Stress Simplified by Kim Dodge

Stress Simplified

Speak with the Natural Rhythm and Melody of English
Through Word and Sentence Stress and Thought Groups
You want to finally have conversations in American English without feeling the need to apologize for your accent or worrying about having to repeat yourself.

Stress Simplified will teach you how to speak clearly so that people can easily understand what you say.

You'll master American word and sentence stress patterns and discover how to break up your ideas so native speakers can follow what you're saying.

Know this:

You have the power to improve how you speak.

You know that you don't sound like a native speaker.

You know that you don't sound like a native speaker.

You’ve been speaking English for years.

You probably even live and work in the United States or Canada already.

Your language skills are good, even excellent. You're not worried about your vocabulary or your fluency.

But you find yourself asking these questions over and over again:

  • “Why do people always ask me to repeat myself?”
  • “Why does my voice sound so flat while native speakers sound so expressive and interesting?”
  • “Why don’t native speakers understand me? Is it my words or my accent?”
  • “I feel like I’ve been working on my pronunciation for so long. Will I ever feel confident speaking up in conversations, meetings or discussions?”

I get it...

You’re tired of being asked to repeat yourself.

You want to feel confident that people will be listening to your words, not your accent.

At work, you are constantly presenting your ideas to native speakers.

Meetings, conference calls, lectures, workshops, networking events, even happy hour - you want to be sure you're speaking clearly and effectively.

After all, that first impression counts: you want to feel confident that other people to understand you.

You want a better accent. I'll help you get there.

Let's talk about why stress matters.

Chances are you've spent plenty of time and energy troubleshooting your accent over the years.

With so many resources out there, you're already aware of how you want to sound and have a vague idea of how to get there.

Here’s the thing:

Most accent advice focuses on fixing the way you pronounce consonant and vowel sounds.

But how you say certain sounds is only one part of a natural-sounding accent (and it’s not the most important one).

If you want to be easily understood by native speakers, you need to speak with the rhythm and melody of English.

Here's why.

Stress Helps You Speak More Clearly

Word Stress

To pronounce words clearly and accurately, you need to stress, or emphasize, the right syllable using your voice.

Sentence Stress

To communicate your meaning clearly, you need to consistently emphasize the most important words in your speech.

Thought Groups

To help people follow what you're saying more easily, you need to separate your ideas into shorter chunks, or thought groups.

When you speak with clear word and sentence stress and organize your ideas into thought groups, it becomes so much easier for native speakers to understand you.

(This is also how you create English rhythm  and melody for a more natural-sounding accent!)

Stress Simplified shows you how to do this step-by-step.

Want to know why most non-native speakers avoid working on stress?

  • They're not sure which syllable to stress,
  • they have no idea that there are patterns they can learn, and
  • they haven't yet trained their ears to hear
    the rhythm that native speakers use automatically.

You don’t have to spend months or years analyzing accents or piecing bits of knowledge together to master stress patterns.
 

This program will cover it all. Here’s what you’ll learn:

Step 1: Introduction to Stress

You’ll learn how to consistently stress words by emphasizing the right syllables.

We’ll start with the fundamental elements that you need to work on in order to produce the natural rhythm of English: pitch, volume, and syllable length.

You’ll learn how to gain control of your pitch, vary your volume, and lengthen syllables to speak clearly and effectively.

And you’ll practice with my favorite techniques to help you remember how stress feels in your mouth and your body.

Step 2: Producing Natural-Sounding Syllables

Next, you’ll learn how to speak with the natural rhythm of English by creating contrast between stressed and unstressed or reduced syllables.

You’ll find out how word stress gives you time to pronounce vowels clearly and accurately so your words sound right.

You’ll learn how to move your mouth, link sounds together, and shift your pitch so that you sound less choppy and more fluid.

Step 3: Identifying Stress Patterns

With this solid foundation, I’ll show you how to know which syllable to stress in words you use all the time.

You'll start training your ear to notice stress patterns in words and phrases you hear.

Then we'll focus on guidelines for predictable stress patterns so that you'll be able to emphasize the right syllable without thinking about it.

Step 4: Master Stress Patterns with Practice Exercises

To master stress patterns and start using them automatically, you’ll work with 30+ drills in a 30-day boot camp designed for results.

You’ll train your ear to hear and listen for these patterns and stretch your mouth and vocal cords so that you can produce them!

You'll be guided through the practice exercises one by one with an audio lesson that helps you check in and reflect on how you’re using your mouth and voice.

You'll be pleasantly surprised to discover that English rhythm really does become easier and more natural day after day!

Step 5: Sentence Stress

Building on the momentum you’ve gained through regular practice, you’ll focus your attention on sentence stress.

You’ll learn how to draw attention to the most important words in your speech so that they’re extra clear and easy to understand.

You'll also find out how to reduce less important words and use weak forms to create the contrast that is so necessary for a natural-sounding accent.

You’ll discover how to make your meaning clear by emphasizing the right words.

Step 6: Thought Groups and Chunking

Last, you'll learn how to make it even easier for your listener to follow what you’re saying by breaking your ideas into shorter chunks.

You’ll find out why you hear different levels of stress when listening to native speakers (and how to do this yourself).

You’ll learn how to separate your words into logical thought groups, and practice, practice, practice!

You’ll discover when to breathe in English, as well as how to pause deliberately to keep your listener engaged and interested in what you’re saying.

Step 7: Putting It All Into Practice

As you finish the Stress Simplified program, you’ll be able to test your mastery of stress patterns so that you can see how well you’ve absorbed the rhythm of English.

You’ll find out the best ways to practice word and sentence stress and thought groups on your own so that you feel more confident when speaking.

Last but not least, I’ll show you how to measure your own progress and reflect on what still needs work.

Why Stress Simplified Works

By consistently spending five to fifteen minutes a day working with the Stress Simplified practice exercises, you’re doing a lot of subtle but essential work.

You’re training your ear to be more sensitive so that it can hear lengthened syllables, notice more variation in pitch, and pick up on changes in volume.

You’re stretching your mouth so that it can glide into new shapes.

You’re exercising your vocal cords so that they feel more comfortable producing the sounds of English.

What Will Change When You Master English Rhythm and Music

Once you start noticing, absorbing, and producing the stress patterns in words and phrases, you’ll quickly discover that native speakers more easily understand you.

(And as an added bonus, it’ll be easier for you to understand them, too!)

These are just a few of the results my clients have gotten through this program:

  • they sound more natural and less robotic
  • their pitch is more expressive and less monotone
  • their words are more clear and easy to understand
  • they no longer have to repeat themselves as often
  • they feel like they fit in better because their accent isn’t so obviously “different.”

Why You Need to Commit to Daily Accent Practice

When you commit to the 30-day practice, you'll build a small, but powerful, daily speaking habit.

As I often say, small changes over time lead to big progress.

Changing how you speak requires you to create new muscle memory, just like any other physical activity!

For extra practice when you don't have privacy to speak out loud, you can simply listen to the recordings and repeat the words silently to yourself. This helps train your ear, too.

You don’t need to move through the drills quickly; in fact, you’ll get better results if you continue to practice them over time.

Remember, improving your accent is an ongoing, ever-evolving process.

You’ll continue to come back to this information again and again as you refine and improve how you sound when speaking.

That’s what makes this program so valuable: you basically have an accent coach in your pocket, whenever you need to practice!

What My Clients Are Saying

Kim has an engaging and practical way of teaching sounding natural. She is big on "musicality" of English so she trained me hard on intonation and length of pronunciation. She has phenomenal ears that could single out the subtle differences in my accent.

-Carol, China (living in the US)

I am very impressed with the thoroughness and expertise you demonstrated. I've been following your suggestions ever since and I've already seen improvements. Finally, not only you gave me invaluable suggestions and info to improve my speaking, but you also boosted my overall confidence.

-Toni, Brazil (living in the US)

After working with you, I feel more confident interacting with people. I can now use my English to get into a deeper conversation, but I wasn’t able to do that before because I was constantly worried about my accent. I’m not a perfectionist anymore, once I got rid of the idea of being a perfectionist, I’m actually one step forward (closer) to being more perfect.

-Nikki, Japan (living in the US)

Stress Simplified is straightforward and easy-to-follow.

You can complete the program on your own schedule, but you'll get the best results with consistent practice over 6-8 weeks.

  • You'll get my practical guidance through video lessons on everything you need to know about word and sentence stress and thought groups
  • You'll have consistent opportunities to practice and drill stress patterns through short, downloadable MP3 exercises
  • You'll receive regular emails to encourage you and motivate you to work through the program
  • You'll follow a 30-day plan (a boot camp) to help you create a regular practice habit as you move through the practice exercises day-by-day
  • You'll be able to remember and review what you've learned and apply it to your real life with a PDF guidebook with complete transcripts
Join Today

What's included?

Video Icon 46 videos File Icon 81 files Text Icon 5 text files

Contents

Start Here
Let's Get Started
1 min
Why Stress Matters - An Overview of Stress in American English
10 mins
What to Expect from the Stress Simplified Program
3 mins
How to Track Your Progress on Your Own
3 mins
Questions? Here's how to get answers!
How to Use the Guidebook and Practice Exercises
Download the Stress Simplified Guidebook with Complete Transcripts
9.54 MB
Want to start receiving the Stress Simplified emails again?
Updates to Stress Simplified in 2020
Introduction to Word Stress
Introduction to Word Stress
3 mins
Understand Pitch in English and Practice Pitch Variation
4 mins
Exploring Pitch with Steps and Slides
6 mins
How to Use Volume to Create Word Stress with Louder Syllables
2 mins
Exploring Your Volume to Understand How Pitch and Volume Work Together
3 mins
Why the Length of Stressed Syllables is So Important
3 mins
Practical Exercises to Help You Learn and Remember Word Stress Patterns
5 mins
Producing Natural-Sounding Syllables
Understanding the Differences Between Stressed, Unstressed, and Reduced Syllables
5 mins
How Word Stress Can Help You Produce Natural-Sounding Vowels
2 mins
Understanding Vowel Shaping and Off-Glides for Clear Stress and a Natural Accent
5 mins
Practice Long Vowels and Diphthongs in American English
7 mins
How to Vary Your Pitch and Link Syllables to Reduce Choppiness in Your Speech
4 mins
Why You Need to Pay Extra Attention to One and Two Syllable Words
2 mins
Why You Need to Exercise Your Mouth and Practice These Shapes
2 mins
Stretch Your Mouth & Jaw to Improve How You Say Long Vowels and Diphthongs
4 mins
Work on Word Stress Patterns
Get Started Working on Your Word Stress
3 mins
How to Identify Word Stress with Online Dictionaries
11 mins
Keeping Stress Simple - Primary and Secondary Stress
5 mins
Learning and Practicing Stress Patterns
Introduction to Stress Patterns
2 mins
Guidelines for Stress Patterns
6 mins
Practice Pitch Steps & Stress Patterns in Two- and Three-Syllable Words
3 mins
Guidelines for Other Predictable Stress Patterns
8 mins
Stress Patterns in Word Families
15 mins
Guidelines for Word Partnerships
6 mins
30 Day Boot Camp
Stress Simplified Boot Camp: Create a Regular Accent Reduction Practice
3.53 MB
Introduction to the Stress Simplified Boot Camp
2 mins
Day 1
2 mins
Day 2
2 mins
Day 3
2 mins
Day 4
2.2 MB
Day 5
2.72 MB
Day 6
2.01 MB
Day 7
2.57 MB
Day 8
2.08 MB
Day 9
2.07 MB
Day 10
2.43 MB
Day 11
2.12 MB
Day 12
2.46 MB
Day 13
2 mins
Day 14
2 mins
Day 15
2 mins
Day 16
2 mins
Day 17
2 mins
Day 18
1 min
Day 19
1 min
Day 20
1 min
Day 21
1 min
Day 22
1 min
Day 23
2 mins
Day 24
1 min
Day 25
2 mins
Day 26
2 mins
Day 27
1 min
Day 28
1 min
Day 29
1 min
Day 30
2 mins
Create Your Own Vocabulary Lists for Stress Patterns
Master Stress Patterns: Practice Exercises
Stress Pattern #1
5 mins
Stress Pattern #2
5 mins
Stress Pattern #3
5 mins
Stress Pattern #4
4 mins
Stress Pattern #5
7 mins
Stress Pattern #6
6 mins
Stress Pattern #7
4 mins
Stress Pattern #8
6 mins
Stress Pattern #9
5 mins
Stress Pattern #10
4 mins
Stress Pattern #11
8 mins
Stress Pattern #12
6 mins
Stress Pattern #13
7 mins
Stress Pattern #14
7 mins
Stress Pattern #15
7 mins
Stress Pattern #16
7 mins
Stress Pattern #17
6 mins
Stress Pattern #18
7 mins
Stress Pattern #19
4 mins
Stress Pattern #20
4 mins
Stress Pattern #21
3 mins
Stress Pattern #22
2 mins
Stress Pattern #23
7 mins
Stress Pattern #24
2 mins
Stress Pattern #25
4 mins
Stress Pattern #26
7 mins
Stress Pattern #27
5 mins
Stress Pattern #28
5 mins
Stress Pattern #29
6 mins
Stress Pattern #30
4 mins
Stress Pattern #31
15 mins
Stress Pattern #32
13 mins
Practice Exercise for Personality Vocabulary and Word Stress
7 mins
Bonus Video: 30 Words That Americans and Brits Stress Differently
15 mins
Bonus Video: How to Stress the 50 States of the United States of America
19 mins
Sentence Stress
Introduction to Sentence Stress
1 min
Understanding Content and Function Words
11 mins
Reducing Function Words
9 mins
Weak Forms of Function Words
19 mins
Weak Forms at a Glance
160 KB
Create Contrast for the Natural Rhythm and Melody of English
11 mins
Pitch Waves, Sentence Stress, and the Melody of English
1 min
Understanding Stress on Normal Sentences
6 mins
Shift Stress to Make Your Meaning Clear
10 mins
Connecting Sentence Stress and Intonation
9 mins
More Sentence Stress Practice
How to Say Contractions with Sentence Stress
11 mins
Contractions and Sentence Stress Practice Exercises
8 mins
How to Say Phrasal Verbs with Sentence Stress
10 mins
Phrasal Verbs and Sentence Stress Practice Exercises
13 mins
Phrasal Verbs and Introduction to Linking
4 mins
How to Say Informal Contractions with Sentence Stress
15 mins
Thought Groups and Chunking
Understanding Sentence Stress and Thought Groups
7 mins
Thought Groups and Chunking
21 mins
Stress Patterns and Chunking in Numbers
24 mins
Practice Sentence Stress and Thought Groups
12 mins
How to Practice Sentence Stress and Thought Groups on Your Own
5 mins
Thought Groups Practice Exercise #1
7 mins
Thought Groups Practice Exercise #2
5 mins
Thought Groups Practice Exercise #3
7 mins
Thought Groups Practice Exercise #4
6 mins
Thought Groups Practice Exercise #5
7 mins
Thought Groups Practice Exercise #6
7 mins
Thought Groups Practice Exercise #7
5 mins
Reflect On Your Progress
Test Your Mastery of Stress Patterns
21 mins
How to Measure Your Own Progress
2 mins
Share Your Feedback on Stress Simplified

Meet Your Guide

I’m Kim, and I'm an accent and communication coach for non-native English speakers. I work with motivated professionals who want to sound more natural, more professional, and more fluent at work and in everyday life.

I know how important it is to be able to connect with other people in a language that isn’t our first. I speak Spanish fluently, but I recently realized that my American stress and intonation is causing my accent in Spanish. I wish a program like this existed for me!

I love demystifying the American accent - you CAN sound more like a native speaker. Nothing inspires me more than watching my clients grow more confident and more comfortable speaking up, and hearing them transform how they sound.

Here's the truth:

I know how much you are struggling to improve your accent all by yourself.

It takes time. It takes effort.

And after so much time spent looking through and experimenting with other resources on your own, you may be feeling overwhelmed or even discouraged.

You need structure and consistent practice. I'd love the opportunity to guide you.

I've developed this approach through years of coaching clients on how to improve how they sound when speaking.

I've included all the "secrets" I know so you can fine-tune your accent and finally master English rhythm and melody through stress.

You can browse through the course outline above!


Please be sure to review the Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, and Online Course, Program, and Coaching Policies.

FAQ

Who is this program for?

This program IS for you if:
  • you want to improve your accent so that you speak more clearly and are more easily understood
  • you want to learn how to use word stress to create the natural rhythm of spoken English
  • you want to learn stress patterns so you can be confident you're stressing the right syllable
  • you want to stress the right words so native speakers understand you
  • you want to know which words you should stress in word pairs, phrases, and chunks
  • you want to learn how to use stress to emphasize the key meaning of your message
  • you want to learn how to break your ideas into thought groups so that it's easy for people to follow what you're saying
  • you're willing to put in the work to practice all of these skills with practical exercises

Who is this program NOT for?

This program is NOT for you if:
  • you're looking for extremely detailed guidance on pronouncing every single consonant sound in English (this program does discuss vowel sounds, but focuses specifically on word and sentence stress, stress patterns, and thought groups)
  • you're not willing to do the practice exercises on a regular basis (serious progress can be made with only 10-15 minutes a day, but you have to do the work)
  • you expect to completely eliminate your accent in just a couple of months (this isn't magic, but with practice you will definitely speak English more clearly)
  • you have trouble understanding my natural speaking speed (this program will help you improve your listening skills, and you can adjust the speed of the videos, use captions, and follow with the transcripts)

What level of English do I need?

This program is for high intermediate, advanced, proficient, and fluent non-native English speakers who can follow natural spoken English. If you feel comfortable understanding me in my YouTube videos, you'll do fine in this program. This program will also help you understand the rhythm of native speech, so your listening skills with get stronger too.

You can also adjust the speed of the videos if you need to, and the each video is followed by a transcript, in addition to the PDF guidebook with complete transcripts, if you want to check what you heard.

I’ve just heard about stress and rhythm in American English. Is this course for me?

If you’ve just discovered that word and sentence stress will help you sound more natural in English, that’s wonderful! Most people first learn about stress when they’re trying to figure out why they don’t sound  like a native English speaker or why people have trouble understanding them.

I have had many clients who have lived in the US for five, 10, or even 20+ years who still need to work on word and sentence stress and thought groups. You can be completely fluent and still need to improve stress to speak more clearly.

This course starts off by building a solid foundation so you understand how stress works when you speak. Then we’ll talk about the nuances and “secrets” that will help you sound more like a native speaker.

As you practice, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of word and sentence stress and thought groups. Remember, information doesn’t transform how you sound; consistent practice does. That’s what this course is about!

Will this work for my accent? I'm a native speaker of...

Yes! Word and sentence stress are challenging for most non-native speakers. I have worked with people from all regions of the world, including Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America.

Most languages are what we call syllable-timed languages, which means you pronounce each syllable evenly, with more or less the same length. Other stress-timed languages use stress differently, and you will still need to adjust to English rhythm.

Even native speakers of Indian or African English dialects may choose to practice American English stress patterns if they're living in North America. There are many English dialects which are more syllable-timed due to the influence of other regional languages.

If you're wondering if this program can help speakers of your native language, please message me using the chat box on this page and I will be happy to answer your questions!

What is the time commitment?

This is a self-paced program, which means you can take as much time as you need to complete the program. That said, Stress Simplified is designed to take place over 6-8 weeks. I suggest you commit to spending 10-30 minutes every day on the practice exercises so that you start seeing results as soon as possible.

What do I need to participate in the program?

You need a phone, tablet, or computer that can access the internet. The course is hosted on a platform available on all devices. You will need the ability to stream videos, listen to MP3s, and open PDF documents. You need to give yourself at least 10-30 minutes a day to watch the video lessons and practice.

What if I have questions or get stuck? Are you there to support me?

I am 100% here to support you! If you have any questions about the lessons, practice exercises, or anything to do with stress, you can chat with me directly using the chat function on the course site. (Just look for the little chat bubble on the bottom right corner!)

Because I'm old-school, you can also email me directly and I'm happy to answer questions over email.

You can also share insights, experiences, and reflections with other students as well as me by commenting on the lesson pages within the course community. 

This is not a course where you'll never hear from the instructor. I'm available to answer questions every day and I truly want you to succeed.

You will also receive regular emails motivating you to complete the course.

Will I receive your feedback on my accent?

Stress Simplified is available as a self-paced program because many people told me they wanted to work through the process independently, on their own schedule.

You'll benefit from consistent practice and regular guidance without the cost or scheduling conflicts of group courses or one-to-one coaching.

If you would like personalized feedback from me, please consider meeting with me for a Clarity Consultation. It is up to you whether you want to meet before you start the course or after you finish.

I also provide detailed guidance on how to record yourself before you start and evaluate your accent after finishing the program. You need to be able to reflect on how you sound and self-monitor for lasting results.

Will this work for me?

This program works if you do. After years as an accent coach, I have created a well-structured, comprehensive program that will help you improve your accent, speak English more clearly, and express yourself more naturally and more like a native speaker.

However, to get results, you need to do the work: you need to watch the video lessons, practice consistently using the MP3 exercises and 30-day plan, and complete the reflection exercises in the PDF guidebook.

The only way to improve how you sound is through consistent practice.

Can I see a sample of what's inside the program?

To get a sense of what you'll learn inside the program, sign up for the Stress Starter Kit, a five-day email course that will help you get started with word and sentence stress and sample the types of exercises that are inside the program.

I also encourage you to explore my free resources on word and sentence stress and thought groups on my website and YouTube channel.

If I don't like the program, can I cancel?

Because this is a digital program with dozens of downloadable resources, the course is non-refundable.

However, I want you to be happy with your investment; if you are not happy with the program, please contact me directly so we can work together to find a solution.

To decide if you truly want to work on your word and sentence stress, try the Stress Starter Kit.

Ready to sound more natural in English?

I'm Kim from englishwithkim.com and I'm your guide to the essential communication skills you need to sound more natural in English. Let's get started!