50 Words, Pronunciations & Phrases



The Book

50 Words is a vocabulary primer developed to help fellow Black Americans improve their communication skills by substituting 50 commonly spoken words with Standard English. It is an audiobook and easy to use workbook and reference which is intended for personal use and has recently been expanded for use in schools and in job training. This book can be used as part of a workshop and is a national project to improve communication skills in our community.


This book/project has been developed to encourage Black Americans to maximize their fullest potential by expanding communication skills in order to have the greatest advantage in the competitive job market

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A Word From the Author

I have many years of experience authoring medical book chapters, journal articles and public health information. I enjoy regular public speaking for the American Cancer Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Foundation and have been greatly rewarded by helping people improve the quality of their lives through making health information more accessible and understandable. In many ways, this is very similar. Through the many years that I have spent in school and at work, I have become a keen observer of what makes people, and particularly Black people succeed and what holds us behind.  I wrote this book during the first term of the first Black President of the United States (who walks the walk, but does not talk the talk - at least at work).  I am confident and optimistic about the greatness of what we can continue to achieve.


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Self Help.

Below are the (4) speech patterns addressed within the book.

Training Exercises are ......


Switched Letters.

Think of the word “cat”. Soundingout each letter of the word sounds like :  kih-aa-tih    “cat”

We just broke down a whole word into its individual sound parts and put it back together again.   Well, that’s phonology – the organization of speech sounds. We all tend to say words the way we’ve heard them said to us.  In fact, even when we have words in print, we tend to say them the way we’ve heard them. 

Now let’s think of the word“ask.”  Let’s break up the word by saying each letter in order:  a - s - k [aa-ss-k]  “ask.”  There is a tendency to switch the order of the letters.  It comes out sounding like [aa-k-s].  That sounds like another word “axe.” – the tool you use to split wood.  “ask” {a-s-k},… “axe” [a-k-s]

You see the difference, right?


Dropped Words.

Be careful not to drop the words is and are from sentences.

She kind

Should be- She is kind/She’s kind

They twins

Should be- They are twins./They’re twins.

They running late

Should be- They are running late./They’re running late.             


Dropped Endings.

If you are dropping the last letter(s) off words, you may not realize it. 

Be careful not to drop t, d, s, z or l when they are in the last position in a word. Tip:  When making t,d,and l, you should feel the tip of your tongue touch up just above the back side of your teeth on the gum where you get “pizza burn.”  Touch lightly.  The (l) in “light” should be the same touch as the (l) in “tall.”  Another way of thinking about it, the tongue tip is in the same place for both (t and l) in “tall.”

Some examples of dropped endings are:    

He want a job.            

Should be – He wants a job.



Switched Sounds.

Let’s look at this short list.

V as in very, vote, value, have, live, brave

F as in face, free, lift, muffle, half, (laugh, Philadelphia, Phillip) Yes, I know the spelling is different, but they are all /f/ sounds.  That’s why we have to be mindful of sound as well as spelling.

TH as in think, thin, with, bath, healthful, theme, Theodore

That’s easy but what happens if TH is replaced by V or F

I have a sister and a brover (brother).

I worked hard all day, and I need a relaxing baf (bath).

Are you coming wif (with) me?

Also, TH can change to D

Give me those can become give me dose.

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