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

P.s. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Leave me a comment in the comments section below.

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Comments 31

      1. Hi Esther I have bought you course few months ago but I forget to get audio how can get it. As I contact you twice and no one answer my request.

      1. Hi Esther I have bought you course few months ago but I forget to get audio how can get it. As I contact you twice and no one answer my request.

  1. hi Esther I have bought you course few months ago but I forget to get audio how can get it. As I contact you twice and no one answer my request.

  2. hi Esther I have bought you course few months ago but I forget to get audio how can get it. As I contact you twice and no one answer my request.

  3. Great encouragement! Thank you so much! Could you be more specific on the techniques of listening and speaking? Thank you.

  4. Great encouragement! Thank you so much! Could you be more specific on the techniques of listening and speaking? Thank you.

  5. That’s true! I’m Italian and I’ve been improving my English pronounciation quite a bit for almost a month now, since I began talking in vocal chat on Discord with a native American friend of mine almost everyday! Although I don’t feel like I’ve lost my Italian accent at all while I speak English, but I do notice that I fatigue a lot less in speaking English on top of my head than before.
    This friend tells me that my English pronounciation isn’t totally perfect yet, but I’m almost there! Currently, my hardest part is to figure out when I have to pronounce TH as “F” or “D” or “V” while freely speaking.

      1. Do you have a coach that listens to people and tell you what you are saying wrongly. Like with me i do not think my accent is that bad but a lot people can hear it right away why i cannot. I feel it would be nice for a coach to let me know what i am pronouncing wrong

  6. I learned my French in Belgium, but it was years ago. Living in Canada seemed to foul it up. I’m back now in Belgium (but a different part) and they keep calling me a damned “American” when I speak in French, and they switch Into English…that’s MEAN, by the way. I was told that that’s the kind of thing that FRANCE does when they think they’re talking to an “American.” I was actually born in FRANCE, not that anyone believes me even when I shove my birth certificate in their faces. Here’s the problem – I thought I’d come back to Belgium to get my “Liègeois” accent BACK but how do I do it if these people are being this way about it? Oh sure, everyone says plunk myself in some small town in Wallonia well OUTSIDE the cities where people either speak English or want to, where everything they listen to on the radio is in English either from England or from America, do it that way.
    How is this not going to take the 2 years that it did back in 2000-02 when I did my Master’s degree here??? I haven’t GOT that long; meanwhile I can’t get a job or hold a conversation or be taken seriously because they fake like they can’t understand me or something. This is as bloody mean as Quebec was. (and in the francophone world that’s saying something!)
    Maybe the only answer is to go somewhere DEEP in either the French or Swiss Alps where there’s NOTHING in English and do it that way? Problem is, being pissed off at them is ruining my attempts to speak their language! I don’t want to speak to anyone in any language, not if they’re going to be that way about it. So I just hole up and listen to radio-Liège all day and basically feel sorry for myself because I’m being treated like shit. And apply like crazy for online-chat jobs so I don’t have to talk to anyone in any language, just type.
    And before anyone say “well that’s the French for ‘ya” the English are far, far worse. And my German isn’t anywhere near good enough to pass in Germany or Austria without having to speak English, which gets me treated like a damned “American!” even though I was born in France. There’s no such thing as an “American born in France.” If you’re born on French soil you’re FRENCH. (This is for people who can’t read with any comprehension.)

    1. Do you have to keep writing damned before writing American? Is it really that offensive to you. Do you hate Americans in general? Just wondering out of curiosity, but was disappointed reading what you wrote.

    2. I have a similar issue in Spanish. I grew up speaking Spanish as my first language but I went to school in English and grew up in the states. Now everytime I speak Spanish which I was surrounded by Spanish Music, TV, Radio and my whole family hearing it day in and day out even dreaming in Spanish but Spanish speakers from other countries make fun of me and treat me like trash. It’s discrimination and it makes me not want to speak my own language, MY OWN NATIVE LANGUAGE!!! I hope people treat you better soon. I am having trouble with a job as well.

      1. Hi Juanidibuja, sorry to hear you’re going through that 🙁 It’s very difficult! People should be kinder to one another 🙂 I hope you are able to find work soon.

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