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Subject: helping someone with English pronunciation
Question: Hello,

I am a musician and college music professor. At the parish at which I attend church, our priest is Nigerian and speaks with a heavy accent, to the point where his English is sometimes unintelligible. This is frustrating for parishioners, as they cannot understand parts of his sermons.

I have offered to help him with his pronunciation of certain English sounds. He has agreed to accept my help.

I have no formal experience with linguistics; however, I grew up in a bi-lingual (German/English) family, and am gifted with communicating with and therefore helping international students. I taught Ear Training for 15+ years, and have an acute ability to recognize what creates sounds. Therefore, I believe that, with God's help, progress can be made.

Can you please give recommendations as to how I could get started on working with our priest on improving his accent when speaking English? For example, some helpful text we could work out of, or ways in which I could help, would be of great help to me.

Thank you very much for your service, and for your kind consideration.

Best wishes,

Francesca Tanksley

Reply: I presume you are looking for resources leading to awareness of American English accents, judging from information on your website about your current location. One of the issues is of course that Nigerian English accents draw on British English.

You could try Judy B. Gilbert’s _Clear Speech_ book, for General American accents:

http://bit.ly/1iLXs4k

Her emphasis is on speech prosody, which should speak to your (and perhaps your priest’s?) musical training. Speech “sounds” aren’t the prime suspects in intelligibility glitches.

In case this is relevant to your purposes, the Clear Speech series includes a phone app:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pronunciation-clear-speech/id440534807?mt=8

Madalena
Reply From: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira      click here to access email
 
Date: 08-Dec-2013
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: helping someone with English pronunciation    James L Fidelholtz     (07-Dec-2013)
  2. Re: helping someone with English pronunciation    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (07-Dec-2013)
  3. Re: helping someone with English pronunciation    Herbert Frederic Stahlke     (08-Dec-2013)
  4. Re: helping someone with English pronunciation    Susan D Fischer     (07-Dec-2013)
  5. Re: helping someone with English pronunciation    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (09-Dec-2013)

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