Accent modification to improve your communication skills
The sound rules of a person's first language can affect the way they speak English more than they realize. An accent can affect the speech sounds, rhythm, and flow of your speech. We use cues from all aspects of speech to help us recognize important information, understand emotion, and appear confident.
Commonly known as accent reduction, accent modification is the systematic change to your accent to help improve clarity of speech. Everyone has an accent, whether it’s a foreign accent (the accent you have when that language is not your native language), or a native accent (the accent you have when you’re a native speaker of a language). Foreign accents are what we typically think of when we think of "accents".
If English is not your native language, or if you grew up in an environment that had "accented" English speakers, you may have a foreign accent now, even if you think you don't have an accent. You may also have grown up in a region that has a significant dialect. Having an accent is not necessarily a bad thing. An accent can be a part of your cultural identity, and shows that you know another language. However, if your accent impacts your confidence and/or how well others are able to understand you, accent modification can help. Imagine someone is learning your native language and they're trying to speak it. They are consistently pronouncing things wrong. You're probably thinking about how hard it is to understand them.
Using the correct sound system of a language and pronouncing words correctly is an important part of achieving language fluency, though this is often not taught in traditional language classes. There are sounds in English that are not used in other languages and you may not even realize that certain sounds are different. In addition to making yourself easier to understand, accent modification can also make you seem more trustworthy and help your job prospects.
- Speech sounds - the consonant and vowel sounds of a language
- Speech sound patterns - how speech sounds interact in different contexts can make a person sound more like a native speaker
- Stress patterns/intonation - how you vary the loudness and pitch of syllables in a sentence
- Resonance - how “nasal” you sound, or how much sound is traveling through the nose and mouth
It can be extremely difficult to recognize how exactly your speech differs from a native speaker, and even more difficult to change it. Improve your communication skills and further your personal development by booking an accent assessment today.