How to get rid of an accent with one tip.
Even though some people you know are not native English speakers, you would never guess it by listening to them. They sound like they were born speaking standard American English, which only leaves you wondering how to get rid of an accent.
While it is amazing to listen to,it’s something we can all do. Just, like we can master English as a second language we can also master the sounds of English and apply it when we speak in conversation. It will take work if you want to learn how to get rid of an accent,but with the tips below, you can be well on your way.
The biggest tip that the speech therapists at Therapy Works Together have is after working with many adults who have wanted to modify their accent, is that they need to change the way they think about sounds and language.
The one major factor that impacts how natural or native sounding your spoken English is, is first language interference. More specifically it’s the ability to put your focus on sounds and not on letters, especially when first starting on your journey for how to get rid of an accent and using written text to practice.
The reason that some people have a heavy accent when they are speaking English is because they let their first language heavily impact their second language.
HOW TO GET RID OF AN ACCENT AND GET A NATIVE ENGLISH ACCENT
The first step if you want to learn how to get rid of an accent so that you can speak like a native standard American English speaker is to forget the rules of the first language, even for just a moment.
Here is an example with the R sound:
- R in American English, depending on where it is in the word, can sound like “er.”
- R in Portuguese can sound like an “h.”
- R in Japanese sounds like part “l” part “d”
So the first and most important step is to let go of the rules and sounds of your native language. Wipe the slate clean if you want to learn how to get rid of an accent when you learn American English.
Here are three tips for how to start from a clean slate:
IMMERSE YOURSELF – LISTEN TO LOTS OF NATIVE ENGLISH
Start out with short clips of audio or video that you already know so that you are not focused on content but can instead pay attention to the sounds, intonation and patterns of spoken American English. You will start to recognize its sound and it will become more and more familiar.
When you feel ready, make a list of some common words you might use during your day that you hear in these clips. Words like “the” “and” or “because” are great to start out with. Keep the list short and practice those words, as you hear them, over the next few days. Try to integrate those into your conversational speech. When a speech therapist helps you work on your accent, you slowly work your way up a hierarchy of more complex speech until you can use what you have learned in conversation.
If you have friends or coworkers that you speak with, try listening to them as well so you can listen for any local dialectical nuances in English. Remember that in different parts of the USA there are different dialects of spoken English.
LET GO OF THE RULES OF YOUR FIRST LANGUAGE
Something that’s a bit harder to do is to let go of the pronunciation rules of your first or native language. When you listen to American English don’t assume that the spellings of words will make sense or be logical, and don’t let what you learned in your first language interfere. Try to clear your mind and pretend you are learning something completely new.
SOME MORE TIPS FROM A SPEECH THERAPIST
Speech therapists help kids and adults work on articulation issues and even more severe speech disorders. They have been trained to listen to the details of speech sounds, intonation and pronunciation rules of any given language. So here are a few more tips they’ve picked up along the way to help learn how to get rid of an accent.
Use your mirror – Watch yourself speak and pay attention to how your lips and mouth move. Compare it to how other people look when they speak while watching a short video.
Don’t forget your tongue – It makes a huge difference in pronunciation. For example, the difference between saying “rock” and “lock”, or “rice” and “lice” is in the position of your tongue. For the “L” sound, your tongue touches just behind your front teeth and the top of your mouth behind your front teeth. Yet for the “R” sound, your tongue is pulled back towards the back of your mouth.
The point is that the placement of the parts of your mouth matters a lot.
Practice with a friend- oftentimes working with someone else will be the best way to identify what is working and what is not. If you can’t find someone you trust, try recording yourself and catching any blind spots.
These tips and important starting points will help you narrow down what you need to work on to improve your American English. We encourage you to keep listening, practicing, and using English everyday to improve your skills in order to learn how to get rid of an accent.
Therapy Works Together – Online Speech Therapy for Children and Adults
We care about every child and adult achieving their speech, language and communication goals. You can start speech therapy online now with a certified speech language therapist. We’ll discuss your personal needs, develop an individualized treatment plan, and schedule affordable online therapy sessions online at your convenience.