Accent Modification

How do I know if my accent creates a barrier?

  • Are you frequently asked to repeat?
  • Are you asked to spell words other than unfamiliar foreign names when you are talking on the phone?
  • Do your listeners’ replies often show that they didn’t understand you?
  • Do you suspect that your accent is slowing down your progress in your career?

What is Accent Modification?

  • A formal training process to make your speech more understandable
  • REDUCES characteristics identified in an individual, diagnostic, prescriptive assessment that make your speech difficult to understand:  (Intrusive “UH” sound between words with adjoining consonants: “managedUHto collect a fortune”)
  • ADDS characteristics to make your speech easier to understand such as including final consonant sounds: (“DowN” not “dow”)

Why should I work with a speech pathologist rather than an ESL teacher?

  • “Even though accents are speech differences and not speech disabilities, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) has special training in transcribing and analyzing your pronunciation and intonation patterns.
  • The SLP can then lead you through the steps necessary to correct your accented features from sounds in “isolation” to “conversation.”
  • The SLP also has a strong knowledge base regarding the elements of language which include semantics (literal and figurative word meanings), syntax (grammatical structures) and pragmatics (functional, conversational usage).
  • You will enrich your expressive language while you learn the correct pronunciation of new material.

Why should I modify my accent? My English is fluent and I have excellent professional credentials!

  • Clear communication in your second language is an invaluable skill that will benefit both YOU and your EMPLOYER.
  • You need to be an effective, persuasive and articulate speaker to inspire listeners to have confidence and trust in your knowledge and skills.

How can I change speech habit patterns built in since early childhood?  Do accent modification programs really work?

  • Yes, speech IS an automatic motor skill or “habit pattern.”  Yes, you normally pay attention to WHAT you are saying, not HOW you are speaking.
  • But we ALL have learned new skills and made them habit patterns: driving, playing a musical instrument, excelling in a sport!
  • You DON’T learn how to play the piano by listening to recordings! Changing speech habits requires that you train new fine motor coordination patterns and establish new neural (brain) connections.
  • You start with a skilled INSTRUCTOR who gives clear directions and constant feedback.
  • You PRACTICE daily with patience and persistence.