Many clients seek Accent Reduction (or more specifically Accent Modification) in order to improve communication skills for business, public speaking, presentations, and acting for the theatre or TV/Film. Dialects and accents can sometimes cause limitations in these areas, as they can prevent people from being understood clearly and communicating as effectively as possible. Learning a Standard American Dialect can be enormously beneficial in today’s professional settings where communication is vital.
Many people make the mistake of trying to eliminate their accents solely by trying to change each individual sound. It is definitely important to be able to hear the specific vowel and consonant changes that vary between different accents. However, the biggest factor in changing an accent has to do with changing one’s jaw position, tongue position, lip position, and other physical factors. First, we will address what some of these key physical differences are and learn how these affect your accent or dialect. From there, we can look at other topics like specific vowel shifts, consonant shifts, inflection, phrasing, sentence structure, and other helpful components of changing your accent.
Yes - although accents and dialects can be a hindrance in some professional instances, they can also be assets. Rest assured that working on reducing your accent will not prevent you from speaking with your accent or dialect in the future. Just like when you learn a new language, it doesn’t prevent you from speaking in your original language, you’ll always have your original accent as an option for speaking. In addition, you will feel confident with a Standard American Dialect and be able to go back and forth between different ways of speaking for different situations.
The length of training varies from individual to individual. If the accent is subtle and the student is very receptive to changes, the process can be as short as a few sessions. Other times, the process is longer, and can take many months. This is dependent on how urgent it is that an adjustment be made, how much practicing is completed, and how unusual the new sounds feel to the student. In all cases, we would love to help you to feel confident with a Standard American Dialect as quickly as possible. Changing your speaking takes patience, but we believe that you will find it to be a very enjoyable and intriguing process.
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