In 2019, there were more than 44.6 million immigrants living in the US. That’s about 13.7% of the entire US population.
They each come with their own unique accent, depending on which country and region they come from. While some immigrants are able to reduce their accent over time, others struggle with accent reduction.
Fortunately, there is something you can do and it’s called accent training. If you’re looking for a solution on how to get rid of an accent, keep reading.
We’re sharing with you the top accent reduction tips you need to know.
What Accent Reduction Is And How to Tell If You Need Help
Accent reduction is based on intonation. It’s how rhythm, pitch, and melody are used to group word phrases together.
And American English uses a very specific melody style that’s unique from most other languages. When you learn how to speak American English with the correct intonation, it significantly improves how you pronounce English words.
Questions to Ask Yourself
To see if you need American accent training, ask yourself the following:
Do you speak too fast, forcefully or in a choppy manner? Do you tend to delete syllables and sounds when you speak?
Do people complain you have a tendency to mumble? Do others constantly ask you to repeat what you’ve just said or that they have trouble understanding you when you’re sharing a story with them?
How to Get Rid Of An Accent
There are several ways to get rid of an accent so you sound a bit more American, or at least don’t feel as though you’re constantly having to repeat yourself.
If you speak more slowly, it’s easier to enunciate your words more clearly. Also, people have more time to hear what you’re saying.
Ask friends and family to point out which words they have the most trouble understanding from you. You can make a point of practicing speaking those words until they’re easier to understand.
Once you’ve mastered your English speaking skills, you can start speaking more quickly.
Practice Makes Perfect
English grammar is different from most other languages because English grammar heavily depends on how words end. Try perfecting your American English accent by reading aloud from books.
Focus on saying the last sound of each word.
Also, before you speak on the phone or with customers, practice ahead of time what you plan to say. Once you master what you’re going to say, you can then focus on how you’re going to say it.
Believe In Yourself
While it may seem hard at first, you really can learn how to speak American English without as much of an accent. If you believe in yourself and trust that you’re in control, as you practice, you will make noticeable improvements.
Trust that after a while, you won’t have to try so hard. Instead, what once seemed difficult will soon become a regular habit.
Focus On Speaking Your Consonants
Practice speaking your consonants at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of your words. It will make a big difference.
Consonants are the letters b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, s, t, v, w, x, and z. The ‘r” sound is often the most difficult to master.
Using your cell phone you can either use video or the microphone to tape yourself speaking. This will give you a good idea of where you are and help you determine which words you have the most difficulty pronouncing.
Also, taping yourself will help you keep track of how far along you’re coming. This will help to keep you motivated.
Nail Down The Hardest Sounds
The most difficult sounds in the English language are “v and w”, “th”, “r”, and the vowel “o”. The letter “o” actually has a variety of different pronunciations.
The most common “o” sound is actually pronounced like “ah” such as with the words option or flop. The least common pronunciation is “oh” such as with the words no or go.
American accent training won’t happen overnight. Try committing to practicing for at least 15 minutes each day five days a week.
If you practice your skills sporadically, you won’t notice any improvements. Committing ensures you’ll notice a difference in as little as three to five weeks.
Learn To Intonate
Practice your intonation or the rise and fall of your voice as you speak. Make sure your voice goes down before a comma or a period when practicing aloud.
This helps the listener to know when you’re at the end of a sentence.
Strong And Weak Stress
You’ll also learn where to place strong and weak stress within a sentence. For example, “That’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever done.”
When you say that sentence aloud, the emphasis is on the word “amazing.”
Avoid Using Slang
While you’re learning, avoid using slang around other people. That’s because slang words tend to be slurred and spoken quickly.
Until you’ve mastered your American English accent, avoiding slang will help people understand you better. Once you’ve gotten better you can begin using slang once again.
Watch TV and Listen To The Radio
Another way to learn is by listening to how others pronounce their words. An easy way to do that is by listening to the radio and watching tv.
Listening to music or an audiobook in English can help you learn how to imitate the accent you want to acquire. Start by listening to a few sentences, pausing it, and then repeating those sentences.
You may want to record yourself to see how closely you’re matching your accent to the one you want to emulate.
Work With A Tutor
The best way to get accent training is to work with a tutor. They can help you focus on your accent and come up with a customized plan to help you lose your current accent.
A tutor will give you exercises to help you work on gaining your desired accent during the week.
Get A Free Consultation
We want to help you with your accent reduction process. We do so by providing online speech therapy.
Click here to get your free consultation. We’ll discuss your individualized plan of action and provide you with payment option.