Accents are fun. The way you speak is a reflection of where you are from. Many Americans enjoy meeting people from various backgrounds and hearing different accents. But, if your speech isn’t easily recognized, it can cause you problems in daily life. Sadly, it may even interfere with your career prospects. So, how can you...
Accents are fun. The way you speak is a reflection of where you are from. Many Americans enjoy meeting people from various backgrounds and hearing different accents. But, if your speech isn’t easily recognized, it can cause you problems in daily life. Sadly, it may even interfere with your career prospects. So, how can you reduce your accent without losing your cultural identity?
Your Accent- Your Choice
Your accent should be a matter of choice. Accent reduction or accent modification, as some people call it, is a great tool to improve your clarity. It doesn’t have to be ‘accent eradication,’ though. You don’t have to get rid of it completely. You can choose what to change and what to keep. To get an informed opinion on which pronunciation patterns affect the clarity of your speech, ask an expert. American accent training might be exactly what you are looking for. More than listing grammar rules and regulations, an accent coach can give you specific feedback from the perspective of a native speaker. But, what does it take to sound like a native?
What Am I Doing Wrong?
“Wrong” isn’t a pretty word. But that’s how we might feel when we say things differently from everyone else. Learning to pronounce things in the standard way can give you an interesting perspective. Most standard pronunciations aren’t necessarily “right” or “correct.” They are simply the most common way to say things. As one author puts it, each is “correct in its own domain.” Once you learn the pronunciation most common where you live, it can help people understand you more easily. If you follow these pronunciation patterns, you can converse with people without having to repeat yourself needlessly or worry about whether they understood you. Perhaps more importantly, it can help you control your listener’s impression of the conversation.
How Do I Know What To Change?
One thing that helps is to look for patterns. The different issues you have might be related. For example, suppose people misunderstand you when you say “live” and “up.” In these words, your tongue needs to be very low in the mouth for both the Short I and the Short U. If you teach yourself not to raise it up so high, then all the words you say with that sound will come out more clearly. You can ask your accent coach to let you know when your tongue is in the proper position.
How Can I Change My Accent?
Another tip that can have overarching effects is to open your mouth more. Granted, that won’t solve all your issues. But, it can help you enunciate more. Try articulating each vowel and consonant separately for clear speech. So, even when speaking fast, try to move your mouth with precision to each sound.
There are, of course, times when certain sounds are linked together to make pronunciation more fluid. For instance, the schwa sound is used in unstressed syllables to make pronunciation easier. True, it can be challenging to know when to reduce sounds like this and when to articulate them clearly. However, an accent coach can help you learn those patterns and exceptions.
Do I Need To Change My Culture?
No. When you learn the local accent, you are simply learning to speak in the best way for fluent communication. This, in turn, helps you engage in a cultural exchange with those around you. Your cultural background and heritage are much more profound and more significant than how you pronounce things. So, why not blend in as best you can?
You are proud of your heritage, but you don’t want to be victimized by stereotypes. Don’t let your accent define you. Show the world what you’re made of and how much you can accomplish through clear communication!
How Can I Make It Stick?
As with most habits and skills, you have to be consistent if you want the changes to be long-lasting or permanent. We’ve seen all those weight-loss commercials that promise fast results with minimal effort. But if you want to lose weight, you have to put in the work. You might even hire a dietician or a personal trainer for the best results.
The same principle applies to accent training. You have to put in the work, and professional advice will help you make your blows count. So sign up for American accent training today, and bust through that glass ceiling that keeps you down!