South 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 Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Nepali, Bengali, Tamil or another of the many languages of South Asia, before they learned English (referred to as SA1 speakers below). Here is a description of these frequently occurring south asian accent sound targets.  


W & V Sounds

How To Pronounce W & V Sounds

Adults who spoke a South Asian language before learning English regularly have difficulty using the English “v” and “w” sounds correctly. SA1 speakers will benefit from memorizing which sound goes with which letter in English and practice making the “w” sound with rounded lips and the “v” sound while gently biting on the lower lip.


The word “was” becomes “vus”

The word “whether” becomes “veder”

TH Sound

How To Pronounce TH Sounds

SA1 speakers often pronounce the TH sound with their tongue farther back than native Canadian and American English speakers. The latter pronounces these sounds with the tongue sandwiched between the top and the bottom teeth. As a result, SA1 speakers often substitute the TH sound with something that resembles a D or T sound. Consider the word “the,” do you pronounce it the same way as “duh?”


The word “through” becomes “true”

The word “although” become “aldo”

R Sound

How To Pronounce The R Sound

SA1 speakers tend to have a stronger “r” sounds than the typical Canadian or American English speaker. Part of our work is to reduce the rolling and robustness of the South Asian R sound to make it sound more like the Canadian/American English R. 

T & D Sounds

How To Pronounce T & D Sounds

SA1 adults commonly pronounce their "t" and "d" sounds with their tongue farther back in their mouths than a native English speaker. The result of this is that the "t" and "d" sounds sound heavier than the flickering Canadian/American English "t" and "d" sounds.  SA1 speakers will benefit from learning a new tongue placement pattern for the "t" and "d" sounds, and then systematically and hierarchically practicing this new way of making these sounds. 

Hooked U Sound

How To Pronounce The Hooked U Sound

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, SA1 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 SA1 speaker without specific practice with this sound, you probably pronounce them the same. The "hooked u" is an easy skill to grasp and we will guide you through this minor pronunciation adjustment.