“Wow, I had no idea I was saying it differently until you pointed it out!” This is common feedback from my clients after their Accent reduction assessment.

As non-native speakers of English, you’re likely aware of some sounds you struggle with, such as the “th” or the difference between /r/ and /l/. However, it is guaranteed that there are many difficulties in consonants, vowels, and prosodic features that you are not aware of.

In fact, you are likely unaware of the majority of your weaknesses in English pronunciation and accent, many of which have a direct impact on your comprehensibility.

When you want to improve a skill, any skill, it is critical to know exactly where you need to improve and what mistakes you’re making. Identifying and concentrating on these areas in a systematic manner is essential for taking your performance to the next level.

For instance, if you wish to improve your tennis game, you may need to work on your serve or your backhand. For running, you may need to work on your cadence or your foot strike position. The same logic applies to accent training.

When you opt for accent modification, the first step in the training process is an in-depth assessment. Typically, you’d be asked a series of questions, and then assess your accent in words, sentences, paragraphs, and conversation. This process allows us to compile a set of data, including:

1) Background information, such as –

  • Your mother tongue
  • Other languages spoken
  • Age of Immersion in English
  • The contexts in which English is used in your personal and professional life
  • Your motivation and goals for accent training
  • Your short-term and long-term personal and professional goals

2) Speech sound production, including –

  • Accuracy of the consonants and vowels
  • Whether the accuracy is affected by word position or syllabic structure (for instance, someone can produce /z/ well at the beginning and in the middle of the word but transform it to /s/ in the word-final position)
  • The level at which the accuracy breaks down (for instance, someone can produce the “th” sound very well in single words, but has difficulties once the words are used in sentences)

3) Prosodic features, including –

  • Syllabic stress
  • Word stress within a phrase
  • Intonation
  • Rate of speech
  • Linking (how the words are connected together in running speech)

4) Intelligibility/comprehensibility – how well the listener understands you

5) General language proficiency

The data gathered in the assessment will be used to compile a set of Accent reduction training targets. These targets will be prioritized and tailored to you as an individual, taking into consideration your specific needs, struggles, and goals, both personal and professional.

In accent training, the ultimate goal is CLEAR and EFFECTIVE communication, and a detailed assessment by a qualified accent specialist is the crucial first step.

I offer a free screening of your accent, which can be used as a guideline for your accent training efforts. Reach out to me today and book your free screening.

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