Understanding British & American speakers, with Cara Leopold

By 2 October 2017 Video lessons 2 Comments
understanding British & American speakers

Hi Ambassadors,

Good to see you back for another episode of Speak English with Christina.

If we’re friends on Facebook and Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I’m in Chicago this week, at a conference for people who work online. (And if we’re not yet friends on those networks, join me! I’m sharing lots of fun photos from the States!)

It also means that I’m talking to lots of Americans, with their American accents! This connects nicely to this week’s episode, because it’s a special interview episode, all about understanding British & American speakers.


In this special interview episode, you’ll meet Cara Leopold, who teaches listening skills at leo-listening.com. She has a lot of excellent audio exercises on her blog, and I recommend that you check it out.

Like me, Cara also lives in France. But she’s British, which means that her accent is quite different from mine. You’ll hear in the video!

Like Cara says at the end of our conversation, it’s really fun to be able to identify the accents you hear, to say “Oh, he has a British accent” or “She has an American accent.”

If you want to try to hear the difference, try closing your eyes as you listen to us speaking,


This is quite a long video, but it will help you to understand some of the differences between British & American accents. Also, you’ll learn lots of specific characteristics about real spoken English, that will help you begin to understand why it’s not always easy to understand native speakers. For example:

  • Why you think native speakers speak fast
  • The importance of syllable stress for understanding native speakers
  • How to catch “squashed” expressions like “I dunno” (I don’t know) and “I shoulda” (I should have)
  • Common incorrect English expressions native speakers use, and how to understand them

We also talk about some specific sounds in American and British accents:

  • Sounds that change or disappear in American English (like /siddy/ for “city” and /twuhnny/ for “twenty”)
  • The funny British “t” sound that doesn’t exist in American English
  • The different ways Americans and Brits pronounce the “r” sound

Like I said, this episode is longer than the regular Speak English with Christina lessons, but it’s full of insights that will help you start to understand native speakers better, both Brits and Americans!


Just like the title says, this series is interviews with other experts in teaching English or American culture. There are many other great teachers out there, and part of my mission is to introduce you to them, so you can learn from them too!

Here are some past interviews with the experts:

So grab a cup of coffee (or if you’re like me, green tea), relax, and enjoy these conversations in English, about learning English better.

All the best from Chicago,


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