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Accent Reduction Specialist

Updated on August 26, 2015

What is an accent?

An accent is the unique way that speech is pronounced by a group of people speaking the same language. A person's accent depends on many factors; however, accents are usually grouped in the following way:

Regional Accents - for example, people who are from Texas often sound different than people who are from New York.

Foreign Accents - for example, someone who was raised speaking English will sound different than someone who was raised speaking Spanish and learned English as an adult.

Accents are a natural part of spoken languages. It is important to realize that no accent is better than another. It should also be stressed that accents are NOT a speech or language disorder.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2011).

Accent Modification. Retrieved (2-12-2011) from

(The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)

How do accents affect communication?

Accents reflect the unique characteristics and background of a person. Many people take great pride in their accents. However, some people may have difficulty communicating because of their accent. The difficulties include the following:

People not understanding you

Avoiding social interaction with those who may not understand you

Frustration from having to repeat yourself all the time

People focusing on your accent more than on what you are trying to say

These types of communication problems may have negative effects on job performance, educational advancement, and everyday life activities. It may also negatively affect your self-esteem if you are having trouble communicating because of an accent. For all of these reasons, some people want to modify or change their accent.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2011).

Accent Modification. Retrieved (2-12-2011) from

(The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)

Can I change my accent?

Yes, with lots of hard work, practice, and the help of a qualified speech-language-pathologist (SLP), you can learn how to change your speech pronunciation. Changing your accent is also known as Accent Modification or Accent Reduction. An SLP can provide services to speakers who want to modify or reduce their accent. People who receive these types of services include the following:

Non-native English speakers

Speakers who want to reduce a regional accent

Business and medical professionals who want to improve their communication skills because of a foreign or regional accent.

Actors who need to learn a new accent for a role or performance

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2011).

Accent Modification. Retrieved (2-12-2011) from

(The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)

What can I expect from a speech-language pathologist?

You should first receive a thorough evaluation of your individual speech pattern. The SLP will evaluate your:

Sound pronunciation (consonants and vowels)

Stress, rhythm, and intonation of speech

You may be asked to read words, sentences, and paragraphs. The SLP will also listen to your speech in conversation. After all of this information has been collected, the SLP will determine what can be done to modify your accent and improve your overall communication. A set of goals based on your individual needs should be developed. Training sessions may be individual or in small groups.

As noted before, speaking with an accent is not a speech or language disorder. Because of this, services to change your accent are not covered by insurance. You will need to speak with your SLP about payment options.

For more information please visit our website at: www.perfectlyspeaking.com

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2011).

Accent Modification. Retrieved (2-12-2011) from

(The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)

This information was brought to you by Perfectly Speaking, LLC. We take pride in providing speech-language pathology services to "build communication skills and confidence!"

Communication Maximized

Effective communication impacts our lives in a positive manner. People that have mastered the art of communicating effectively will tell you that they have no difficulty getting the job or promotion they want. Not only can they get the job they want, they have developed the art of connectivity that allow them to easily connect with people. Connectivity is the ability to establish a rapport and form new relationships with people. Why is forming new relationships with people important? Friendships can create wealth as it allows both parties to exchange information to gain leads and the end result, is cash flow.

People with 'accents' find it difficult to form relationships with others because their accent acts as a communication barrier. A barrier is like a brick wall standing between people wishing to establish genuine relationships with others. Imagine a brick wall standing in front of you while talking to someone directly next to you. You can't see the person's facial expression or gestures, the tone of their voice may be altered, and they may sound like they are talking under water or muffled.

Accents can sometimes create frustration for the speaker and the listener. The listener is continuously saying, "can you repeat that" or "I don't understand what you are trying to say". The speaker will more than likely become frustrated because they continue to repeat the same message but has not accomplished conveying the message effectively.

People with accents can maximize their communication performance by reducing their accent to effectively convey important messages within their environment. Reducing your accent does not get rid of your accent totally, what it does is minimizes it so that people can focus on 'what you say' instead of 'how you say it'. ©

Author:

Cynthia Willis, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

Corporate Speech-Language Pathologist

Former Professional Model

Image Consultant

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