In my job teaching the American accent, I advise and coach many people who were born in India but now work in the US.
Thousands of Indian born professionals living in the US have amazing technology, engineering and medical skills. American companies value their professionalism, knowledge and work ethic.
What many Indian born professionals lack though, is the ability to speak standard American English clearly and effectively. This keeps them from communicating clearly in the workplace, making new friends and moving up in their companies.
If you are an Indian English speaker you may be wondering just how the Indian accent differs from the American accent.
Here are four ways that the Indian accent and the American accent are different.
The American accent has rules for syllable stress that many Indians don’t use. Most Indians have trouble using the correct stress in words such as:
People from India don’t always distinguish the vowel sounds in /ae/ black and /e/ red. These are distinctly different sounds in American English. Examples include the words expand /ae/ and expend /e/.
Many Indian languages don’t articulate the voiced fricative consonant sound found in the words pleasure, measure or occasion. Indian English speakers tend to use a /z/ or /sh/ sound instead of the correct sound (the symbol for this sound is like a 3 with a tail).
The intonation that Indians use to ask questions and the intonation that Americans use to ask questions is also different. American English speakers rise on questions that can be answered with a YES or a NO. Indian speakers don’t always do this naturally and this can create misunderstandings.
Of course the “Indian accent” is not uniform. Indian English speakers include Tamil speakers, Malayalam speakers, Telegu speakers, Hindi speakers and many others. Each Indian language has its own unique characteristics. When you transfer these characteristics from your own language to American English, it often creates a strong accent.
In this short article I’ve briefly described four ways that the American accent is different than the Indian accent; syllable stress, the /ae/ and /e/ sounds, the voiced fricative sound in occasion and rising intonation in questions. Hopefully I’ve answered some questions you may have.
If you are an Indian English speaker who wants to speak American English more clearly you may want to consider American accent training for Indians.
Personal training will help you communicate more clearly in American English. This will help you in your job and in your career. I can help you achieve this.