What is accent reduction?

Accent reduction is a specialized branch of English language instruction providing detailed training in all aspects of pronunciation. As an accent reduction coach, I will work with you to help you achieve a comfortable verbal fluency, so that what you intend to say is exactly what your listener hears.

If pronunciation is addressed at all in English classes, it is usually to adjust a misplaced syllable stress or to try to correct a tricky sound (th, anyone?). Yet rhythm and pitch, the “melody” of the language, and how sounds change in context are equally important for clear communication in English. A mastery of grammar and vocabulary alone are fine if you never intend to speak. Comfortable, real-life communication requires that you be understood.

Through accent reduction training, I will help you to understand what is happening in your mouth, how to train your muscles to recreate unfamiliar sounds, and how to recognize and produce the variation in rhythm and pitch so vital to English communication. I won’t make you repeat “the thistle’s sixth thorn” until you can say it like a native speaker; I will help you build your fluency, your comprehension, and your confidence.

 

My individualized accent reduction training involves:

  • Detailed explanation of how to adjust the movements and “posture” of your vocal organs (tongue, lips, jaw, etc.) to make specific sounds.
  • Analyzing your unique pronunciation features and helping you form new habits.
  • Training your mouth with physical exercises.
  • Showing you how a sound should “look” (hint: it involves a mirror!).
  • Teaching you the phonological rules of English – how sounds change in context (why true may sound like “chroo,” or putting like “pudding”).
  • Helping you to understand the importance of stress and “unstress” in English – how these affect both meaning and pronunciation.
  • Helping you to recognize sounds you may not be differentiating in spoken English.
  • Helping you recognize how intonation (pitch pattern, or the “melody”) affects meaning in English, and how to interpret and produce intonation appropriate to your intended message.
  • Working with you to set and achieve attainable pronunciation targets based on your practical needs and personal goals.