East Asian Accents

An accent occurs when sound patterns from the native language(s) influence the pronunciation in the second or third language. Although every accent is different, there are popular mispronunciations for adults who learned Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Japanese, or Korean before they learned English (referred to as EA1 speakers below). Here is a description of these frequently occurring east asian accent sound targets.  

Final L Sound

How To Pronounce The Final L Sound

Final L

EA1 speakers, especially Mandarin and Cantonese speakers, often drop the final "L” sound in words because in the some East Asian it is non-existent.  To improve your pronunciation of the final "L" sound, we will practice pronouncing the sound from simple activities and progressing to harder ones until you are consistently using the final "L" sounds as required in real-world conversations. 


The word "fall" becomes "fao"

The word "Carol" becomes "Caro"

Short I Sound

How To Pronounce The Short I Sound

Short I

EA1 speakers commonly elongate their “i” sounds so that a word like “tin” sounds like the word “teen.” Part of our work is training the EA1 speaker to learn a new vowel sound for “i” and apply that new vowel sound to words containing the short "i" sounds.


The word “bin” becomes “bean”

The word “fit” becomes “feet”

The word “pinnacle” become “peenacle” 

TH Sounds

How To Pronounce TH Sounds

TH voiced/unvoiced

EA1 speakers often pronounce the TH sound with their tongue farther back than native Canadian and American English speakers. The ltater pronounces these sounds with the tongue sandwiched between the top and the bottom teeth. As a result, many EA1 speakers often substitute the TH sound with something that resembles a D or T sound, whereas adults who speak Japanese as their native language pronounce the "th" sounds like an "s" sounds. Consider the word “the,” do you pronounce it the same way as “duh?” Japanese speakers, do you pronounce "thing" like "sing"?


The word “through” becomes “true”

The word “although” become “aldo”

L Sounds

How To Pronounce The L Sounds

L and L-blends

Some EA1 speakers (e.g. Mandarin and Cantonese) have no trouble with the "l" sounds, whereas some do (e.g. Korean and Japanese). For those that do, they either curl/pull their tongue back father than the native Canadian/American English speaker or they leave their tongue flatter than native Canadian/American English speakers when pronouncing the "l" sounds. The result is that words like "love" can sounds like "ruv" and "loop" can sounds like "roop" 


The word "lots" sounds like "rots" or "watts"


The word "plane" sounds like "pwane" or "prane"

R Sound

How To Pronounce The R Sound

Weak R 

EA1 speakers commonly have difficulty with the "r" sounds. There are many different types of "r" sounds in English, and some may be harder for you than others. The "r" sound is mispronounced when the speaker doesn't curl or pull back their tongue as far back as the average native Canadian/American speaker would. If you have trouble pronouncing words like "run," "print" or "drawbridge" then contact us for more information on how you can improve your pronouciation of the "r" sound.


Hooked U Sound

How To Pronounce The Hooked U Sound

Hooked U

English is a tricky language from a pronunciation perspective. There are more vowels than most other languages and often the intended vowel is not clearly indicated by the spelling. For this reason, E1 speakers often have a hard time with a sound called the "hooked u." The "hooked u" is a sound that often is symbolized by a double "o, " like in "look." Consider for a moment the difference between "look" and "Luke". Do you pronounce them the same, or differently? If you are a EA1 speaker without specific practice with this sound, you probably pronounce them the same. The "hooked u" is an easy skill to grasp and we are here to guide you through this minor pronunciation adjustment.