Get Rid of your Accent, Part One

This book was published in 2006 and has become an international bestseller. It was converted into an app, which was also translated into both Russian and Chinese.

This book helps with clarity of speech. In this speech training manual, we deal with all RP (Received Pronunciation) English sounds. This book will help you sound educated. It’s available as a printed version with CDs, on Kindle and Audible, and as three apps.

Here is customer's feedback, Silvia B. on 3 Aug. 2009:

"I found this book by chance on Amazon in early 2007. I was searching for a practical and effective "hands-on" book, since I was disappointed with the academic style of "English Pronunciation in Use". To be fair "Pronunciation in Use" is an excellent book, full of information for the students who want to progress in the study of English phonetics and phonology, but it's even too rich in details for most of non-native speakers of English who are still struggling with their pronunciation and are searching for something "practical" that can give "quick results". Many people (who would otherwise benefit from studying pronunciation) cannot simply be bothered to study the phonetic symbols, and they just think that good pronunciation is all about that: plainly wrong, because it can be much easier and fun!

This book is compact and easy to use with its 42 short lessons, each devoted to a single phoneme.
For each phoneme, a list of words containing the target sound, a list of sentences, a few verses, a few tongue-twisters and some articulation exercises. You can concentrate directly on the phonemes which pose problems you may experience as a native speaker of a particular language, and a reference in this sense is provided in the appendix.

Very simply, download the lessons onto your mp3 player, and listen to them (one part of the lesson at time!) again and again: five minutes in the morning, five minutes in the evening, for a couple of days or more.
The more you listen to, the better your pronunciation becomes, because you "get a feeling" of how words should be pronounced. After the listening phase, try to repeat after the tape as many times as you can: again, practice makes perfect! A bit every day is much better that a lot only once a week, so try to be constant and all your efforts will be repaid. You'll soon see that "the right pronunciation" will come perfectly natural to you.
Of course, I've just described the way I used the book: the authors recommend a more thorough approach, but I think that all depends on how already "good" your pronunciation already is! Typical is the case when you CAN already pronounce a difficult word - or series of words - containing a difficult phoneme when "isolated", but you CAN'T when you speak at normal speed: in this case, you'll see that your rate of progress will be much quicker.

The plus points are that you can study pronunciation whenever and wherever you are (during your commuting time, for example). Another very nice feature is that the verses and tongue-twisters are a bit silly and very amusing, so you won't get bored!

This book has been criticised for offering too little theory, and for not dedicating time to intonation exercises.
Bearing in mind that this is what I would call a very practical "exercise" book, I can say out of my personal experience that, along the pronunciation features, you will absorb also many intonation patterns, because of the many longer examples that are present. Anyway, you would want to work on your intonation only after your pronunciation of single phonemes has been sorted out! So maybe a "Get rid of your accent - Part2" with a focus on more advanced features of pronunciation would be welcomed by more advanced and experienced learners.

Since English is the official language in international business, it's especially important to develop a clear pronunciation: the aim should not be being able to "talk like the Queen", of course, but to be easily understood by other non-native speakers talking business. Everybody who often needs to take part in meetings and above all make frequent use of the phone will surely agree. An idea would be writing a book similar to this one but with a vocabulary focused on the vocabulary of business: "Get rid of your accent in business" or something similar.

I think that this book offers exactly what the authors say in the presentation: a practical, intensive approach to developing an RP accent. If the (non-native English) student is dedicated enough, it can take three months to reduce their accent with excellent results (to the point that you might still sound non-native but your accent is not a giveaway of your nationality anymore!), but of course it all depends on your starting level."