Some languages speak each word separately and precisely, while American English links words and phrases together, sometimes using reduction, which would be a foreign concept for these native speakers. Other languages employ more subtle intonation with their questions and sentences, therefore, learning the rhythm of English intonation may present the challenge of knowing when and where to place stress. This brief article will address most common Farsi speakers English mispronunciations and effective tools for them to develop their American English accent successfully.
Consequently, Farsi speakers endeavoring to acquire American English will, more than likely, experience similar challenges in the development of their English pronunciation. Are you a Farsi speaker? Are you on the journey to American English fluency? Most likely, you have encountered some of the same challenges faced by other Farsi speakers.
One commonly mispronounced sound it the voiced TH sound. Most Farsi speakers will use the D sound instead of the voiced TH sound. In American English, the voiced TH sound is created by positioning the tip of your tongue on your front teeth as your vocal cords vibrate… TH…TH. Looking into a mirror while articulating this sound can prove to be helpful. Practice the words “these” and “those”. Can you feel how your tongue vibrates on your teeth at the beginning of each word?
Likewise, Farsi speakers may encounter some difficulty with the American voiceless TH sound as well. They may use the S sound in place of the voiceless TH sound because they misunderstand the placement of the tongue within their mouth. The voiceless TH is situated in the mouth exactly like the voiced TH sound, only the vocal cords are not involved. As you place your tongue on your front teeth and push air through, create the quiet TH sound…TH…TH. Try saying the words “think” and “thought”. Pay close attention to how your vocal cords aren’t used until you pronounce the vowel sounds in these words. Articulating these sounds may present a challenge. But with concentration along with repetition, you’ll be fluently pronouncing these words before you know it.
Another habitually mispronounced sound within the Farsi-speaking community is the S sound. Often, this sound will be accompanied by the EH vowel sound: “ES” will be articulated at the beginning of a word starting with S. To avoid adding this vowel sound put your hand on your throat as you say the S sound by itself. There will be no vibration from the vocal cords. If you pronounce EH sound before the S sound, your vocal cords will vibrate. Practice the S sound alone at first; then, practice saying the word “school”. Notice that your throat isn’t vibrating until you say “ool”. Also, if you pause just a half second before pronouncing “school”, this will help you focus on only saying the S sound; for instance, say “private”, then pause before articulating the SK sound followed by the vibrating “ool”. “Private school”…“Private school”.
Zizifox.com is an extremely helpful website for discovering how to pronounce challenging English words. You can search for difficult words and a YouTube video will play giving an example of your search word right at the beginning of the video. This will provide an illustration of how the average American pronounces your word.
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