what is accent modification?

Everyone who learns a second language after the age of four or five will speak it with an "accent."

Accent modification is the systematic process used to learn or adopt a new accent. The methodology involves several steps, which include identifying deviations in your current speech from the desired accent (such as pronunciation, speech patterns, and speech habits), changing the way you use your mouth, teeth, and tongue to form vowel and consonant sounds, modifying your intonation and stress patterns, and changing your speaking rhythm.

Using this method, individuals may alter their speech to more closely resemble the accent of a certain group of people, and thus enhance the clarity of their communication with those people.

Accents are considered speech differences, not disabilities. Nevertheless, they can persist for years after learning a second language and present a continuing hindrance, both personally and professionally.

FAQs

Why should I modify my accent? My English is fluent and I have excellent professional credentials.

Clear communication in your second language is a skill that will benefit both you and your employer. Effective and articulate speech will inspire listeners to have greater confidence in your knowledge and professionalism.

How can I change speech patterns I've had since early childhood? Do accent modification programs really work?

Speech is an automatic motor skill or "habit pattern," and habits can be hard to break! Changing speech behavior requires that you train new fine motor coordination patterns and establish new neural brain connections. Just as you can't learn to play a piano by listening to recordings, you can't change your accent by listening passively to those around you. You must make an active effort and train your brain with daily practice. Having a skilled instructor who gives clear directions and accurate feedback will facilitate the change.

My accent reflects my cultural heritage. Does modifying my accent mean that I'm losing my identity?

The goal of accent modification is not to "remove" an accent, but rather to improve pronunciation and clarity. Accent modification training helps you to be in control of your accent, while still retaining your individuality and cultural uniqueness.

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Why should I work with a speech-language pathologist rather than an ESL teacher?

Accent modification is not ESL training. Accent modification is a formal training process that makes your speech easier to understand and begins where ESL courses end. Unlike ESL teachers, speech–language pathologists are specially trained in analysis of speech patterns and designing systematic programs for changing them. You will enrich you expressive language while you learn the correct pronunciation of new material.

Learn more about Catapult Speech's accent modification program >>

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"Since completing the accent modification program, my confidence has improved along with my sales performance."

John M., sales representative

"I found Catapult Speech's program to be extremely helpful. I liked the high level of professionalism and personalization, and particularly enjoyed being able to listen to the materials on my iPod."

Elizabeth C., accountant

"Honestly, the best thing about working with Catapult Speech is my increased confidence. I find that I'm not nervous when I have to speak in front of large groups, which makes my job so much easier. I actually enjoy giving presentations now!"

Rita T., office manager