Monday, June 5, 2017


The honest truth is, no and yes.

No, if you started speaking English daily, predominantly and in an English-speaking country after about the age of 15. You may speak very fluently, but you will never sound completely like a native-speaker. The reason is, the tension with which you hold the muscles of your mouth; the way you curve the many areas of your tongue, move your lips, open your jaw, and even breathe have all been set and determined by your first language.

In other words, the muscles needed for your first language are strong from many years of training. Those you now need for English are different and have not been developed early enough to sufficiently to define you.

But yes, by some fairly simple efforts you can remove the distracting aspects of your speech in English, and cultivate a beautiful, clear way of speaking so that everyone will see you for the competent, impressive person that you are.

You can achieve this in three steps:
  1. Identify your distinct problem sounds and “musical” challenges, depending on your first language, and forget the rest. What is difficult for Chinese speakers may not be a problem for French speakers. And, what is hard for the French may be simple for the Chinese. So don’t waste time on the problems of others.
  2. Work first by strengthening the muscles needed for your problem elements, and then by studying and practicing repetitions of these exercises.
  3. Work for short periods (maybe 5 minutes) several times a day… NOT for long stretches when you get around to it.
Frankly, serious improvement may require more help than a Tip can provide. My best suggestion (no surprise) is to read and study COMMUNICATING YOUR COMPETENCE (see to the left of this text).

But, if you are convinced that you cannot or will never achieve any real improvement, my best advice is:

If you do nothing else to improve your speech...SLOW DOWN!