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?
- Accent modification courses begin where ESL courses end.
- 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.