5 Top Tips That Will Take Your Accent Reduction to the Next Level

1- Check the pronunciation using online resources

Hail to the digital age! Many online dictionaries have audio files, including classics such as Collins and Merriam-Webster. Google Translate also has audio features. However, while these resources are useful for checking pronunciation, the audio is synthesized. The synthesized tips speech is not useful for learning prosodic elements of an accent, such as phrasal stress and intonation.

Youglish is an online tool that searches through all the YouTube videos for your target word or phrase. The advantage of using this website is that it gives you real people producing the word in running speech, and will also give you videos in different accents (North American, British, Australian).

2- Make a list of words and sentences that are important in your life and at your work

This list may even include your company’s name and the names of your colleagues. Ask a native speaker to record these words and sentences for you and practice saying them. This is good practice for your accent AND would boost your confidence.

3- Make use of movies, TV series, audiobooks, and podcasts 

The more you’re familiar with how the accent sounds, the better you can emulate its pronunciation and prosodic features.

“Friends,” for instance, is excellent for the American accent! Copy the pronunciation, stress, and intonation patterns of the characters. You can even mimic their body language; communication is not only verbal but also non-verbal.

However, with audiobooks, it is best to ask a native speaker first how natural the narrator of the audiobook is. Unfortunately, many narrators of audiobooks sound monotonous and robotic. Prosodic features of an accent are just as important as the accuracy of pronunciation, so be warned!

I highly recommend this audiobook – “The Dutch House.” Not only is it a fantastic novel, but it is narrated by Tom Hanks. If you listen to audiobooks as often as I do, you’ll instantly appreciate the quality and naturalness of the narration this Oscar winner brings.

4- Slow down

Many people speak too fast due to habit, nervousness, or mask errors (“If I say it fast, maybe they won’t notice.”) Unfortunately, speed is not your friend when it comes to clarity.

When you’re working on accuracy, slow down your rate of speech. When you talk slowly, it’s easier to enunciate the words and be more comprehensible. Once you are accurate in the production, you can then speed up to sound more natural.

5- Last but not least – Hire an accent coach 

If your goal is to be a great tennis player, hitting a ball with a racquet and watching video tutorials will surely improve your performance. But would that be enough to make you a great or even a good player? Most likely not. On the other hand, a tennis coach would be able to give you the right training that would take your performance to a level that is wholly unattainable on your own. The same logic applies to accent modification.

We’ve all heard the saying “practice makes perfect” – well, no. PERFECT practice makes perfect. Imperfect practice makes… imperfect. Practicing a skill diligently makes it a “habit” by building and reinforcing neural connections and muscle memory. If you’re producing a speech sound inaccurately repeatedly, that inaccuracy will become automatic and a “habit” for you. The longer the misproduction remains unaddressed, the more difficult it becomes to unlearn the “habit” you’ve built.

A qualified and experienced accent coach, such as myself, would give you the necessary feedback, guide you toward accuracy, and give you tips on how to make your practice more effective. I would show you how to achieve your accent goals in a systematic manner, using methods that are scientifically proven to work. I will provide you with all the materials you need for your practice. For more on how an accent training program works, refer to this article.

When you’re ready to take your life and professional career to the next level, I can help you discover the world of new opportunities as a confident speaker. Contact me today and book a complimentary 30-minute consultation.  These 5 Top Tips That Will Take Your Accent Reduction to the Next Level

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