Learning a new language is a challenging feat. Perfecting the accent in a second language is even more difficult. Accent reduction classes can take you to the next level. However, the results won’t come without practice on your part. Follow these insightful tips on how to practice accent modification at home.
The Purpose of Accent Modification
Taking accent reduction classes is the fastest way to modify your accent. Some people question the need to transform an accent. After all, everyone has an accent. Accents can reveal information about a person’s history and culture. People are often very proud of their own unique accents. The purpose of learning how to modify your accent is not to erase this important aspect of cultural diversity. Accent modification serves to remove barriers by opening the doors of communication.
Who Benefits from Accent Reduction?
Accent reduction is not just for English-language learners. It is true that many foreign speakers use the classes to learn how to sound more like native speakers. However, many people can be served by learning the basics of accent modification. American English speakers will often turn to a speech coach for assistance with reducing a regional accent. The benefits are numerous. Many people report increased job opportunities upon successful completion of an accent reduction course. Others enjoy their newfound confidence in their abilities to communicate easily with others in their communities.
Taking a class is the fastest way to get results. In an accent modification course you will learn how to accurately produce the sounds of American English. You will also work on your ability to discern difficult to understand words. Classes also help by teaching the correction pronunciation of irregular words. Your accent coach will provide assistance in the areas where you need the most help. It is important to take notes in order to be able to put all you learn into practice.
Practice Each Sound
Once you have learned the correct way to produce the sound, you can spend time practicing at home. It is important to consciously pronounce each sound. Spend extra time on the sounds you find most difficult to articulate.
Many people make the mistake of trying to gloss over the sounds they have most difficulty with pronouncing. Speeding up h in order to try to cover up any shortcomings is a short cut that won’t produce results. It actually makes it more difficult for listeners to understand your speech. That is why it is important to slow down when learning how to modify your accent. Slowing your rate of speech will help you to focus on each individual sound. That will make it easier for you to communicate in a way that is fully understood.
Record Your Speech
One way to check your progress is to record yourself speaking. This will allow you to monitor your progress over time. You may also be able to hear areas where you need to spend additional time practicing. It won’t be long before you see the clear results of your efforts.
Claudette Roche is a dialect coach who teaches speech reduction in the Los Angeles area. She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives. In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.