Program Background

About Pronouncing American English

Pronouncing American English is the creation of Arthur J. Compton, Ph.D.  He is the Founder, Director, and President of the Institute of Language & Phonology in San Francisco. He received his BA degree in Business Administration/Advertising, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Linguistics, Psychology, and Speech Pathology, from Ohio State University. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa where he established academic programs in Psycholinguistics and Child Language.

In 1978, he began his explorations into the area of Foreign Accent Improvement and developed the Compton P-ESL Program (Pronouncing English as a Second Language) which has since become a standard for accent reduction consultants. Dr. Compton has worked with thousands of clients from more than 125 different language backgrounds.

Principle of Linguistic Generalization

The order of presentation of the lessons in Pronouncing American English is based on a “Principle of Linguistic Generalization” which initially evolved from Dr. Compton’s research with young children (Compton, 1970, 1975, 1976).  This research was later extended to adults learning English as a second language.  These studies revealed that even though a large number of the sounds may be affected by the native language interference, many of these errors are identical in type and constitute a small number of accented patterns that are the actual cause of the pronunciation difficulty.  Consequently, when an individual corrects specific sounds, the “correction effect” will typically carry over (generalize) to other sounds following the same accent pattern, i.e., “Principle of Linguistic Generalization”, thereby maximizing your learning of the sounds in the shortest amount of time possible.  Thus, to profit most from this program, it is important to practice these lessons in the order in which they are presented.

Pronouncing American English was developed to provide those seeking to modify their accents a streamlined and affordable online self-study program tailored especially for the individual’s native language background.