Canada is a wonderful place because of the many different cultures that live here. With many of those cultures, come different languages and accents.
For people speaking English as a second language, their knowledge and understanding of English may be great, but their accent can be a barrier to being understood when they’re trying to communicate. Being better understood at work and in one’s personal life are major motivators for people wanting to modify their accents.
Many speech-language pathologists (Speech-language clients for “Accent Modification Therapy”. This is a process whereby a person works to modify his/her accent to make their English sound more like a native speaker, with the guidance and instruction of an SLP.
In order to learn about which sounds need to be modified, an S-LP has to complete a speech assessment which will take into account your first language. It also involves analyzing how you produce specific consonant and vowel sounds, as well as the rhythm you use while speaking. This rhythm is often a very important part of the therapy. It includes aspects like how you stresses syllables within a word, stress words within a sentence, and link certain words together. Once an analysis is complete, your S-LP will select goals and help you to work on them in a systematic manner.
One of the most important factors in your success is at-home practice.
Your SLP provides the goals and the exercises, but you must do them! If you set aside time to practice each day, you are more likely to experience success. Your practice must be consistent. Regular appointments with your S-LP will increase your chances of continuing to practice and ensure you are moving on to new goals at the appropriate time. Most often the goal is not to “erase” an accent, but to ensure a speaker will be better understood in an English-speaking environment.
In short with hard work, consistency and guidance you can change your accent!
For more information on accent reduction and speech therapy, feel free to visit our website or call 905-886-5941.
Jana Zalmanowitz M.Cl.Sc
Speech-Language Pathologist (C)