What is an accent?
A foreign accent is simply evidence of learning American English as a second or additional language.
A regional American English accent is a set of pronunciation patterns consistent with the speaker’s native regional dialect (e.g. someone from Texas may sound different than someone from New York).
Although accents are NOT in any way speech disorders, the presence of an accent can cause listeners to work harder to understand the speaker’s message and lead to communication breakdowns in that way. If this happens, the accented speaker may elect to change his or her accent by seeking accent modification instruction.
What is accent modification?
Formerly termed ‘accent reduction’, accent modification aims to teach the client a skillset that they can use to sound more like a native speaker of American English (or their current regional dialect). The result is less ‘accented’ American English.
Who can benefit from accent reduction?
Anyone who wishes to reach personal or professional goals that have been hindered to any degree by their accent. Traditional accent modification clients include actors, business professionals, professors/educators, and those responsible for public speaking.
Accent Modification Program:
The Compton PESL (Pronouncing English as a Second Language) Accent Modification Method program by the Institute of Language & Phonology will be used. The program will consist of either 7-week or 13-week course (60 minutes per session each week), depending on number of areas that require attention. The 7-week course is appropriate for clients with fewer than 19 areas that require attention. The 13-week course is appropriate for clients with 19 or more areas that require attention.
Modality: All components of the accent modification program will be completed over the phone or online (web-based).
Evaluation: The first session will be instructor and client will work to complete a comprehensive analysis of speech patterns that currently make up the client’s accented pronunciation of American English, as well as identify specific personal or professional needs and motivations. This evaluation will determine which speech sounds and other components of speech (e.g. intonation, projecting voice, etc.) will be chosen as targets during the program.
Materials: Access to online practice lab with daily practice and carry-over activities.
Results: Research findings show that if 1-on-1 sessions with your instructor are supported by daily practice and completion of carry-over activities throughout the 7-week or 13-week training course, you can expect to see an increase in accuracy of American English pronunciation of at least 50%.