Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the American English Vowels for Mandarin Chinese Speakers!

    • Welcome to the course!

    • How this course is unique

    • Additional resources

    • How to use this course / FAQs / Troubleshooting

    • Before we begin...

    • Mission #1: Introduce Yourself

  • 2

    Best practice techniques

    • How to practice: Muscle memory and imitation

    • How much practice do you need?

    • More practice tips!

  • 3

    The vowels of Mandarin Chinese vs. American English

    • The vowels of Mandarin Chinese vs. American English

    • Top 6 Pronunciation Challenges

    • Mission #2: Challenging Vowels

  • 4

    Adventures in speaking English from a native Mandarin Chinese Speaker

    • Introduction

    • Interview

    • Mission #3: Your Experience Learning English

  • 5

    Vowels: Foundation Skills

    • Introduction to Vowel Reductions

    • Vowel Reductions

    • Vowel Length

    • Tense vs. Lax Vowels

    • Nasality

    • Vowel Tense_Lax Audio_full_regular

    • Mission #4: Vowel Foundations

  • 6

    The International Phonetic Alphabet: Vowels

    • IPA: Vowels

    • IPA: Online Resources

    • IPA: Vowels Quiz

    • Mission #5: IPA

  • 7

    EE /i/ and IH /ɪ/ Vowels

    • Intro to Vowel Pronunciation Chapters

    • Introduction to the EE /i/ and IH /ɪ/ Vowels

    • How to pronounce the EE /i/ Vowel

    • EE /i / Vowel: Words

    • EE /i/ vowel: Sentences

    • EE /i/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • How to Pronounce the IH /ɪ/ Vowel

    • IH /ɪ/ Vowel: Words

    • IH /ɪ/ vowel: Sentences

    • IH / ɪ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • EE /i/ and IH /ɪ/: Minimal Pairs

    • EE /i/ and IH /ɪ/: Looped Practice

    • EE /i/ and IH /ɪ/: Listening Quiz

    • Mission #6: EE /i/ and IH /ɪ/ Vowels

  • 8

    AA /æ/, UH /ʌ/, and AH /ɑ/ Vowels

    • Introduction to the AA /æ/, UH /ʌ/, and AH /ɑ/ Vowels

    • How to Pronounce the AA /æ/ Vowel

    • AA /æ/ Vowel: Words

    • AA /æ/ vowel: Sentences

    • AA /æ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • How to Pronounce the UH /ʌ/ Vowel

    • UH /ʌ/ Vowel: Words

    • UH /ʌ/ Vowel: Sentences

    • UH /ʌ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • How to Pronounce the AH /ɑ/ Vowel

    • AH /ɑ/ Vowel: Words

    • AH /ɑ/ Vowel: Sentences

    • AH /ɑ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • AA /æ/, UH /ʌ/, and AH /ɑ/: Minimal Pairs

    • AA /æ/, UH /ʌ/, and AH /ɑ/: Looped Practice

    • AA /æ/, UH /ʌ/, and AH /ɑ/: Listening Quiz

    • Mission #7: AA /æ/, UH /ʌ/, and AH /ɑ/ Vowels

  • 9

    AY /eɪ/ and EH /ɛ/ Vowels

    • Introduction to the AY /eɪ/ and EH /ɛ/ vowels

    • How to Pronounce the AY /eɪ/ vowel

    • AY /eɪ/ vowel: Words

    • AY /eɪ/ vowel: Sentences

    • AY /eɪ/ vowel: Looped Practice

    • How to Pronounce the EH /ɛ/ Vowel

    • EH /ɛ/ Vowel: Words

    • EH /ɛ/ vowel: Sentences

    • EH /ɛ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • AY /eɪ/ and EH /ɛ/: Minimal Pairs

    • AY /eɪ/ and EH /ɛ/: Looped Practice

    • AY /eɪ/ and EH /ɛ/: Listening Quiz

    • Mission #8: AY /eɪ/ and EH /ɛ/

  • 10

    OO /u/ and UH /ʊ/ Vowels

    • Introduction to the OO /u/ and UH /ʊ/ Vowels

    • How to Pronounce the OO /u/ Vowel

    • OO /u/ Vowel: Words

    • OO /u/ vowel: Sentences

    • OO /u/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • How to Pronounce the UH /ʊ/ Vowel

    • UH /ʊ/ Vowel: Words

    • UH /ʊ/ vowel: Sentences

    • UH /ʊ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • OO /u/ and UH /ʊ/: Minimal Pairs

    • OO /u/ and UH /ʊ/: Looped Practice

    • OO /u/ and UH /ʊ/: Listening Quiz

    • Mission #9: OO /u/ and UH /ʊ/ Vowels

  • 11

    Schwa UH /ə/ Vowel

    • Introduction to the Schwa UH /ə/ Vowel

    • How to Pronounce the Schwa UH /ə/ Vowel

    • Schwa UH /ə/ Vowel: Words

    • Schwa UH /ə/ vowel: Sentences

    • Schwa UH /ə/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • Schwa /ə/ Vowel: Minimal Pairs

    • Schwa /ə/ Vowel: Minimal Pairs Looped Practice

    • Schwa /ə/ Vowel: Listening Quiz

    • Mission #10: The Schwa /ə/ Vowel

  • 12

    OH /oʊ/ and OW /aʊ/ Vowels

    • Introduction to the OH /oʊ/ and OW /aʊ/ Vowels

    • How to Pronounce the OH /oʊ/ Vowel

    • OH /oʊ/ Vowel: Words

    • OH /oʊ/ vowel: Sentences

    • OH /oʊ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • How to Pronounce the OW /aʊ/ Vowel

    • OW /aʊ/ Vowel: Words

    • OW /aʊ/ vowel: Sentences

    • OW /aʊ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • OH /oʊ/ and OW /aʊ/: Minimal Pairs

    • OH /oʊ/ and OW /aʊ/: Looped Practice

    • OH /oʊ/ and OW /aʊ/: Listening Quiz

    • Mission #11: OH /oʊ/ and OW /aʊ/

  • 13

    AI /aɪ/ and OY /ɔɪ/ Vowels

    • Introduction to the AI /aɪ/ and OY /ɔɪ/ Vowels

    • How to Pronounce the AI /aɪ/ Vowel

    • AI /aɪ/ Vowel: Words

    • AI /aɪ/ Vowel: Sentences

    • AI /aɪ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • How to Pronounce the OY /ɔɪ/ Vowel

    • OY /ɔɪ/ Vowel: Words

    • OY /ɔɪ/ Vowel: Sentences

    • OY /ɔɪ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • AY /eɪ/, AI /aɪ/, and OY /ɔɪ/: Minimal Pairs

    • AY /eɪ/, AI /aɪ/, and OY /ɔɪ/: Looped Practice

    • AY /eɪ/, AI /aɪ/, and OY /ɔɪ/: Listening Quiz

    • Mission #12: AY /eɪ/, AI /aɪ/, and OY /ɔɪ/ Vowels

  • 14

    Introduction to R-colored Vowels

    • Introduction to the R-colored Vowels

    • Introduction to the R-colored Vowels: Video

  • 15

    ER /ɝ, ɚ/ Vowels

    • Introduction to the ER /ɝ, ɚ/ Vowels

    • How to Pronounce the ER /ɝ, ɚ/ Vowels

    • ER /ɝ/ Vowel: Words

    • ER /ɝ/ Vowel: Sentences

    • ER /ɝ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • ER /ɚ/ Vowel: Words

    • ER /ɚ/ Vowel: Sentences

    • ER /ɚ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • ER /ɝ, ɚ/ and UH /ʌ, ə/: Minimal Pairs

    • ER /ɝ, ɚ/ and UH /ʌ, ə/: Looped Practice

    • ER /ɝ, ɚ/ and UH /ʌ, ə/: Listening Quiz

    • Mission #13: ER /ɝ, ɚ/ Vowels

  • 16

    AR /ɑɹ/, EAR /ɪɹ/, AIR /ɛɹ/ Vowels

    • Introduction to the AR /ɑɹ/, EAR /ɪɹ/, and AIR /ɛɹ/ Vowels

    • How to Pronounce the AR /ɑɹ/ Vowel

    • AR /ɑɹ/ vowel: Words

    • AR /ɑɹ/ Vowel: Sentences

    • AR /ɑɹ/ vowel: Looped Practice

    • How to Pronounce the EAR /ɪɹ/ Vowel

    • EAR /ɪɹ/ Vowel: Words

    • EAR /ɪɹ/ vowel: Sentences

    • EAR /ɪɹ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • How to pronounce the AIR /ɛɹ/ Vowel

    • AIR /ɛɹ/ Vowel: Words

    • AIR /ɛɹ/ vowel: Sentences

    • AIR /ɛɹ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • AR /ɑɹ/, EAR /ɪɹ/, and AIR /ɛɹ/: Minimal Pairs

    • AR /ɑɹ/, EAR /ɪɹ/, and AIR /ɛɹ/: Looped Practice

    • AR /ɑɹ/, EAR /ɪɹ/, and AIR /ɛɹ/: Listening Quiz

    • Mission #14: AR /ɑɹ/, EAR /ɪɹ/, and AIR /ɛɹ/ Vowels

  • 17

    OR /ɔɹ/, OOR /ʊɹ/ Vowels

    • Introduction to the OR /ɔɹ/ and OOR /ʊɹ/ Vowels

    • How to Pronounce the OR /ɔɹ/ Vowel

    • OR /ɔɹ/ Vowel: Words

    • OR /ɔɹ/ vowel: Sentences

    • OR /ɔɹ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • How to Pronounce the OOR /ʊɹ/ Vowel

    • OOR /ʊɹ/ Vowel: Words

    • OOR /ʊɹ/ Vowel: Sentences

    • OOR /ʊɹ/ Vowel: Looped Practice

    • OR /ɔɹ/ and OOR /ʊɹ/: Minimal Pairs

    • OR /ɔɹ/ and OOR /ʊɹ/: Looped Practice

    • OR /ɔɹ/ and OOR /ʊɹ/: Listening Quiz

    • Mission #15: OR /ɔɹ/ and OOR /ʊɹ/

  • 18

    Course Wrap-up!

    • Congratulations!

    • Before you go...

Watch Intro Video

Video

American English Vowels for Speakers of Mandarin Chinese

Course details

What will I learn? 

If you've been searching for an online course that teaches you everything you need to know to master the American English vowels, then this course is for you! 

This course is comprehensive. You'll learn how to pronounce each vowel through innovative practice methods developed by Julie Cunningham, an industry-leading American accent coach and licensed speech-language pathologist. The lessons and instructions are unique to native speakers of Mandarin Chinese, so you will learn the most effective practice techniques for a speaker of your native language.

Then the practice: You'll practice each vowel of American English with over 1,600 audio files, 60+ videos, and detailed instructions on "What to do / What not to do" when pronouncing that vowel. All audio files can be downloaded to your device or computer, as well as additional exercises in PDF format.

Every chapter has quizzes to test your knowledge and end-of-chapter pronunciation challenges to maximize your learning.

But that's not all! In addition to learning about each vowel of American English, you'll also learn about key vowel considerations that impact the accurate pronunciation of all vowels, such as vowel reductions, nasality of vowels, and vowel length.


How do I receive extra help during the course?

There are many ways you can receive extra help during the course!

#1: You can participate in the online SDVA Discord community if you have questions or want extra help along the way. Julie will be there to answer your questions and give you feedback.

#2: You can also post your questions on the Discussions page of each chapter if you want help on a specific lesson or exercise.

#3: You can purchase discounted private accent training with Julie if you want more personalized coaching and pronunciation guidance as you complete the course. This discount is only available to students who enroll in this course! You can add these one-on-one sessions at the time of purchase, or contact Julie for more information (julie@sandiegovoiceandaccent.com).

#4: And don't forget: SDVA offers LIVE ENGLISH CLASSES! You can join Julie for a live English lesson every week at Julie's Conversation Club! Come to a meeting, ask questions, and receive live feedback on your pronunciation! Learn more about Julie's Conversation Club here: Julie's Conversation Club.


Who should take this course? 

This vowels course was specifically designed for native speakers of Mandarin Chinese. The course material was written from the perspective of a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese and the typical pronunciation differences that person may have when speaking American English. If you are ready to dive deep into the American English vowel system and master both the theory and the pronunciation of American English vowels, then this course is for you!

Click here to learn about the other courses offered by San Diego Voice and Accent.


What English skill level should I have before I take this course?

The material in this course is best for a skill level of intermediate and above. 

If you're a beginner of English, focus on improving your English vocabulary and language skills before you try out this course. You can always enroll once you're ready to advance your English pronunciation skills!


Why should I take this course on the American English vowels?

Pronunciation can't be learned from a book. Once a word is spoken out loud, its pronunciation often changes, and the only way to learn about that pronunciation is to listen to native speakers and then imitate them. This course will give you the opportunity to do just that - listen to and imitate native speakers of American English - with powerful practice material and instructions that were written from the perspective of your native language. 

Now's your chance to gain the confidence and fluency that you're looking for. Enroll today! 

Enroll now

Lifetime course access! 10-day money back guarantee.

Meet the Instructor

Founder of San Diego Voice and Accent

Julie Cunningham

Hi! I'm Julie, a licensed speech-language pathologist, and I help professionals take their communication skills to the next level. I specialize in private accent reduction training, group accent reduction classes, and professional voice / executive skills coaching. I also serve on the Executive Board of the Corporate Speech Pathology Network (CORSPAN) and publish weekly pronunciation videos on YouTube, Instagram, and the Reddit community r/AmericanAccent.

Rave reviews about San Diego Voice and Accent

Take the leap to reach your English goals!

Juan V.

I recently finished a 10 sessions program with Julie and I am completely satisfied with the results. Since the first class, it was clear that she was an expert on the subject and created a safe space to practice and ask. The program is completely structured to your needs and based on an initial feedback on your English level, which is probably affected by your mother tongue. It was quite helpful to know the aspects that I needed to improve, but at the same time to be versatile enough to focus on the points you feel less confident. Julie is very organized, so you are aware beforehand of how the class will be, together with feedback of your assignments. I totally recommend Julie if you are looking for a coach that helps you improve those details of your accent that limit your communication or make you feel less confident. My best piece of advice is take the leap to reach your English goals!

I highly recommend working with Julie!

Lupita H.

So thankful for Julie! She is an outstanding instructor; organized, flexible, knowledgeable, dependable, objective, honest, and committed to help her students succeed. Despite being unable to complete the 16 lesson course due to other commitments. I was able to improve my pronunciation during our 9 sessions, and most importantly, increase my awareness of speech patterns that as an ESL student was not familiar with. Working with Julie has significantly improved my overall confidence in speaking the English language. I particularly appreciate her honest feedback, and all the resources provided during our sessions. I highly recommend working with Julie for anybody wanting to improve their pronunciation and understanding of American speech patterns. So worth it!

I have renewed confidence in my accent capability!

Stephen L.

I had the pleasure of working with Julie on my standard American accent. Her knowledge and supportive instruction style made the experience truly enjoyable and worthwhile. Her professional yet easy going manner made me feel comfortable from the outset. Julie was encouraging, enthusiastic and most of all patient. I have renewed confidence in my accent capability and I have her to thank for it.

Julie will be your best choice!

Aaron Z.

I am a college student and have taken Julie's classes for over six months. Julie fixed my Chinese accent and improved my speech skills. She is one of the most responsible teachers I ever have. Julie is VERY ORGANIZED. She would make a plan every time before class and give good feedback after. Julie would always upload helpful practices in Google Drive with an organized format. I also had a practice sheet that tracked my practice time. All of these small details made me study and make progress spontaneously. Julie is also extremely precise and experienced. I had a Chinese accent and she was able to find my minor flaws and give me efficient ways to fix them. I was always able to see my improvement after each class. I am very fortunate to learn from Julie. If you want to fix your accent precisely and efficiently, Julie will be your best choice.

I feel others can understand me better!

Hong Y.

Julie provided key information on American English pronunciation. Before I attended her 4-week seminar, I thought my pronunciation was pretty good. After the first class, I realized that there are still many things I can improve on. She provided information and feedback on how I can improve my pronunciation skills. I liked very much her practice in the class. The information I learned in her classes helped me to hear and understand better what others are saying. And with practice, I can feel others can understand me better as well. Julie has a great way of helping me to realize how the muscles in my mouth can move in a way to fulfill the need for the word at hand. This is exactly what I need to improve.

A jump start to becoming a better story teller!

Sunit V.

Working with Julie was awesome! She helped customize the syllabus as per the feedback from my initial performance review, which helped me focus on my weak areas such as understanding intonation, consonants, and American English pronunciation. The course gave me a jump start to becoming a better story teller.

Effective training. Powerful results.

The American English vowels for Mandarin Chinese speakers

Master the American accent today!
American English Vowels for Hindi / Urdu speakers  photo collage

FAQ

  • What's included in my course enrollment?

    1) You will have instant access to the full course material, which includes over 1,600 audio files (all downloadable), 60+ videos, and detailed instructions on "What to do / What not to do" when pronouncing that vowel. 2) Every chapter has quizzes to test your knowledge and end-of-chapter pronunciation missions to maximize your learning. 3) Full access to the SDVA Discord community: Ask questions and receive help from Julie and the rest of the community! 4) Special discounts on private accent training (discount is only offered to those who subscribe to this course!).

  • My payment was declined, but I entered the correct credit card information. How can I purchase this course?

    This is a known issue for students in India or students who are using credit cards that are attached to banks in India (and potentially other countries). You may need to contact your bank to authorize this transaction, then return to this course website to purchase the course.

  • Can I download the practice materials?

    Absolutely! All audio files are downloadable, so you can practice your English pronunciation anywhere and at any time! Some exercises also come in a PDF format in addition to the audio format, so you can download and print out specific exercises you'd like to practice when you're away from your computer or device.

  • How long will I have access to this course?

    You will have lifetime access to the course through the San Diego Voice and Accent Courses platform (hosted on Thinkific).

  • How long will it take me to complete this course?

    The course was designed to be completed in 8 - 12 weeks, though this may be different for each person. You are encouraged to spend as much time as you need to on each chapter, and you can also repeat any chapters in order to maximize your learning.

  • What if I am unhappy with the course?

    Oh no! I don't want that! I offer a 10-day money back guarantee, no questions asked. If you are unhappy with the course for any reason, let me know within the first 10 days and I will refund your payment.

  • I want to learn more about my specific pronunciation patterns. Can I complete a speech evaluation?

    Yes! If you want to know your baseline pronunciation skills, SDVA offers a comprehensive speech and pronunciation evaluation. You can add this to your cart at the time of purchase.

  • Can I pay with PayPal?

    Yes! On the checkout page, select the PayPal button under the section "Select a payment method".