The 80/20 rule in Accent training

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And how the /oʊ/ as in ‘go’ can get you immediate results:


I’ve been teaching English and accent training for over 10 years, and throughout the years I’ve noticed something very interesting.

When my students learn and apply certain sounds they have immediate impact on their speech, while other sounds barely make a difference. It’s either too subtle, too complicated or too overwhelming.

This is when I started teaching according to the 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 rule is based on the idea that about 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

How can this be applied to YOUR accent or English training?

Let’s divide it into two:
1. What sounds/ topics you choose to focus on.
2. How you practice each topic.

What you choose to focus on:
Accent training is vast and detailed. There’s so much to learn. Especially when you’re learning it on your own. Start with the 20%: focus only the topics that will bring you the most apparent results. This will impact your speech a whole lot more than learning EVERYTHING but improving just a bit in each area.

In today’s video I chose to teach you the /oʊ/ as in ‘go’ vowel sound since it’s easy to learn and apply, and will get you immediate results.
Other topics that have the same effect: The R, word stress, rhythm, the /ɑ/ in father, the Flapped T.

How to practice each sound:
When you focus on a certain sound (for example the /oʊ/ as in ‘go’ ), it’s really hard to know at first WHEN and HOW exactly to use it when speaking.
This is where the 80/20 rule comes into play again.
Practice 20% of the words, but practice the most frequent and popular words, words that you’re actually using on a daily basis.
This will land you better results, you’ll hear the difference when speaking, and that alone will give you the confidence and motivation to learn the sound/topic more thoroughly.

Now, since I really like shortcuts I made it super easy for you

I prepared a list (and an audio file) of some of the most popular and tricky words with the /oʊ/ as in ‘go’ vowel sound.
Practice the words along with the sentences to assimilate the sound, develop muscle memory and get used to saying these very common words accurately.

Now, let’s learn how to say the /oʊ/ as in ‘go’:

Now, I'd love you to tell me in comment below if you’ve ever used this rule in other fields in your life, and also tell me how your /oʊ/ as in ‘go’ practice goes!



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One Comment on “The 80/20 rule in Accent training”

  1. My Accent reduction teacher was trying to explain this to me, I didn’t get it.

    Now I understand. I like your explanations

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