Accent reduction, often referred to as accent modification or speech accommodation, is a type of speech therapy designed to reduce the stress that an accent places on other speakers. An accentis a combination of elements like pronunciation, intonation, and stress—all things that are not inherently negative but can make others view you as uneducated, unintelligent or unprofessional. Accent training helps you overcome these challenges by streamlining the way you speak so that everyone understands you clearly and without fear. Accent training is similar to speech therapy in that both attempt to address speaking issues rather than fluency problems. Each has its own set of goals, techniques, and strategies for reaching those goals. Here’s how accent training differs from speech therapy:
What is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is the process of identifying and eliminating communication disorders through a combination of creative techniques, tools, and exercises. The goal of therapy is to make a noticeable improvement in your communication skills so that you can better engage and connect with others. The communication disorders that speech therapy treats can include stuttering, lisping, slurring, overly soft or loud speech, poor volume control, and poor enunciation. Some people also seek speech therapy to eliminate bad habits like cupping the mic or excessive umms and uhs. In addition to treating existing issues, speech therapy can also help you develop a vocal warm-up routine, improve your breathing, strengthen your tongue muscles and work on articulation, which is the way your mouth shapes each word.
What is Accent Reduction Training?
Among the many types of speech therapy is accent reduction training. This type of therapy is designed to help you eliminate any speech patterns that may be hindering your success. These patterns can include a heavy accent or strong regional dialect, a monotone voice, over pronouncing certain words or using filler words like “um” too frequently. Accent reduction training can also help you develop a neutral accent that doesn’t indicate a particular region or ethnic background. This is particularly helpful if you’re in a region or industry where an accent may make you appear unprofessional, unintelligent or unfit for certain roles. Accent reduction programs teach you how to change your speaking patterns by adjusting your volume and pitch, eliminating filler words, pronouncing words correctly, and other techniques that help you sound more confident and professional.
How is Accent Reduction Different From Speech Therapy?
While accent reduction and speech therapy both help you overcome challenges that come with an accent, they are two very different treatments. Speech therapy is the field of health science that deals with treating such disorders that can affect a person’s ability to communicate with others. This treatment is given by a healthcare professional called a speech therapist, or speech-language pathologist (SLP). Speech-language pathologists provide a broad range of therapies to children and adults who need help training their speaking/hearing muscles and organs. They provide communication assistance to children and adults with communication difficulties, usually due to health conditions. Among other things, they help those with speech-related developmental delays, hearing loss, and even patients who need to learn to swallow again after a brain injury or stroke.
On the other hand, Accent reduction is more of a short-term treatment that focuses on changing specific speech patterns. It’s a process that helps you change the pronunciation of specific sounds within words. Accent reduction therapy can help you learn to soften your accent so that others can understand you better. In other words, accent modification may require you to make slight changes to how you produce certain sounds.
4 Strategies for Successful Accent Reduction
– Practice, practice, practice – Since accent reduction is goal-oriented, you’ll want to create a plan and set goals for yourself. You might try to reduce your filler words by 25% each week over the course of three months. Or you may want to aim to soften your accent to the point that you’re no longer noticeable.
– Get feedback – It’s important to get objective feedback while you’re working on reducing your accent. This will help you identify issues, work on them and stay motivated. You might try recording yourself while speaking in front of a mirror or asking friends or family members to give you feedback.
– Find a good program – If you’re not sure where to start, find a fluency program that specializes in accent reduction. Not only will they be able to give you feedback on your progress, but they can also help you set realistic goals and stay motivated. ChatterFox can help you with that. If you’re not sure where to start, Take this free personal assessment to instantly see where you’re at and how ChatterFox can help you.
– Work on your breathing – Breathing exercises can help you improve your posture, strengthen your voice and prepare you for stressful situations.
3 Common Mistakes When Trying to Reduce an Accent
– Focusing too much on your accent – You’re far more likely to be successful if you focus on being understood by others. If you get too caught up in reducing your accent, you may start to sound too robotic or overcorrect. Focus on reducing the stress that your accent places on others.
– Tapping into your emotional connection – If you try too hard to change your accent, you may be tapping into your emotional connection. This can make you sound inauthentic and make it very difficult to reduce your accent over time.
– Underestimating the length of time it takes to reduce an accent – It takes a long time to reduce an accent, and it requires a lot of practice. Be patient with yourself and make small changes over time.
Accent reduction is a type of speech therapy that focuses on reducing the stress that an accent places on other speakers. While accent reduction and speech therapy both help you overcome challenges that come with an accent, they are two very different treatments. Accent reduction therapy can help you learn to soften your accent so that others can understand you better. Speech therapy is the field of health science that deals with treating such disorders that can affect a person’s ability to communicate with others. For best results, focus on being understood by others and getting feedback along the way. You can also use breathing exercises to strengthen your voice and prepare you for stressful situations.