accent Reduction. Do you qualify?

Accent Reduction. Do you really qualify?

Sounds like an odd question I know.  Accent reduction. Do you really qualify?

Let me paint you a picture.  Does this sound familiar to you?

Some people work hard to pronounce English more clearly.  They listen to the native English trainer in my accent reduction training course, or they go to pronunciation classes. They  listen and repeat, they master the sounds they need to learn, they work on stress and intonation patterns and they sound much clearer. They successfully manage their accent reduction when they are practising.

And then…    They don’t carry it over into everyday situations with friends, at work, with colleagues, or with family.  They don’t use their ‘new English accent’ outside, and don’t even remember to try and do this.   There are a few reasons this happens, but many people don’t use their new accent reduction skills because they aren’t prepared to sound different.

They aren’t mentally prepared to sound different, and may feel embarrassed, or feel scared of  other people’s reactions who are used to hearing them speak with their old accent.

So are you really prepared, and committed to sound different when you speak English?

Whether you want to be clearer, more confident and flowing when you speak, or you want to speak with a full British, American or Australian accent, you need to be prepared to be brave and use your new  ‘sound’ in everyday situations.

Don’t forget that unless you are a master mimic and can just put on a new accent straight away,  the changes in your accent will be piece by piece.  People will get used to your new accent over time.  Of course you could be like one of my clients called Queen, who practised using our British accent training course for long periods every day for three months. Then she rang her sister and surprised her sister with her new accent. Her sister didn’t even know it was Queen speaking! (Read Queen’s story here)

Accent reduction is also about you being  prepared to be OK with sounding different.

As you get used to sounding different in English, and use it in everyday situations, your friends, family, colleagues and customers will notice you are clearer. They will appreciate that they don’t have to work so hard to understand you. You will feel so much more confident and have more fluent English. If you’re aim is to have a full English accent you could let people know what you are doing, and even enlist their help and support in your progress.

One client who  works for a big corporate company, said she felt frustrated because she noticed that when people talk to her, they don’t speak as freely as when they speak to other native English speakers. This happens even though her English comprehension is perfect. After using the Australian accent training course, she has been prepared to ‘sound different’ at work, and has noticed people reacting differently and more positively to her.

One client who had been working on his accent for a couple of months wanted some feedback from me.  I told him his English accent was becoming really good, and asked him how he felt about it. Despite the fact that he had wanted to change his accent in English, he said he felt strange and it turned out he hadn’t been using his new accent at work.  He was not mentally prepared to sound different when he spoke English!

So let me ask you again.  Accent reduction-  do you really qualify?

I would be interested to hear your comments on this in the comment section below.

Best wishes, Esther

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Comments 3

  1. One of our customers emailed me after reading this blog because he was confused.
    He said that if someone practises their new accent enough and it becomes automatic, then even if they are embarrassed to use it with others, when they speak the new accent will just automatically come out.
    He was right in one way. There are the people who almost tend to sabotage themselves by not practising enough so that their new sounds or accent don’t become automatic. They are scared or embarrassed and so don’t commit themselves to their practise and their clear speech in English. They don’t practise enough to be automatic, or they don’t make the effort to mimic the trainer exactly in our accent reduction courses and so don’t make the mental leap to change.
    There are also those who practise enough to sound different when they practise, but don’t consolidate it enough and actually choose to not switch on their new accent when they speak in certain situations.
    So my question is are you really prepared to sound different in English?

  2. One of our customers emailed me after reading this blog because he was confused.
    He said that if someone practises their new accent enough and it becomes automatic, then even if they are embarrassed to use it with others, when they speak the new accent will just automatically come out.
    He was right in one way. There are the people who almost tend to sabotage themselves by not practising enough so that their new sounds or accent don’t become automatic. They are scared or embarrassed and so don’t commit themselves to their practise and their clear speech in English. They don’t practise enough to be automatic, or they don’t make the effort to mimic the trainer exactly in our accent reduction courses and so don’t make the mental leap to change.
    There are also those who practise enough to sound different when they practise, but don’t consolidate it enough and actually choose to not switch on their new accent when they speak in certain situations.
    So my question is are you really prepared to sound different in English?

  3. I don’t get it… why don’t teachers work on their students’ accent the first time around in learning a foreign language? When I learned French I worked like crazy to master the accent, because otherwise people just won’t understand what you’re saying. Chinese is even worse…. too many words sound similar to an English speaker’s ear. There’s no point in even learning if you can’t be understood. why don’t teachers focus on this? My French teacher made us say au-dessus and au-dessous till we were blue in the face, and consequently people can understand what I’m saying…

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