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Speech tip: Initialisms and how to pronounce them!

Initialisms are abbreviations in which we say the first letter of each word. Here are some examples of initialisms:


We need to use a particular voice pattern when saying initialisms. Pronounce each letter in sequence with emphasis on the last letter. Keep your pitch low on the first letters. When you get to the last letter, hold it longer, jump up higher in pitch, and then slide down in pitch on that same last letter.

Another kind of abbreviation is an acronym. An acronym is a new word that is formed by combining a series of initial letters or even initial syllables. These are pronounced by reading this series of letters or pronouncing the initial syllables as if they were a normal word. Scuba means “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.” Other examples of acronyms are NATO, radar, and AIDS. The individual letters of an acronym are not pronounced separately. There is not one voice pattern that can be used when saying all acronyms.

An accent training program at Confident Speech includes learning how to use the voice correctly for different phrase and sentence patterns. Explore our web site to find out about the range of our training options. Or contact us.