Working to change your accent is done through a process known as accent modification or accent reduction. With the assistance and guidance of a speech coach, adults can learn to reduce their accents by making changes in speech pronunciation and production.
Here are 7 more things you should know about accents and the modification of accented speech.
What can I expect from an accent modification program?
Programs begin with a screening and are followed by a thorough assessment of your individual speech patterns while reading and repeating words, phrases and sentences. Speech is also examined during conversational or spontaneous production. Once the information is collected, the trainer is able to analyze:
· Pronunciation of consonants
· Pronunciation of vowels
The speech coach creates a goal-directed training program based on individual needs for accent modification and communication improvement.
How is training delivered?
Accent coaches offer individual and group training that is available in a variety of ways:
· Classroom instruction
· Short courses
· In person
· By Telephone
· Via webcam
Talk with your speech coach about which option will best suit your learning style, your use of technology and your schedule.
Will an accent modification program actually work?
Successful modification of speech patterns and habits will require a commitment of time and regular practice. Your coach will teach you how to practice and then provide materials to be used during independent practice.
You can’t just show up to a tennis lesson and expect to be a better tennis player. The real change occurs when you use what you learned at the lesson during practice on your own. The same is true with accent modification programs. Sure, you’ll learn important things, but just hearing about them won’t result in lasting changes. Daily practice will help you to learn new patterns of production and that’s what will enable lasting change.
While there are no guarantees, a serious student can expect to reduce their accent by 50% or more.
What kind of time commitment will be required?
Depending on the intensity of the accent and the individual goals:
· Training programs can range in length from 3 days to 13 weeks
· Individual training sessions typically last 45-60 minutes
· Group training sessions typically last 1 ½ -2 hours
· Each day, 60 minutes of independent practice is recommended
Who can benefit from an accent reduction training program?
· Airline pilots
· Business professionals
· Computer programmers
· Medical professionals
· Ministers and priests
· Public speakers
· Sales professionals
· Stay at home moms
· Teachers and trainers
· University professors
How much will all of this cost?
Because an accent is not considered a speech or language disorder, insurance companies in the United States will not cover the cost of accent modification programs.
Employers such as corporations, universities and government agencies may provide reimbursement to employees who seek to improve their speech communication skills.
Individuals considering services should discuss specific costs of materials and training with their speech coach.
Where can I find a speech coach?
Spontaneous Speech will soon be providing Coaching Services that are available on-line. We'll keep you posted! In the meantime, think about the consequences of consider how accent reduction may benefit you.
Speak clearly if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Oliver Wendell Holmes