Improve your American English accent
Although the planet Earth is still the same size, the world seems to become smaller everyday. Never the flight companies were in such high demand as now-a-days, not being able to fulfill all the costumers’ demand either for domestic or international flights.
This was not the reality for our parents, and even more for our grandparents. In those days (not so long ago), an international trip was almost an adventure, a very expensive one. Not everyone could afford to enjoy such trips. Crossing the ocean to Europe was a milestone in anyone’s lifetime.
Look how it is today, despite the financial crisis out there: you just go to the Internet, find the best deal (there are so many options that the companies are fighting for you!!), pay with you credit card online, get your passport (and your VISA, if required), and your set to go. That simple. It’s done … you can go almost anywhere around the world (if you can afford it, of course).
If you put this in perspective, and include the border-less Internet, never so many cultures had the chance to get together as it has in these present days. People like people, and want to get together for several different purposes, such as for business, for leisure, to exchange information and learn from each other, to build joint programs, for non-profit humanitarian purposes of helping those in need and more, and more.
In order for people to do any of these things, they need to communicate using all revenues of communication available in order to be completely understood, and achieve their purposes, whatever that might be.
Different cultures normally relates to different languages as well, but we still need to communicate to as many people as we can. Let’s suppose the following scenario: there are four academic researchers around the world, and each one speaks a different language. One speaks Hindu, the other speaks Hebrew, the other speaks Spanish, and the fourth researcher speaks Chinese (Mandarin). How could they all come together to develop a joint research program if none could speak the other researchers’ language?
For several reasons that are not the focus of our discussion today, in the last 70 years, English has progressively become the “universal” language spoken on Earth, despite not being the language naturally spoken by the majority of the human beings. With that been said, these four researchers don’t need to spend their limited time learning to speak all four languages (Hindu, Hebrew, Spanish, and Chinese); all they need to speak is English, so they can easily communicate with each other, right?
Not so simple. Of course been able to write (having a good vocabulary, and a good grammar as well will help a lot) and read in English are very important points, but people need to verbally communicate with each other and, to be honest, that is the most tricky part of communication (and also the most difficult one).
Imagine these four researchers: until they are e-mailing each other, writing grant proposals and filling out documents, everything is fine. They actually only need to read and write in English, and they are set. But what will happen when they have to call each other? Or videochat? What will happen when they have to attend a meeting or make a presentation to each other?
You might do your best effort to pronounce the words in English properly by improving your English accent, but if you cannot do so or if you do it with a very strong accent, people will be stairing blank at your face. You did speak in English (at least you think so … in your own way), but were you able to communicate? Did people understand what you just said? You know the answer.
Pronunciation is one of the most variable aspects of learning English. Until recently, it was one aspect that has been given little attention, but not anymore. The ability to reduce your native accent while increasing your English accent has become a core issue in communication.
When learning a second language (in this case we are talking about English), without learning its correct pronunciation, we tend to substitute our set of sounds for those in the second language. The particular sound substitutions are logical (at least for us), and predictable. However, we might have changed the word in such a way that no one could actually understand what we just said. Had this ever happen to you? It certainly did happen to me (many, many times).
The good news is that learning new pronunciation (the correct pronunciaton, the actual English accent) is a matter of developing or changing a habit. And it is achievable, regardless of your age or how ingrained your pronunciation habits are within you.
Your native accent will always be present, but our purpose here is not to get rid of it, but to reduce your native accent. By doing so, you will be reducing one of the major barriers that are compromising your English communication skills. Our goal here is to reduce your accent, and improve your English accent in order for you to get your message across properly.
Before continuing, if you have not read the posts related to how our brain is wired for learning and basic principles to improve your accent, please do so now in order for you to increase your efficiency in learning English.
Being aware of all the previous discussions already presented, there are some options I would like to recommend to you. These programs will teach you which errors you are making, and exactly how to correct them, besides improving your English vocabulary as well.
Please click the following links for more details on each of these American English accent courses that will help you speak as an American:
Option 1: the American Pronunciation Course
Option 2: the American Accent Audio Course