Accent Reduction Training
Accent reduction, also known as accent modification, is a systematic approach used to learn or adopt a new accent. It is the process of learning the sound system of a language or dialect. The methodology identifying differences in the person’s current speech from the desired accent (such as pronunciation, speech patterns, and speech habits), changing the way one forms vowel and consonant sounds, modifying one’s intonation and stress patterns, and changing one’s rhythm. Using this method, individuals such as those mastering a second language may alter their speech to more closely resemble the accent of a certain group of people, and thus enhance the clarity of their communication with those people.
Accent modification is offered by Speech Language Pathologists who have taken extra courses to adjunct their training as a Speech Pathologist.
Key focuses for accent improvement teaches students how to pronounce new vowels that are not present or different in their native language. Stress, intonation and rhythm are critical in changing one’s accent. Difficult sounds such as “th”, “r”, “l” and final sounds are important also. Including grammar and vocabulary can tie it all together.
Two distinct types of accent reduction coaching are available: the type of coaching targeted at telemarketers generally focuses on helping people to say scripted speech with a more “native-like” accent, while the type of coaching typically offered to business people is usually geared towards assisting people to minimize miscommunication in spontaneous, conversational speech. The reason that this distinction is important is that while it is sometimes possible for adults to say limited pre-rehearsed phrases with little or no accent, most experts agree that adults cannot learn to speak with no foreign accent in live, everyday speech. Therefore, a person who receives coaching targeted at scripted situations will sometimes achieve very good results when reading from a script, but will not usually improve in real, everyday speech.
On the other hand, a person who receives training targeted at everyday speaking situations will experience a reduction in miscommunications in live, speaking situations. When choosing an accent coach, it is important to pick a coach who understands the type of coaching needed.
Deborah Venditti has found success by incorporating both of these types of therapy – targeting words and phrases that are used in a person’s work setting will enhance intelligibility and confidence in the work place. Targeting sounds, stress and intonation in general will reduce one’s overall accent. It is impossible to totally eliminate an accent. Research has shown that with practice, one can reduce one’s accent by 50%.