Especially if you are communicating in complicated business and personal environments.
Many people have difficulties in clearly articulating their speech in English because of their native language accent. Though in some instances you may feel ashamed or disregarded, there’s nothing wrong with it.
Speaking crystal-clear English comes with its benefits. Perhaps it's a job interview that you want to ace, or maybe there is someone special you want to express yourself to clearly, but can't.
Either way, clear speech is understood speech. Therefore, if you are struggling with clearly expressing yourself, then you should consider ways of reducing, even removing, your accent.
One of the best ways is to take an online course:
Top Pick: Accent Reduction Made Easy
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The 5 Best Online Accent Reduction Classes
How To Know If Your Accent Is Too Heavy
Before looking at the tips, let’s understand how you can ascertain heavy accents. For some people, it isn’t that obvious. However, there are some ways you can use to tell if it is too heavy or not.
For instance, you could ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I hear pardon every time I speak?
- Have I ever lost a job opportunity because of my poor speaking?
- Do people get in on my conversations or do they just blankly nod in agreement to avoid being rude?
If you’ve experienced one, two, or all these scenarios, you should consider reducing your accent.
Smithsonian Magazine, in their latest research, found that we first learn language pronunciation before we start speaking. It goes further to suggest that babies start differentiating pronunciation as early as six months.
Therefore, your focus shouldn’t be on mimicking how someone speaks. No, your goal should be communicating clearly and getting understood. It’s simple as that, and if you get this from the start, you won’t have too much trouble with reducing your accent.
What is Accent Reduction?
It’s the process used to help non-native English speakers improve their English speaking skills. It is designed to reduce the influence of their mother tongue while making their English clearer.
Here, there are 4 areas of study involving sounds and intonation. The 4 parts include:
- Consonant sounds
- Vowel sounds
As you may know, consonant sounds stop the flow of air as it leaves the body. To produce consonant sounds, you have to employ three significant aspects. The aspects include the place you stop the air, how you stop the air, and finally, the voicing. All these adhere to helping you reduce your accent.
In vowel sounds, you learn how to release a voice by shaping your mouth in a particular way. According to Pronunciation Studio, Great Britain English employs 12 shapes that combine to form 19 sounds. Therefore, understanding vowel sounds can help reduce your accent by learning how to place the lips, jaw, and tongue precisely.
Thirdly, we look at stress. It involves emphasizing or putting stress on certain words or syllables while leaving others weak. You should change the pitch, lengthen the vowel, and increase the volume to stress certain words effectively.
Additionally, tone comprises the direction and pitch of your voice as you speak. This, if properly applied, can help improve the clarity of your speaking.
One of the best things about the internet and mobile devices is easing access to almost anything. People can now remotely order goods or services from other regions in the comfort of their homes.
Among the possibilities, you can now take online classes and even communicate with your tutors online using various applications. As someone struggling with your accent, there are many apps that you can use to improve your speaking skills.
A useful application for reducing your accent emphasizes your pronunciation. It should focus on helping you achieve friendly, articulate, and easy to understand English. Like an excellent ESL tutor, these applications help you step by step to work on your speech.
They determine where your pronunciation problems lie and help you work on improving. Take advantage of the various in-built features to work on reducing your accent.
Like the applications, these classes are for students who struggle with clearly speaking English because of their accents. In most cases, some individuals are proficient in areas such as vocabulary, reading, and listening comprehension.
However, when it comes to speaking with Native Americans, their heavy accents cause huge barriers. Like most methods, these classes determine which areas trouble you the most by a diagnostic evaluation of how you speak.
Afterward, you can learn vowels, consonants, diphthongs, tricky clusters, and different combinations not found in many languages. Taking these classes will help improve your speaking skills through oral exercises, interactive discussions, reading aloud, and mini-presentations, among other ways.
Such practices will build up your self-confidence so that you can boldly and fully engage in conversations anytime and with anyone.
On the web, you can find many sites offering accent reduction courses. Their aim is more or less the same as these other ways, to help improve your speaking skills. With these courses, you can learn how to clearly and effectively communicate in American English.
You’ll learn how to apply pronunciation rules and syllable stress, among fundamentals related to this matter. Additionally, these online courses teach relevant vocabulary, immediate application, delivery, and you’ll have video case studies to help in achieving your goal.
Making use of ESL teachers is one of the best ways of working on reducing your accent. As far as our suggestion goes, you’ll get the most out of learning with English as second language teachers. Working with them helps in understanding where the problems are and how exactly they need to be corrected.
Like the first tip, ESL tutors work on first determining your problems by checking on your pronunciation. Once aware of where the question is, ESL teachers give you exercises on improving your pronunciation.
One assumption about ESL tutors that makes most people struggling with heavy accents disregard them is their costs. However, the Quick and Dirty Tips website suggests that you can easily find these ESL tutors in colleges, non-profit organizations, and local libraries for FREE! That’s right; you can effectively learn how to reduce your accent without paying anything.
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