write down the two-to-three words involved. Often the problem is how two words fit together, a tongue-twister-type problem, and not simply a single word issue. Your goal is to COLLECT WORDS! So don’t say “I’ll get that right next time”. Write down ANYTHING that every causes a stumble to practice. The bigger your list, the better you get.

Keep updating your list of the words you have trouble with, and PRACTICE THOSE WORDS! Talent often don’t practice because they aren’t sure what to do. Don’t stop trying because you’re unclear on what to do! Your GOAL is to find out WHAT IS HARD and work on that more than other things. Click here to set up a call (existing students click here instead) and/or use some of the resources above and below when you feel stuck…even if get stuck right away. Get help!

Oh, Ya: Fix a Rural Accent Y’all

For “rural”-type accents (Minnesota, Southern, Greater Appalachia, etc.), shorten your vowels on accented words.

Outside urban areas, speech is more relaxed, sounds are drawn out, everything takes a little longer. City dwellers are in a bigger rush, generally.

So how is speech slowed down? Mainly vowels. Shorter, punchier, sharper “staccato” sounds (the “k” sound, for example) can’t be easily stretched. Slower, more “legato” vowel sounds are easily drawn out, however. In fact, often shorter, punchier vowel sounds (think of the “i” in “it”) are mispronounced to make it possible to stretch them out and slow down speech.

The hardest thing to fix when slowing down a sound is the length of syllables has changed: the RHYTHM (stress/cadence) of the word has changed. So first you must concentrate on feeling how the RHYTHM (stress/cadence) has to change. And the first step is shortening vowel sounds on words that have a rural accent, such as the Minnesota “o” in, e.g. “Oooh yaah”.

Vocabulary-Improving links:

English vocabulary resources:

If you want to study a variety of vocabulary lessons AND be able to choose your level,
Here are some specific resources for learning to speak better, oriented around vocabulary and idioms (common phrases)

Some other links to help improve your vocabulary:

101 Most Mispronounced Words

Listen
WORD
😊 CORRECT PRONUNCIATION
😢 INCORRECT

► Exercise for Voice Talent:

Add any words you don’t know to your daily articulation practice:
 Click any word below to hear how it is pronounced (opens in new tab)
Acaí
ah-SAH-EE
ACK-ah-ee ; ah-KAI
Accessory
Ack-SESS-or-ee
Assessory
Affidavit
aff-ih-DAVE-it
Affadavid
Affluent
AFF-loo-ent
uh-FLOO-ent
Albeit
all-BE-it
all-bite, all-BAY-it
Ambrosia
“am-BROH-zhah”
Anise
“AN-ihss”
(British: uh-NEES)
Anonymous
uh-NON-uh-muhs
Antarctic
Ant-ARK-tic
Antartic
Arctic
ART-tic
Artic
Ask
Ask
aks, ax
Asterisk
ASS-ter-isk
Asteriks
Athletic
Ath-LET-tik
Athaletic
Athlete
ATH-leet
Athalete
Awry
uh – RYE
AW-ree
Barbed Wire
Barbed Wire
Bob Wire
Barbiturate
Bar-BIT-cher-ut
Barbituate
Bruschetta
Broo-SKETT-ah
brush-ET-uh
Candidate
CAND-id-ut
CAN-nih-date
Caramel
KEHR-ah-mehl”or KAR-ah-mehl
CAR-mul
Cavalry
CAV-ul-ree
Calvary (this is a completely different word)
Celtic
The C’s are both  k sounds
SELL-tik
Chutzpah “kHUT-spa” kH = slightly aspirated H. “U” as in “put”
Citizen SIT-ih-zen SIT-ih-sen
Clothes
A Very Soft [Th] Sound
Close
Comptroller
“con-TROLL-er”
“comp-TROLL-er” though becoming accepted
Colleague
“KAHL-eeg”
Don’t pronounce the final ue.
Costs
Don’t overdo the “sts”
Croissant
“kwah-SAHN”; “KWAH-sawn”; “kruh-SAHNT”
crescent
Data
Dayta most common, but DATa also correct.
Listen
WORD
😊 CORRECT PRONUNCIATION
😢 INCORRECT
Desktop DESK top DEStop
Digital DIJ-ih-tul DIJ-iddle
Dilate
Dilate
Dialate
Diphtheria
Di/F/Theria This Ph Is “F” Not “P”
Diptheria
Drown, drowned
Drown, drowned
Drownd, drownded
Edamame
“eh-dah-MAH-meh”
EH-duh-mame
Electoral
e-LEC-toral
e-lec-TOR-al
Environment environment envire-ment
Especially
Especially
Expecially
Espresso
Espresso
Expresso
Ethnicity
eth-NIS-i-tee
eth-NICK-ity
Etcetera/Etc
et – SET– er – uh
Ex-ET-er-uh, ex-SET-truh
Facilitate
fuh-SILL-i-tate
FA-sill-uh-tate
February
Feb-ROO-ary
Febyuary
Federal
Federal
Fedral
Foie Gras
“FWAH GRAH”
foy groy
Foliage
FO-lee-age
Foil-age
General JEN-er-al JEN-rul
Gif
Not a “J” sound, but a hard G
Government GUV-ern-ment GUV-er-ment
Gyro
JY-roh or YEE-roh
GEE-ro
Height
hite
hite-th
Hospital HOSS-pit-ul HOSS-piddle
Homage HOM-idge, or “o-MAHJ” (French)
Hummus
HUMM-uhs
KHUM-uhs, HOO-mus
Internet inter-net innernet
Jalapeño
hah-lah-PEH-nyoh
hah-lah-PEE-nyoh
Jewelry
JOO-el-ree
JOO-ler-ee
Lease leese Leash
Liable
li-a-ble
LIE-bul
Library
Three syllables-li-bra-ry, not li-bary
Listen
WORD
😊 CORRECT PRONUNCIATION
😢 INCORRECT
Masonry
Masonry
Masonary
Mayonnaise
MAY-uh-nayz
Man-ayz
Miniature
MIN-ee-uh-cher
MIN-uh-cher
Mischievous
MIS-chuh-vus
“mis-CHEE-vee-us” NOT 4 syllables
Mozzarella
“maht-suh-REHL-lah”; “moht-suh-REHL-lah”
mozz-uh-rella
Niche
Nitch or Neesh are both correct. Ask for preference
“ni-chay”
Nuclear
NU-klee-ar
NUKE-you-ler
Nuptial
NUP-shull
NUP-shoo-ul
Often
The “t” is silent (most preferred pronunciation)
Hearing the “t” is becoming accepted
Parliament
Use a brief “Y” Sound After The L
Parlament
Particularly
par-TIK-yuh-ler-lee
per-TIK-leree
Pastoral
pas-TOR-al
Pecan
Options: “pih-KAHN”; “pih-KAN”; “PEE-kan”
Perspective per-SPECK-tiv
Perspire
Per-SPIRE
Prespire
Phenomenon
fi-NOM-uh-nun
fi-NOM-uh-non
Picture
pic-shur” or pic-tchur
pitcher
Pollute
Pollute
Plute
Prejudice
PREH-juh-dis
Prerogative
pre – ROG– uh – tiv
per-OG-uh-tiv
Prescription
pre – SKRIP – Shun”
Perscription
Probably
Probably
Probly or Prolly
Pronunciation
Pro-nun-see-ay-shun
Pronounce-ee-ay-shun
Prostate
Prostate
Prostrate
Realtor
Realtor
Realator
Regularly
REG-yuh-ler-lee
REG-uh-ler-lee
Ricotta
rih-KAHT-tuh; “ree-KOH-tah
Sherbet
SHER-biht, no second “R”
“Sure, Burt”
Silicon
Silicon
Silicone
Sommelier
saw-muh-LYAY
some-AWL-ee-er
Statistics
stuh-TIS-tiks
suh-TIS-tiks
Supposedly
Supposedly
Supposably
Tamale
tuh-MAH-lee
tuh-male
Temperature TEM-per-uh-cher TEMP-uh-cher
Triathlon
Triathlon
Triathalon
Turmeric
TER-muh-rihk, ter-MARE-ik
TOO-mer-ick
Utmost
Utmost
Upmost
Wasn’t
Wasn’t
Wadn’t
Wednesday
The first d and the second e are silent
Yolk
Yoke
Listen
WORD
😊 CORRECT PRONUNCIATION
😢 INCORRECT