What is an accent?
We all have accents! A native accent naturally occurs dependent on the nurture influencers of the sounds learned before the of ten. Critical language fluency learning closes near puberty. Your first language sound systems serve as a pattern to filter the sounds of your new language. In other words, the most comfortable and similar yet different sounds from your first language fill in for the American sounds. Generally, this process occurs automatically without awareness or hearing of the contrasting difference. These variations may affect comprehensibility, that is, your listener's judgment of how difficult it is to understand you. More than 25% of the world’s population speaks English, and most are not native speakers. Individuals have varied influencer filters when they come together to share a second language like American English speaking with accents as individual as a fingerprint, increasing the likelihood of communication breakdowns or listener distraction and fatigue.
What is accent modification training?
Accent modification training as defined by the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association follows:
Accent modification is an elective service sought by individuals who want to change or modify their speech patterns.
A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) with the linguistic knowledge of the typical foreign accent speech sounds of 47 world languages, combined with a program designed with on evidence-based methods in a neuroplasticity training cycle, brings an expert speech trainer foundation. BEST PRACTICE begins with elective enrollment for an expert Personal Speech Analysis to identify your most urgent phonological and intonation differences impacting pronunciation. Followed by a personal accent modification master plan beginning with advanced listening, the key first step in training is to bring a shift in awareness for conscious change. We don't waste time on sounds you pronounce clearly.
How proficient in English do I need to be?
Generally, to participate in this training, adults need to be at an intermediate ESL level or functionally conversational. If you have been assessed, a minimum proficiency of 7th grade reading level is needed to follow the materials. We promise it's not painful! We help polish your English pronunciation and language skills at a conversational level. Hope this helps, give us a call if you are unsure.
How much can I change my accent?
Change relies heavily on your guided practice and review the materials daily for one hour; conversely, those who spend less time in practice and review will improve less. Therefore we can't guarantee the results, but research of the PESL method, when completed as described has probable and reasonable change to the ease of listening of approximately 50% or more. Here is a link to hear audio samples of typical improvement of 10 different native language speakers, listen here. It will take 3 to 6 months of repetitive practice for your newly learned speech patterns to begin to be integrated in conversational American English. Individuals who do not practice what they learn in each session will not likely achieve similar results. We use some cool technology to keep you motivated.
Will learning the American accent compromise my cultural presentation?
No. There are obvious benefits to the discipline of developing a bilingual and multilingual life, accent modification may be your final step to complete the investment. The best acquired American accents require alignment of your current accent with the American accent in a combination of systematic expert coaching by native speakers and your commitment to guided repetitive practice. Your American English accent will 'soften' and the content of your message will be conveyed rather than your accentedness, the degree of difference perceived from the listening community. Listeners will be more fully engaged when they don't need to 'listen hard'. Fluently code-switching pronunciation is a very powerful image and credibly respected way to represent your culture.
Accentedness can be a factor considered in some work duties. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that an employer may not base an employment decision on a person’s foreign accent unless the accent seriously interferes with the person’s job performance. Consequently, employers will often require effective communication skills as being necessary to the position, this is not accent discrimination. Let's remove accentedness as a barrier to your full and complete success.
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