Non-native speakers of English
Accent variety is a wonderful thing to be celebrated. However, sometimes we find that the pronunciation habits of our first language(s) can compromise the flow and clarity of our speech in our second (or third…) language. As a non-native speaker of English, perhaps you would like to improve your English pronunciation, to feel confident that you are expressing yourself clearly the first time, every time, with no need for repetition. Accent reduction training will help you target the sounds and aspects of your speech which might be affecting your clarity in English. You’ll gain lots of awareness, much more choice and – with a bit of independent practice – much clearer spoken English. You will ultimately enjoy much smoother interactions in the workplace and in everyday life.
Perhaps as a non-native speaker, your spoken English is already perfectly clear and nobody ever asks you to repeat yourself. Instead, you may simply like to have more choice in your English pronunciation so that people focus on your words, not how you pronounce them. Sometimes this is known as accent reduction or accent softening. Many clients say they are tired of being asked where they are from after speaking only a few sentences, therefore would like the choice of making their speech ‘blend in’ a little bit more, ultimately saving time and getting to the point of the message! For those living in London – or elsewhere in the UK – it may be a case of acquiring a British accent* as closely as possible, so that you can switch it on when you want. In this case, the training will guide you through the small physical changes which can make a big difference, and you’ll then be able to choose to speak in your new accent whenever you wish!
Whether you have been speaking English for 20 months or 20 years, there are no ‘rules’ or expectations of how your accent should be after a certain time. Remember, every human is born with the same speaking equipment (lips, jaw tongue); we just develop certain muscular habits depending on the sounds we need for our first language(s). With guidance and practice, we can explore and develop other habits at any age. This is exactly what training at Clear Spoken English helps you to do.
Native Speakers of English
It goes without saying that all accents are equally valid, but for a variety of personal and professional reasons, some native English speakers would like to be able to modify an accent, sometimes to blend in, sometimes for clarity, and sometimes just for fun and personal challenge.
Perhaps you are from another English-speaking country, or have a regional British accent which you’d like to ‘tone down’ in certain situations. It’s certainly possible to identify and change the ‘giveaway’ sounds, or even to work towards a standard Received Pronunciation (RP) accent, so that you can choose to have less or no trace of your original accent. It’s helpful not to think of this as losing or ‘reducing’ an accent: on the contrary; you will be gaining one. Your original accent will still be there if and when you want to use it, you will just have added more variety to your repertoire!
Contact Sonya to discuss how accent training can help you.
*If you would prefer to learn an American English accent, contact my colleague Kara Tsiaperas at www.usaaccents.co.uk