Accent-Modification Training: Part Two

Improving Accent Through Training

A foreign national’s accent may impede their communication ability, even though they are fluent in English. Recent associated research shows that accents are caused mostly through differences in rhythm and stress, as well as difficulty in making certain sounds linguistically. A common example is putting an emphasis on the wrong syllable.


Accent is almost impossible to improve without training. Speakers seldom can hear what they are mispronouncing and even if a listener points it out to them, they are unlikely to know how to correct it. For example, certain regions mix up L and R sounds because they cannot hear the difference, they may not notice a mispronunciation, but others may not be able to understand what they trying to communicate.

Accent-modification training is provided by universities, global relocation companies and private training companies where individuals are trained how to identify incorrect pronunciations and how to exercise their mouth and tongue to correct the problem. Other teaching methods include mimicry, which helps students correct pronunciation, rhythm and stress by watching videos of native language speakers, then mimicking what they hear and see, including body language.

Typically, most training programs incorporate individualized programs developed as a result of a comprehensive speech analysis. These programs usually last between ten and 20 sessions. For some, improvement can be seen immediately, but it can also take between three and six months for others.

Most programs can be provided one-on-one or in a classroom setting. Classroom programs generally take longer and are less expensive than one-on-one tutoring but one-on-one tutoring is more effective and quicker.

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