An accent is not a speech or language disorder. It is the manner of pronunciation that is typical of a particular individual, location, or nation. Every spoken language has a specific accent. Nonetheless, an accent can present itself as a communication barrier. A thick accent often makes the most common words sound foreign. Hence, many choose to opt for accent modification or accent reduction to make themselves easily understandable.
- What is an Accent?
- What Are The Different Types of Accents?
- Why is Accent Modification Necessary?
- Can You Modify Your Accent?
- Can Speech Therapy Help with Accent Modification?
- What Are Accent Evaluation and Assessment?
- Why Should You Work with A Licensed Speech Therapist for Accent Modification?
- What Does Accent Modification Training Look Like?
- What Are The Advantages of Stamurai Speech Therapy for Accent Modification?
1. What is an Accent?
An accent is a distinctive way of speaking that may be particular to a group of people, location, or nation. Everyone has an accent! The nature of the accent varies from one region to another, and one country to another.
When you travel to a new country or a different part of your country, you may notice that the locals sound different. There is always a difference in how people pronounce the same words, vowel, and consonant combinations even when they are from different regions of the same country.
People sound different from one another for a variety of reasons including locality, ethnicity (ethnolect), socioeconomic status, social class, and their first language. While our accents tell others about our unique social, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, they may also become a barrier to effective communication.
Having a thick foreign accent can reduce one's clarity of speech. The troubles can range from disruptions in the natural flow of conversations to the complete inability to communicate with a native speaker during an emergency. Accents are NEVER a communication disorder, but accents can become hindrances to effective communication.
Here's a quick and accurate guide to help you understand accent modification, accent modification assessments, online accent modification techniques, and how speech therapy can help.
2. What Are The Different Types of Accents?
When people learn new languages or move from one country to another, they always carry their accents with them. It’s like carrying a little part of home!
A person’s accent depends on several factors, but the two most common groups of accents are –
- Regional Accents – Have you noticed how people from Portland, Oregon sound different from people from Manhattan, New York? They are from the same country and speak the same language, but they sound very different. This is known as a regional accent.
- National Origin Accents – When you learn English as a second or third language in your adulthood, it is natural for you to speak the language with an accent. It’s nothing bad or shameful at all! However, it may make it difficult for the English-speaking natives to understand you.
As you can see, accents are natural and part of every spoken language. No accent is better or worse than another. Modifying an accent or reducing it is your choice.
3. Why Accent Modification May Be Necessary?
Accents can tell people where you are from and the language you speak at home. Nonetheless, your unique rhythm of speech and intonation can make it difficult for others to understand you. People may have a difficult time grasping the gist of your speech. You may even feel frustrated because you have to repeat yourself while talking.
Here’s why a number of our clients seek accent modification –
- They face difficulty being understood by the native speakers
- They have to repeat themselves quite often
- People pay more attention to the accent than their message
- They face unfair attitudes from listeners due to their accents
- They have faced or continue to face bias/barriers due to their accent in social, work, and/or educational environments
The communication challenges posed by thick accents can affect your self-esteem, professional/educational advancement, social life, and personal life. If you feel the need to modify or neutralize your accent, it’s completely alright. Begin by contacting a licensed and experienced speech therapist. You can find online speech therapy for accent modification right here at Stamurai.
4. Can You Modify Your Accent?
Accent modification or accent neutralization is completely possible for an adult. It may include simple accent modification treatment protocols that consist of accent modification exercises and activities for adults.
While it can be difficult to change an accent completely, you can consult a qualified speech-language pathologist for an accent modification assessment. An experienced professional can tell you how much change your accent needs to make you more understandable to your listeners.
5. Can Speech Therapy Help with Accent Modification?
Speech therapy is a significant part of accent modification treatment. Therapy can include accent modification activities, and exercises suited for various ages and professions.
Speech therapy can help you identify the phrases, sounds, rhythms, and intonations that set you apart from the native speaker. Accent modification techniques aim to enable you to modify these speech patterns and make your accent less conspicuous.
Speech therapists are professionals who can evaluate your accent, help you identify the areas that need work, and provide you with instructions that can reduce or modify your accent.
If you are an adult who has learned English as a second language in their adulthood, it may not be realistic to expect that your accent will vanish completely. You may not sound identical to a native English speaker. However, accent modification techniques mastered with the help of skilled speech therapists can help you speak more intelligibly and confidently.
6. What Are Accent Evaluation and Assessment?
When you opt for accent modification therapy, speech therapists will first take a close look at the nature of your accent and speech patterns. Since each person may have a unique accent, a professional will ask you to repeat specific words, sounds, and phrases.
Accent evaluation consists of –
- Understanding how you produce different sounds
- Capturing the rhythms and intonation in your speech
- Measuring your intelligibility
- Determining how you sound in a conversation
- Determining the impact of your accent on your daily life
Your speech therapist will also ask you questions about –
- The language(s) you speak at home
- The details about second language acquirement
- The method of learning these languages (school, or community)
- The language(s) you commonly use at home, school/work, or in social situations
- The extent of the use of each language in daily life
The uniqueness of each language calls for bespoke accent modification therapy ideas for adults. Consulting a professional speech therapist will arm you with tailored accent modification goals best suited for your age, profession, and social life. These plans and goals are based on the unique cultural and linguistic background of each individual. Therefore, you can expect pronunciation training, at-home accent modification exercises, daily practice activities, and short-term objectives to be a part of your personal accent training plan.
7. Why Should You Work with A Licensed Speech Therapist for Accent Modification?
A licensed SLP or speech therapist will first assess the impact of your accent on your communication and life. Second, they will provide you with the accent modification resources you need to begin the modification journey.
The roles of a speech therapist can include –
- Giving the necessary and relevant information regarding accents and accent modification
- Educating the client about the entire process of accent modification and the possible outcomes
- Providing counsel regarding the communication-related problems the client currently faces
- Determining the necessity and applicability of various accent modification exercises
- Chalking out a therapy plan comprising of multiple sessions and achievable goals for the client
8. What Does Accent Modification Training Look Like?
The training plan and basic accent modification exercises can look different for each person. Different speech therapists use different accent modification training approaches.
Some of the common strategies that you may come across during accent modification training include –
- Listening and imitating – the client has to repeat a model given by the therapist
- Minimal pair and contextualized minimal pair drills – the client is shown the contrast between similar sounds while the therapist provides a discernable context
- Using visual aids – the client is given pictures, mirrors, sound-color charts, and the vowel quadrilateral to assist the production of sounds
- Tongue twisters – the therapist helps the client navigate through sentences that are difficult to say correctly due to the repetition of consonantal sounds (e.g. she sells sea shells on the seashore)
- Phonetic training – the client receives exclusive training in phonemics through detailed descriptions and the use of articulatory position diagrams of the phonetic alphabet
- Practicing vowel production and altering the stress patterns in spoken language
- Providing visual feedback
- Building awareness around the production and linking of consonants in speech
Recording the client’s speech production for providing accurate feedback and review.
9. What Are The Advantages of Stamurai Speech Therapy for Accent Modification?
Stamurai provides online speech therapy for accent modification. Opting for online speech therapy with Stamurai means bypassing the need for traveling or searching for expert speech therapists in your locality. You can connect with our trained and certified speech therapists online from the comfort of your home.
You will continue to receive exclusive and personalized accent modification therapy plans, progress reports, and daily/weekly therapy goals from our team of specialists. You can access our repertoire of speech therapy tools and follow your progress using your smartphone or laptop. You can book and attend a session at the click of a button.
The convenience and easy access make online speech therapy for accent modification in adults the #1 choice across the globe.