Accent Reduction Tip- You May Not Want to Do This But It Works

You May Not Want To Do This But It Works- Accent Reduc­tion Tip

There are many tips that can help in accent reduc­tion, though one main fea­ture of reduc­ing an accent or speak­ing more clear­ly in Eng­lish, is often over­looked.

Stu­dents don't always want to do this or pay atten­tion to it, because it takes effort. Some­times, if it's a sound or accent reduc­tion ele­ment that is new to them, they don't want to take the time to mas­ter it.

To change the way we say some­thing, it is impor­tant to be able to hear it, or feel it, or both.

Often as I work with stu­dents in skype coach­ing lessons, I ask the stu­dent, “Can you feel how dif­fer­ent that feels to the way you were mov­ing your mouth before?”  While you are prac­tis­ing you need to notice this, and ‘feel' if you are mov­ing your mouth dif­fer­ent­ly. If you aren't, then chances are you're just mak­ing the sounds or rhythm, or stress pat­terns exact­ly the same way as before.

It does take an effort to move your mouth dif­fer­ent­ly, and do this con­sis­tent­ly until you have cre­at­ed new mus­cle mem­o­ry in your mouth for your accent reduc­tion work and clear speech in Eng­lish.

Accent Reduc­tion Tip

Old way/ New way tech­nique

This accent reduc­tion tech­nique is use­ful for what­ev­er you are work­ing on mas­ter­ing with your Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion and accent reduc­tion. It's espe­cial­ly use­ful to use when you are mas­ter­ing con­so­nants or vow­els in Eng­lish that aren’t in your native lan­guage.

Let’s say you are try­ing to learn the diph­thong (vow­el made up of 2 vow­el sounds said togeth­er), ‘ay'//, and you usu­al­ly say just ‘e’ /ɛ/instead.

For instance you say ‘sem' for same /seɪm/. That is, you leave the sec­ond part of the vow­el out. You don't say the ‘i' – and don't make your mouth into the smile posi­tion sound after the ‘e', but cut the vow­el short.  You can use the old way/new way tech­nique to help your mouth feel the dif­fer­ence, and so get used to mov­ing dif­fer­ent­ly. 

It works like this:
-Go to the word list on the ‘ay’ prac­tise page in our accent train­ing course, or make up a list of ‘ay’ words. 
-Then say each word the old way (your usu­al way), and then lis­ten to the train­er and copy them say­ing it the new way. You also have a detailed descrip­tion there to tell you how to move your mouth. 
You have to do some­thing dif­fer­ent with your mouth the sec­ond time oth­er­wise you will say the same thing twice!

-You may need to do this sev­er­al times using the same word list till your ‘ear’ and mouth get used to the new way your mouth parts have to move.
-Then, just say it the new way.
-Next, prac­tise using the ‘new’ way in the words in the sen­tences on the prac­tise page.

For exam­ple if you say the ‘e’ instead of the  ‘ay’ diph­thong you would say:
sem (old way)  then say same  (/seɪm/– new way mak­ing sure you say both parts of the vow­el before you say the /m/)
ren – then say rain
let -then say late
tren -then say train
pen­ful -and then say painful

You can also use the same accent reduc­tion tech­nique for stress and rhythm and into­na­tion. You could say the sen­tence your usu­al way  and then active­ly lis­ten to the train­er in our course say  the sen­tence, and mim­ic the new way. Even though you are say­ing a few words togeth­er in a sen­tence, your jaw rhythm and into­na­tion etc should feel dif­fer­ent to the usu­al way your mouth feels and moves- maybe less stac­ca­to, smoother and more flow­ing.

So there is my accent reduc­tion tip you may not want to do,But It Works.

Best wish­es, Esther


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