One of the first questions people ask with accent reduction training is, “Can I really do it? Is accent reduction even possible?” The truth is it’s a big task and it can be hard sometimes, but it is possible. Really, what it comes down to is learning a new accent. If you are reading this...
One of the first questions people ask with accent reduction training is, “Can I really do it? Is accent reduction even possible?” The truth is it’s a big task and it can be hard sometimes, but it is possible.
Really, what it comes down to is learning a new accent. If you are reading this and English is your second language, then you already learned a new language. Done.
So why stop there? Why not learn the accent along with it?
Let’s see 12 ways you can tackle accent reduction in the same way you learned English.
1. Back to basics with pronunciation
When you started learning English, your ESL teacher probably helped you with correct pronunciation to make it as clear as possible. But, a lot of those teachers are non-native English speakers. They can help with the language, but not with the accent. You’ll need to re-learn your ABC’s to get the accent just right. It’s just like tuning an instrument. You want to hit the right notes with the right sound.
2. Clearly define your accent goals
Accent reduction involves skill sets ranging from pronunciation, rhythm and intonation to public speaking and conversation skills. These are all big topics. You have to break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. Then, take it step by step. Set several small goals to reach on the way to your primary major goal of acquiring an American English accent.
3. Take the time you need
It takes time to learn a language. It also takes time to learn an accent. The idea is to gradually change the way you move your mouth. It won’t be comfortable at first. But before long, you get used to the new adjustments in your speech. It’s like exercise. You may not see results from one day to the next. But if you keep it up, you’ll get there.
4. Learn from your mistakes
You have to say it wrong before you can say it right. It may take one person 50 tries before they say it right and another person 500. What matters is not giving up. Every mistake is a step in the right direction. Use those times you get tongue-tied to train your accent and language skills. Just try to do a little better each time.
5. Immerse yourself in the language
You don’t learn an accent from a book. True, there’s a lot you can read about accents, and you should read up on the topic. But what really helps you get an American accent is getting out there to hear it and use it. You can learn the accent better from people than from books or blogs. But what about Vlogs? Youtube, audiobooks, podcasts, movies, TV – these are all excellent ways to increase your exposure to everyday English.
6. Practice every day
To learn anything, you have to be consistent. With learning a second language, many people have discovered that practicing a few minutes every day works better than hour-long sessions once a week. The same is true with accent modification. It’s the best way to use your time. Make every day count.
7. Use it right away
If you wait a day or two before you try out your new sounds, they will be things you know but not things you do. And don’t just practice to a wall. Talk to people and use your new tricks. Check their reactions when you say words the new way. See if they catch what you mean more quickly than before.
8. Get a good accent coach
Not everybody who speaks English can teach it. The same goes for accent coaching. You need an accent coach that can catch the little things that make the biggest difference. You’ll be surprised at how subtle the differences are between native and non-native English pronunciations.
9. Find language models
Not everybody can explain the details, but you can learn from everyone you listen to. Some people say things right; others not so much. Ask yourself how you want to sound, and then imitate the people whose speech patterns you like. But also notice the mistakes others make and try to avoid them yourself.
10. Compare your accent now with 6 months ago
Some people have a knack for accents. If that’s not you, don’t worry about it. Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, take recordings of yourself throughout the process to track your progress. Then, compare recent ones with those from several months back. There will be things that you haven’t mastered yet and they show up in both recordings. But focus on the areas where you do see improvement. That will boost your self-confidence to keep moving forward.
11. Push your limits
Most of your limitations are imaginary. If you tell yourself you will never reach your goal of getting an American accent, then you never will. When you start thinking it’s too hard and you want to quit, give yourself a pep talk. You can do it. A positive attitude goes a long way.
12. Form fun habits
That can take some of the weight off your shoulders. Accent reduction feels less challenging if you are having fun. Develop a passion for correct pronunciation, and let your motivation drive you. You will reach your destination and enjoy the ride along the way. Find the techniques that you personally like and make habits out of them.
Reaching your accent goals will take dedication and resilience. Of course, learning a second language was also hard work. But it was worth it, right?
If you are a business professional, then you want to express yourself in an excellent way, not fumbling to get your point across. With accent training, you can give your self-confidence a boost and take full advantage of those public speaking opportunities that used to haunt you.
So, if you are thinking about doing an accent reduction course, go for it! You already learned English, so you’re almost there. Why not finish what you started? A natural American accent can bolster your professional image and open up doors to your future success.
Accent Advisor offers Accent Reduction classes with a proven method for success. Give it a try, there is no commitment!