8 Tips for Being Understood Better NOW

By Ilana Shydlo / March 15, 2022

Occasional misunderstandings are inevitable during conversations. Still, it can be frustrating to see a confused look on your conversation partner’s face, or to have to repeat yourself multiple times in order to be understood. Having said that, there are some tricks you can use to get a conversat...

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Accent coach nitpicks My Fair Lady

By Ilana Shydlo / July 1, 2018

I was inspired to write this blog post after seeing My Fair Lady on Broadway. Although I saw the film version in high school, seeing this musical live for the first time was a wonderful experience: the music was superb, the set and costume design breathtaking, and I found myself utterly absorbed....

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Silent Letters Video Blog

By Ilana Shydlo / November 1, 2017

In this video blog post, we answer the question: what’s up with English having so many words that are spelled totally different from how they’re pronounced? This vlog is a follow-up to this blog post, which contains lots of examples of words to practice containing silent letters. Stil...

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The Most Awe-Inspiring New York Accent Tip

By Ilana Shydlo / October 1, 2017

Want to learn how to do the famous, classic New York accent? There are several features that make the New York City accent unique. One of the most key – yet hard-to-master – defining features is that the vowel “aw” can sometimes appear in unexpected places. In comparison to the Standa...

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4 Things People with Accents Wished You Knew

By Ilana Shydlo / September 1, 2017

As an accent coach, I’ve worked with people from all areas of the world and from all corners of the United States. The people I work with tell me that a major factor that contributes to their seeking out Standard American accent lessons is the desire to have others hear them clearly and focus on ...

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The Five Types of “t” Sounds Video Blog

By Ilana Shydlo / August 1, 2017

In this video blog post, we answer the age-old question: What’s up with all the different ways to pronounce “t” in English, and how do you know which pronunciation to use? This vlog is a follow-up to this blog post, which contains even more helpful examples of words to practice containing the dif...

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An Honest Answer to “Do I Need Accent Reduction?”

By Ilana Shydlo / July 1, 2017

Here’s how it goes: I meet someone for the first time, and the question of what I do for work inevitably comes up. I tell them that I’m an accent reduction instructor, and if the person has an accent, the next question is almost always: “What do you think – do I need accen...

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Why can’t some people hear their own accents?

By Ilana Shydlo / June 1, 2017

In a previous blog post, 5 Myths About Why You Have an Accent, I discussed what causes people to have a foreign accent in American English. Accents are a result of your spoken English being filtered through the sound system of your first language. In other words, your mouth is most comfortable ma...

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Can you ever completely lose your foreign accent?

By Ilana Shydlo / May 1, 2017

One of the most frequently asked questions I get as an American accent instructor is, “Can adults ever completely lose their foreign accents?” This is certainly an important and relevant question for anyone wanting to sound like a native speaker of American English. The short answer is that it is...

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American /s/ vs. British /z/

By Ilana Shydlo / April 1, 2017

In this video blog post, we discuss a small, subtle difference between how some words with “s” are pronounced between American and British English. This tip may be most useful if you are trying to learn an American accent, but are coming from a starting point of being more familiar with British E...

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