Accent Modification & Reduction Therapy
Did you begin life speaking a language other than English?
Are you a recent immigrant to the US, and have a difficult time assimilating due to your accent?
Do you feel like you’re missing out on opportunities because people have trouble understanding what you say?
If so, speech and language therapy can help.
What Is An Accent?
Everyone who speaks a language has an accent. It’s the way we learned to make certain sounds, influenced by the people around us.
Even other English-speaking folks here in the United States have accents. Someone who grew up in Boston, for example, will have a noticeably different way of speaking than someone who grew up in Atlanta. The way we learn language is influenced by the way the people around us speak.
Accent differences can be so dramatic sometimes that even those speaking the same native language can have difficulty understanding each other. This especially true for people who grew up in an isolated region, or where the local flavor of English is influenced by other languages.
Accents are a normal part of speech. They are not a speech or language disorder. Nor are they something you should be ashamed of. If you aren’t concerned about your accent, that’s great. It might even be a source of pride for you, a sign that you’ve overcome adversity in your life and accomplished the daunting task of learning another language.
In fact, here at District Speech, we don’t even like talking about “accent reduction”. Calling it accent reduction implies that there’s a normal way to speak, and that you need to reduce your accent in order to sound normal. Instead, we prefer to talk about accent modification. It’s not about fixing a problem with your accent, but adapting your accent to better suit your new surroundings.
To be clear – there’s nothing wrong with you if you have an accent.
Why Change Your Accent?
Here at District Speech, we’ve provided accent modification services to a wide variety of different clients from many different backgrounds. Each of them has had a unique reason for wanting to modify their accent. Some of the more common ones are as follows:
So people can understand you better
Accents can sometimes make it difficult for the people in your life to understand what you’re saying. If you’re in a client-facing or communication-related career, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is an absolute must. If you’re tired of having to repeat yourself constantly or having your words misunderstood, accent modification may help.
So you can better assimilate into your environment
Feeling like an outsider can be uncomfortable in any situation. When you’re new to an area, you might feel like the ultimate outsider, and your accent might serve as a reminder of that fact. If you want to feel more like a local, sounding more like one can help.
To improve your confidence
When it comes to communicating ideas, what you’re saying is less important than how you’re saying it. If you’re having difficulty getting your ideas across, it can sometimes impact your self confidence. This might hold you back from achieving greater things in your career or personal life.
To help broaden your range as an actor
Have you ever watched an actor give an interview and been surprised at how they speak? Many actors will undergo accent modification training in order to play a foreign character. If you’d like to be more versatile as an actor, accent modification can help.
How Do You Change Your Accent?
When it comes to changing one’s accent, there’s a lot of nuance to consider.
Your speech therapist will begin by talking to you about what your language goals are.
From there, they’ll take the time to analyze your speech patterns, looking for the potential problem areas. Depending on where you’re from, your accent will place different emphasis on different parts of speech. It’s your speech therapist’s job to find them, and how they make your speech differ from native English speakers in your area.
Some of the elements your speech therapist will consider include:
- Grammatical errors
- Use of contractions (eg “you’re” vs. “you are”)
- Consonant sounds
- Vowel sounds
- Syllabic emphasis
- Suprasegmentals (syllabic stress & tone)
- Word stress
- Use of different verb tenses
- Use of plural
With all this in mind, your speech therapist will then put together a treatment plan geared toward your lifestyle. This includes factoring in your goals, your schedule, and your learning style.
Depending on your accent and needs, your plan may include the following:
- Conversation activities
- Reading aloud
- Syllable training
- Sentence formation training
- Individual letter sounds training
Book A Consultation With District Speech
With practice, you can learn how to change your speech patterns. But it’s hard to do it on your own.
District Speech can help.
Whatever your reason for wanting to change your accent, we’ll work with you. We’ll help you recognize the parts of your speech that are causing difficulty, and offer you a treatment plan designed to modify them so you can work toward your goals.
Book a consultation with District Speech today to find out more.
If your accent is holding you back, it doesn’t have to be that way. Our team of licensed speech pathologists have a proven track record of helping people from all over the world modify their accents. Book a consultation today to find out how speech therapy services can help you modify your accent.
Book a consultation with District Speech today, and enjoy greater freedom in your speech.
Contact us today to find out how.