Reduce your accent and speak to be understood
Communication has never been so important to accomplish either personal or professional goals as now-a-days. The ability to write and read is no longer suffice, but speaking (verbal communication) has become crucial in order for you to succeed in your carrier, specially when it involves a language other than your mother language.
What if you cannot speak (and make yourself understandable) the language used to achieve your purpose? What if your accent becomes a communication barrier, drastically reducing your ability to exchange information in the streets, in a classroom, in a business meeting, or during in a scientific or marketing presentation?
If you fulfill any of the following conditions, this site will definitely help you overcome them:
- You feel very anxious when you have to speak out loud the foreign language you need to communicate in;
- Even though you can understand most of what is being said, you feel embarrassed to speak, afraid that people won’t understand you because of your strong accent;
- You wouldn’t dare to make a public presentation in that foreign language;
- When the telephone rings, and you know you would have to speak in that specific language, you panic and ask someone else to pickup the phone;
- When you are visiting a foreign country that speaks that language, you feel uncomfortable to ask for directions, to mingle with the people from the surroundings, or do other mundane daily activities;
- When you go to a restaurant in which the service is held in a language different than you own, you ask for whatever you are going to have by pointing to the menu without a clue of what you are going to eat;
I could go on-and-on forever, but you get the point here. If any of these situations seems familiar, you are at the right place because here you will be presented with the tools that will help you develop the language skills to overcome these present communication barriers.
Who speaks with an accent?
Everyone speaks with an accent, even if you are an American, since you may speak with an accent from a different region within the United States. You may also speak English with an accent if English is not your mother’s language. You may even speak Spanish with an English accent if you are learning Spanish. You can clearly identify people from different cultural backgrounds just by their language accent, and this is one thing that we take with us no matter where we go … our accent.
The best way to describe an accent is that is the unique way that words are pronounced by a group of people speaking the same language. There are many factors that do affect people’s accent, and these accents can be grouped as follows:
- Regional Accents - for example, within the United States, people from Tennessee often sound different than people from New York.
- Foreign Accents - for example, people who were raised speaking English will have a different accent than those who were raised speaking Spanish and then learned English as an adult.
Accents are a natural part of any spoken language, and there is no accent better than another … they are just different. One very important aspect related to language accents is that they are not language (or speech) disorder that has to be treated. It is just the mechanics of spoken language that can be reduced with specific training.
Can I change my accent?
The answer is yes, you can improve your accent in any language you want, but keep in mind that it requires hard work, and practice. The more you practice, the better (and faster) you can reduce your unwanted accent, and speak more naturally the language you are willing to do so.
If you can find and afford the help of a qualified speech-language pathologist, you can learn how to change your speech pronunciation. But what if you cannot either find nor afford a personal speech-therapist, would you be lost without hope? Absolutely not … there are efficient and affordable options that can help you with your accent reduction.
There are many people who are interested in the accent reduction programs and these include some of the following examples:
- Non-native English speakers willing to speak a better English
- Foreign academic, scientific, business and health-related professionals who want to improve their communication skills due to their foreign accent
- People with very strong regional accent who want to reduce it
- Actors who need to learn a new accent for a role or performance in a movie, TV series or theather play
- People who like to travel to experience different cultures, and want to be able to feel more comfortable with the language
- More, much more …
Limiting lies … be careful not to believe in them
There are several myths related to learning a new foreign language that are so widely spread that we don’t even question them anymore: if someone is bring that subject up, it’s because they know better than I.
When this happens, we just accept these statements as an absolute truth, we establish our mindset with these paradigms, and we are done. Here are some of these “truths” you might have heard:
- “You can only learn a new language while you are young; once you become an adult, you’re done with this ability and won’t be able to learn any new foreign language at all”;
- “You have a bad memory so you are not wired to learn a new language”;
- “Since you find it difficult to learn a new language, it is probably because you can’t learn it, so you might just let it go because you lack the ability to learn it anyway”;
Have you ever heard any of these statements? I would say so.
Here is the real deal: Anyone can learn a new foreign language at any time they please to do so, regardless of their age or memory abilities!
If you learn a new language while your brain is developing, it might be easier to get rid your mother’s language accent (or reduce it significantly), since this is a biological developmental process that happens while the brain of an infant and a teenager are developing, but this is as far as the “truth” goes. The rest are pure myths!!!
So keep in mind that unless you were exposed when you were at early ages to the language you would like to speak, living in an environment where that language was mostly spoken (immersion) abroad or you studied in a bilingual school, it is very difficult to completely eliminate the influence of your mother’s language accent in the new language you are trying to learn or improve.
Bear with me … your native accent is not a problem at all, absolutely. It’s even charming. The problem appears when your accent is so strong that impair others to understand what you are saying. People that are listening to you just stares you blank and say … “What did you say?!!”. That’s when approaches to accent reduction comes into play.
Benefits of accent improvement
There are several benefits of not only learning a new language, but even more advantages when speaking it with the correct accent so you can communicate more efficiently your message. Among a few of these aspect, here are some that might relate to you:
- Increase your confidence when speaking that specific foreign language, which will reduce your anxiety when having to do so;
- Increase your foreign language communication effectiveness;
- Boost your carrier by outstanding you from your peers, even with a positive impact on your salary;
- Bring new job opportunities due to your communication skills;
- Increase your personal and professional network;
- You will have a fantastic sense of proud by being able to improve yourself and enjoy a new world that is still unavailable to those lacking your foreign language skills.
- More … much more!
How can you reduce your accent?
Our purpose here is not to eliminate your mother’s language accent , but to reduce your accent which might be causing communication difficulties, decreasing your communication effectiveness and increasing your anxiety, which only goes against you.
If limited foreign language skills has become a communication obstacule in any aspects of your life, we might be able to help you out here with our three core purposes, which are:
- If the foreign language knowledge is not where you would like it to be or if you know absolutely nothing about it, we will help you get started and improve your language skills by increasing your abilities to write, read, listen (an understand) and speak correctly in the language you are interested in;
- If you have a good grasp of the specific foreign language grammar (writing and reading are not the main obstacles for you), but you have serious problems when comes the moment to verbally communicate within that new language. You don’t know how to pronounce the words properly, which limits your confidence and your abilities to get your message through. Don’t worry, we will present you some of the best approaches to overcome these obstacules;
- If you already can write, read, and speak that language, but you want to improve your verbal communication skills by reducing your native accent while improving you foreign language accent as well. In this case, keep in mind that our purpose is not to eliminate your mother’s language accent, but to reduce your native accent that might be causing communication barriers, decreasing your communication effectiveness and increasing your anxiety, which only goes against you.
Here we will present you with the state-of-the-art approaches to help you …
- Learn a new language from scratch;
- Improve your skills in language you are willing to become proficient in;
- Help you reduce your native accent and improve your accent in the language you want to communicate within;
- Teach you how to maintain the language you’ve learned while keep on improving your foreign language skills.
The importance of YOU
You will see that I will stress throughout this site the importance of YOU in the process of learning a new language.
It doesn’t matter which approach you chose to learn whatever foreign language you want to, as well as it doesn’t matter how expensive (or how much you saved) is the course you choose, the approach you’ve chosen is only half the way … if you don’t engage in the process and do your part of the work, you won’t get anything at all.
It is like having a meal: I can be the best chef in the world and prepare you the most nutritious and delicious dish you love. All I can do is pick the best ingredients, prepare them in order for them to be appealing to your desire (sight, smell and taste) but all of it will be completely worthless if you don’t eat the food … you will starve in front of your favorite dish!
And eating is the only thing I cannot do for you … this is completely up to you!
So here is how it is going to work … I’ll set the table and the environment, prepare the meals in the best possible way, invite you to sit at the table and help you choose the dish you like the most … the rest is up to you!
But always remember that once you start eating, you will be delighted by the taste, your body will absorb the nutrients in the food and you will have the strength to keep on going, pursuing your goals.
Keep in mind that learning a new foreign language and improving your verbal communication and accent in that specific language is NOT your goal … it is just a means (or a path, if you will) that will allow you to achieve your real purposes, whatever they might be.
So let’s get started …