you can lose your accent even as an adult

You Can’t Lose your Accent if you are an Adult. Is this True?

You Can’t Lose your Accent if you are an Adult.  Is this True?

Can you lose your accent if you are an adult is a ques­tion that comes up often.

When we are chil­dren and learn­ing our native lan­guage, the neu­ro­log­i­cal cen­tres that are our lan­guage lis­ten­ing cen­tres, are very plas­tic and wide open.  It makes sense that this is the case. This is the devel­op­men­tal stage in which we acquire our lan­guage and the accent for our  native lan­guage.

As we get old­er, devel­op­men­tal­ly, we have acquired our ear­ly lan­guage and pro­nun­ci­a­tion and so our lan­guage lis­ten­ing cen­tre  isn’t as open as when we are younger. Our brains are focused on putting down new path­ways for oth­er skills we are learn­ing.

Stud­ies have shown that when we are young and we learn more than one lan­guage at once, the neu­rol­o­gy for all the lan­guages is formed in the one area in an inter­con­nect­ed way. The same stud­ies show that when we learn anoth­er lan­guage when we are old­er, the new neu­ro­log­i­cal path­ways for the new lan­guage are formed in an adja­cent area to our native lan­guage.

There­fore, it isn’t as easy as when we are younger to acquire a new lan­guage and accent. Don’t for­get also, we have been learn­ing our native lan­guage and accent by lis­ten­ing and repeat­ing etc for about  5 years by the time we are flu­ent with cor­rect  gram­mar and with clear pro­nun­ci­a­tion. By the time we are 5 or 6 years old, we have acquired most of  the foun­da­tion of the lan­guage and pro­nun­ci­a­tion skills we need  for adult­hood.  We just add more vocab­u­lary  and build a bit on our lan­guage com­plex­i­ty.

Hav­ing said all of that, there are peo­ple who are nat­u­ral­ly good at mim­ic­k­ing accents or learn­ing new lan­guages more quick­ly. It has been pro­posed that these people’s lan­guage lis­ten­ing area, and so their ‘ear’ is still more open than with oth­er peo­ple.

So can you lose your accent if you are an adult?

Yes You can!

Your brain is plas­tic and can form new neu­ro­log­i­cal path­ways.

Just as it took a few years to learn your orig­i­nal lan­guage and accent,  it takes time to change or lose your accent.  When you were a child you lis­tened to those around you, and  repeat­ed and mim­ic­ked what they said over and over and over and over !   And just like that you can also lose your accent or acquire a new accent in Eng­lish. You have to want to do this, and you need to work on it.

You don’t need 5 years though to notice that you are los­ing your accent! Even after just a few weeks of dai­ly prac­tise  you will begin to notice a dif­fer­ence in your pro­nun­ci­a­tion.

Because you are attun­ing your ear to the new accent, and putting down new neu­ro­log­i­cal path­ways, you can lose your accent more quick­ly if you lis­ten to a native speak­er through head­phones. This vibrates the audi­to­ry nerve from your ear to the brain more direct­ly mak­ing the sig­nal more effec­tive.

You can lose your accent entire­ly.  You can neu­tralise your accent.  Or you can keep some of your accent and just speak more clear­ly and be under­stood bet­ter when you speak Eng­lish.   All of this is pos­si­ble with a bit of  prac­tise.

Best wish­es,

Esther

 

 Want to learn more and get con­fi­dent Eng­lish speech?

Click here:

British Accent Train­ing

Amer­i­can Accent Train­ing

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