About this Course
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In this course, you’ll practice the sounds of American English that might sometimes be confusing. You'll practice both consonant and vowel sounds. You’ll also learn about the things that give English its special “music,” such as how to stress the right syllable in a word, how to make your voice go up and down in a natural-sounding melody, and how to naturally connect sounds and words. Learning these things will help you speak more clearly and make sure that others can understand what you're saying. This course is useful for English language learners who want to improve pronunciation of American English for better communication. Note that access to all of the lectures and handouts are free to anyone, but the graded assignments and quizzes are only available in the paid version of the course. You will need to submit recordings of your own pronunciation for graded assignments....
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Beginner Level

Beginner Level

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Suggested: 3-4 hours per week for 4 weeks

Approx. 18 hours to complete
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English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Suggested: 3-4 hours per week for 4 weeks

Approx. 18 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
21 minutes to complete

Welcome

In this course, you will learn about the consonant and vowel sounds of American English and practice some of the difficult sounds. You will also learn about and practice intonation and stress. Practicing these things will help you improve your pronunciation and make your speech easier for others to understand....
Reading
2 videos (Total 1 min), 1 quiz
Video2 videos
Meet Your Teacherm
Clock
4 hours to complete

Tricky Consonant Sounds

In this first week, you will practice the consonant sounds of American English. Consonants are the sounds where the air coming up from your lungs meets some obstacles on the way. The first sounds in the words time, sand, and moon are consonants. After a quick quiz to find out which consonant sounds are the most difficult for you, you’ll practice some pairs of sounds that might be confusing and learn some tricks for telling them apart, and you’ll start to understand how your mouth moves when you say these sounds....
Reading
9 videos (Total 58 min), 8 readings, 5 quizzes
Video9 videos
Consonants Overview5m
Tricky Consonant Pairs Part 19m
Tricky Consonant Pairs Part 210m
Consonant Pairs Practice5m
Final Consonants and Consonant Clusters7m
Final Consonants Practice6m
Shadowing a Conversation4m
Pronunciation Tips5m
Reading8 readings
Consonants Pre-Test Directions5m
Supplemental Materials2m
Consonants Overview2m
Tricky Consonant Pairs2m
Final Consonant Clusters1m
Shadowing Directions2m
Shadowing Assignmentm
Pronunciation Tips3m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Consonants Pre-Test24m
Tricky Consonant Contrasts Practice Quiz10m
Final Consonants and Consonant Clusters Practice Quiz10m
Graded Quiz20m

2

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Tricky Vowel Sounds

This week, you’ll practice some tricky vowel sounds in American English. Vowels are sounds that come out of your mouth very smoothly, like the first sounds in apple, ocean, and out. Vowel sounds are very important for being understood in English. They’re the “heart” of each syllable, and they need to be said clearly to avoid misunderstanding. Our goal is to help you pronounce English in a way that can be easily understood by listeners in real life, and mastering vowel sounds is an important step toward that goal. Now let’s practice the vowel sounds of American English....
Reading
9 videos (Total 50 min), 7 readings, 5 quizzes
Video9 videos
Vowel Sounds Overview3m
Tricky Vowel Contrasts Part 17m
Tricky Vowel Contrasts Part 26m
Tricky Vowel Pairs Practice6m
Unstressed Vowels6m
Unstressed Vowels Practice5m
Shadowing a Conversation3m
Pronunciation Tips5m
Reading7 readings
Vowels Pre-Test Directions5m
Supplemental Materials5m
Tricky Vowel Contrasts2m
Unstressed Vowels1m
Shadowing Directions2m
Shadowing Assignmentm
Pronunciation Tips3m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Vowels Pre-Test24m
Tricky Vowels Practice Quiz10m
Unstressed Vowels Practice Quiz10m
Graded Quiz20m

3

Section
Clock
5 hours to complete

The Music of American English Pronunciation

This week, you’ll learn about some things that give English its special rhythm and melody. You’ll learn about syllables—the small chunks of sound that make up the “beats” in words—and word stress—the way some parts of words are emphasized more than others. You’ll also see how some words become shorter and weaker when we talk. Since these words are used very often in ordinary speaking, we can’t understand spoken English without them. Our goal this week is to help you use the music of English to communicate more effectively and to be understood more easily when you speak. Enjoy learning about the music of American English pronunciation....
Reading
11 videos (Total 66 min), 8 readings, 5 quizzes
Video11 videos
Syllables and Word Stress6m
Syllables and Word Stress Practice4m
Intonation8m
Intonation Practice8m
Linking in Connected Speech8m
Linking Connected Speech Practice6m
Reduced Words6m
Reduced Words Practice4m
Shadowing a Conversation2m
Pronunciation Tips6m
Reading8 readings
Supplemental Materials5m
Thought Groups and Intonation1m
Supplemental Materials5m
Connected Speech and Reducing Sounds1m
Supplemental Materials10m
Shadowing Directions10m
Shadowing Assignmentm
Pronunciation Tips3m
Quiz4 practice exercises
Syllables and Word Stress Practice Quiz10m
Intonation Practice Quiz10m
Connected Speech Practice Quiz10m
Graded Quiz20m

4

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Other Tricky Things

In this final week of the course, you'll look at a few more tricky points in American English pronunciation. First, you’ll learn about the different ways to pronounce the –s and –ed word endings, which have important grammatical meanings, and you’ll learn when to use each kind of pronunciation. Next, you’ll practice pronouncing numbers like 14 and 40, 15 and 50, 16 and 60 that can cause misunderstandings. You’ll also learn about the pronunciation of the words “can” and “can’t” –the difference between them might surprise you. Finally, you’ll practice some sound changes that happen when words come together in common spoken expressions like "gonna" for "going to," "wanna" for "want to," and "shoulda" for "should have."...
Reading
8 videos (Total 45 min), 8 readings, 5 quizzes
Video8 videos
-S and -Ed Endings Practice5m
Some Tricky Words6m
Some Tricky Words Practice6m
Common Linked Expressions5m
Common Linked Expressions Practice4m
Shadowing a Conversation3m
Pronunciation Tips5m
Reading8 readings
-S and -Ed Endings1m
Supplemental Materials10m
Tricky Words1m
Common Linked Expressions1m
Shadowing Directions2m
Shadowing Assignmentm
Pronunciation Tips3m
Learn More1m
Quiz4 practice exercises
-S and -Ed Endings Practice Quiz10m
Tricky Words Practice Quiz10m
Linked Expressions Quiz10m
Graded Quiz20m

Instructors

Tamy Chapman

Instructor, International Programs
University of California Irvine Division of Continuing Education

Marla Yoshida

Academic Coordinator
International Programs

About University of California, Irvine

Since 1965, the University of California, Irvine has combined the strengths of a major research university with the bounty of an incomparable Southern California location. UCI’s unyielding commitment to rigorous academics, cutting-edge research, and leadership and character development makes the campus a driving force for innovation and discovery that serves our local, national and global communities in many ways....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

  • You will need a computer, smart phone, or other recording device to record your voice in .mp3 format for graded assignments.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.