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Showing 1-10 of 24 reviews (4 star)show all reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Ann Cook managed to put together a clear-cut method which successfully sensitizes non-native speakers of English to the dynamics and peculiarities of spoken English at the discourse level. By means of the staircase or "jump up & step down" intonation pattern, she highlights the importance of PITCH as the main marker of prominence. Moreover, her explanation of the origin and pronunciation of nominal compounds (set phrases), such as "cable car", "blue jeans" and "party animal", on page 25, filled with real-life examples and insightful comments, is certainly one of a kind. However, there are a few shortcomings that are worth mentioning: In her effort to make the book as user-friendly as possible, she equates "putting stress on a word" to " making intonation" which leads students to the mispercetion that adjectives in descriptive phrases, such as "yellow house",and verbs followed by proper nouns as in "John bought the car" should be completely toned down or that a word/syllable that receives sentence stress is ALWAYS the highest in pitch. Besides, there is very little information on phrasing, that is, on how thought groups are usually formed. For this reason, I'd recommend that whoever is interested in using her book, first get acquainted with the distinction between FUNCTION WORDS and CONTENT WORDS and the grammar-based process behind the formation of THOUGHT GROUPS. Although the terms sound difficult, I can assure you the idea is pretty simple and you won't have trouble understanding it. It can certainly be "googled" or found in any good pronunciation book such as Linda Grant's WELL-SAID. A final word of advice: beware of the pronunciation of the diphthong "OU" in words like "mouth", "about", "loud", as read by Ann Cook herself. Run these words by your American friends and see if they really pronounce them with the frontal vowel of "cat" + "oo" ( for lack of phonetic symbols) as "maéuth", "abaéut", "laéud" as heard on the CD's. I suspect many of them do not.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I checked out this book for some friends, comparing it with "Mastering the American Accent." Both books are quite good.

A key thing I realized in these books is that while pronunciation and accent are related, they are different. Somebody can have perfect pronunciation, one sound at a time, but still have the words and sentences not sound right.

Examples: Which part of the word has the accent? How about phrases were sound-wise, certain words are merged to sound like one word? Or of course the words that when said on their own sound one way, but said in the middle of a sentence sound fairly different. And then just the sheer musicality of a sentence that makes it sound like native pronunciation or not.

My impression is that "American Accent Training" does a better job on the subtle and more advanced points, but that "Mastering the American Accent" goes over the basic sounds more thoroughly, and thus is a bit earlier in the learning stage. If you can't reliably make all of the English sounds, find another book to help you master that, and then get this one.

"American Accent Training" has fun exercises, and really gets at the finer points of sounding like a native.

On a related note, in working with friends on pronunciation, I've noticed one challenge is for them to simply be able to faithfully produce certain sounds. It's a matter of mastering the physical mouth--lips--tongue--throat stuff to getting the right sounds. If this is your struggle, and you can find a DVD or computer program that shows how to make those sounds, I'd recommend it.

One more thing: if you learned your English in school in a foreign country and were tested on spelling, you probably have a bunch of un-learning to do. English spelling is a terrible guide for how to pronunce words.

Good luck!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Before you start this training, you need to record and hear your own voice. Record your voice every week you use the training to see the transformation in your accent. The book told me to call someone but it was expensive.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Hi everybody.

I've got this book in amazon. It was delivered last week in perfect conditions, no scratches in CDs by the way, and I've begun with the practices this week.

I am from Mexico City, and in this city it's quite difficult to get a good english pronunciation. The most important and famous schools here focus in grammar, a little in listening and barely in pronunciation. Then you can here anybody who learned English speaks with several mistakes of pronunciation.

I don't wanna be one of those whose accent causes native people get bored or annoyed.

The practices seem to be great and the author catches the most important mistakes in every nationality she mentioned. I think she showed me in her book some mistakes that I hardly noticed.

It was a good purchase.

P.S. Sorry if I had grammar mistakes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This books is great for those who are tyring to have an better English accent. I have no dobut you will be satisfied with the outcome of studying with the book. However, don't ever buy the book in the hope of getting rid of your accent. you can reduce it, but it is impossible to remove your accent if English is not your first language. As long as you keep my advice in mind, this book will be the perfect guide to improving your English accent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I am still taking this course, so it may be a little early to comment. But based on my first few weeks of course, I believe it is a good resource for the objective as a starter. Rest all depends on how well and how much you practise it in your day to day conversations.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I love this book. The intonation is great I love the most. It have lots of sentences with intonation. But on the other hand, the gap for repeating is so close, hard to do it. It should have been slower. However the dianogtis test is 100 bucks which is pretty expensive compared to the book. It should have cost around 50 bucks or lower otherwise main purpose is to make money from the test not from the book. I like the technique la la la, me me me, duh duh duh, but I don't like the rubber band technique for everytime you stress on words. It seems doesn't work at all. I love the linking like woundn't he= wun don ni, is he= i zi and so on. In general, the intonation was great compared to the book of Master American Accent that I have costing 70 bucks, it has more detail on linking but I don't like the intonation which is boring. I'd recommend anyone for the Master... book if want more on linking words and pronunciation. If Mrs Ann Cook slower on speaking, and lower the dianogtis test, the book would be the best seller. I love the intonation. It was great compared to many books that I bought.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2010
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
American Accent Training is an exceptional training manual for anyone learning English as a second language and teachers of the same. The book is loaded with practical, helpful information related to how consonants and vowels are produced in American English, inflection, grammar and "real" speech samples. There are many words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs for practicing each segment. The CDs enhance learning by providing clear spoken models of the printed exercises.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I prectice twice a week, and my pronunciation is improving alot.

the book is great and the excersices are not easy but thats the best part of the book
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I started from a very low expectaion, but soon found it very helpful. I am not aiming at acquring American accent since I am living far way from the State and have many friends who are more familiar with British accent. But, Cook's instruction helped me a lot to be more sensitive to intonation and stress of English words and sentences, and now I can speak even more clearly. I do not speak fast, but getting louder and practicing stress pattern already made a great difference. I recommend it to especially those who have difficulty in properly "speaking up" for some reasons.
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