If you’ve ever stopped to listen to people speaking around you, you’ve probably noticed that everybody sounds a little bit different, even when they are speaking the same language. There are lots of reasons people might sound different, whether it is because they come from a different region or another country. Everyone speaks with an accent, and in today’s world where people move from state to state or overseas, we take our accent with us wherever we go.
Sometimes, accents can cause difficulties with speech and language and being understood by others. A speech and language pathologist can help with accent modification and pronunciation to improve the clarity of speech and eliminate communication problems related to an accent. You can learn more about how a speech therapist can help reduce or modify an accent by scheduling your free introductory call today!
Accents are a part of our personal identity and they reflect our unique characteristics and background. Some people have regional accents, like a Southern drawl. Others have foreign accents which indicate to us that they were born or raised in a different country, or that English is their second language. While an accent can be a source of pride, it can also be a source of distraction leading to frustration. Accents can affect communication when others have trouble understanding you or are asking you to constantly repeat yourself. Sometimes an accent can impact academic or job performance, self-esteem, and even your social life. Accents are a normal and natural aspect of spoken language, and no one accent is better than another. It is also important to note that accents are not disorders related to speech and language.
How Does an Accent Affect Communication?
Although accents can be a great source of pride as part of a person’s culture or identity, at times accents can also make it difficult to talk to, and be understood, by other people. In some cases, people may focus more on your accent than on what you say and may frequently ask you to repeat yourself. This can make work, school, socializing and other activities more challenging. Some people may feel that if their accent was different, they would be able to converse with people more easily and may perform better in their academic or professional lives. In many cases, people may decide that they want to modify their accent, whether slightly or significantly.
Can you Naturally Change your Accent? How Long Does it Take to Change your Accent?
While accents may fade over time, getting rid of an accent completely won’t happen naturally. Changing an accent is possible, and this process can be helped and accelerated by time with a speech therapist. With daily practice and the proper guidance and support, it is possible to significantly modify your accent. It is also possible to neutralize your accent, or keep some of your accent and just improve your ability to speak more clearly and be better understood by others. All of this is possible with a bit of time and dedication. You can learn more about how accents affect communication skills by connecting with one of our SLPs and scheduling your free introductory call today!
What is Accent Modification?
Accent reduction, adjustment, or modification is an elective type of speech therapy, offered by experienced speech-language pathologists. Speech therapists are experts in pronunciation and the mechanics of speech, and they can help you learn to produce different speech sounds, speech sound combinations, and intonation patterns which help someone with an accent to be better understood by others, increase their confidence and reach their goals.
Accents can be modified by working on improving pronunciation skills, stress or emphasis, rhythm, and intonation. Accent modification and pronunciation training take time and determination. Even when working with the most experienced SLP, you should expect to spend weeks or months mastering the pronunciation of vowels and consonants that may be most challenging to pronounce correctly with a particular accent.
How Can Speech Therapy Change My Accent?
A speech therapist will work with you to identify where your challenges and difficulties lie in relation to your accent and ability to be understood by others. Together you will identify clear goals and establish a plan to work towards meeting those goals. Time with a speech therapist working on accent modification can result in clearer speech that is easier to understand, increased confidence when speaking, and a reduction in the number of times you are asked to repeat yourself. A speech therapist can also help you to meet your academic, professional, and personal goals as they relate to speech and language skills.
Motivation to change or modify your accent needs to be met by a knowledgeable and experienced speech-language pathologist who will work with you to set and achieve realistic goals. With these attainable goals in place, regular appointments with your SLP, and daily practice, you will notice significant improvements. While it may seem like a cliche, practice will make perfect when it comes to accent modification, improved clarity and pronunciation, and overall stronger communication skills. Making time to work on accent modification with an SLP is easier than ever now that you can attend your appointments online. Bringing speech therapy online to a telepractice means no more wasted time, and appointments can happen anywhere you have a wifi connection and a quiet room. Get started on your way to increased confidence and better communication by scheduling your free introductory call with Great Speech today!