What is an Accent?
Foreign accents are a result of your speech patterns from your native language. The sounds of the new language you are learning are difficult if they do not exist in your native language. For example, if it is hard to pronounce a specific sound of the new language you are learning, you might substitute it with a similar sound from your native language. It can be difficult to overcome the tendency to keep using the sounds that are more familiar to you. Your ingrained speech patterns from your native language are resistant to change and can interfere with your efforts to master a new language.
How Did I get an Accent?
As a child, you acquired your native language without difficulty or even thinking about it. We are born with the ability to produce and perceive the sounds of all languages, but we quickly learn what sounds are important to our native language and disregard all other sounds.
Our ability to learn new languages is at a peak during childhood. Once we enter young adulthood, learning a new language becomes more difficult and requires conscious and frequent practice. Learning the vocabulary and grammar of a language is separate than learning the sounds, rhythms and intonations. This is evidenced by the fact that someone who has spoken a second language for an extended period of time may improve their use of vocabulary and grammar, but their pronunciation of that second language remains fairly unchanged.
How Does Accent Reduction Work?
Accent reduction is aimed at teaching you which areas of your speech are important to change and how you can make these changes. Generally, the first step is to teach you to discriminate the specific sounds of English that are difficult for you to pronounce. Your ear is not automatically trained to do this. Secondly, you will learn how to make these difficult sounds and be taught what to do differently with your articulators (i.e. your tongue, lips, or jaw). This stage involves a lot of practice. You may also learn to use the appropriate rhythm or intonation of English as you practice these new sounds. The last step, and probably the most challenging, is transferring your newly acquired sounds into everyday conversation. You will practice using these new sounds in as close to natural speaking situations as possible.
Who Can Help Me?
It is best to receive accent reduction help from a Speech-Language Pathologist who has not only received specific training and clinical experience in the areas of articulation and speech therapy (i.e. how we make and modify speech sounds), but that also have certification in accent reduction. S-LPs in Ontario are regulated health professionals (by the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario), and are therefore governed by a college with rules and codes of conduct to which have to be adhered. It is best to look for a S-LP who has completed additional certification in an accent reduction program such as the Compton P-ESL (Pronouncing English as a Second Language) Program.
Public Speaking is the act of providing information to a group of people, the purpose of which is to either:
When planning your speech, you must be absolutely clear about what you want the audience to do or know at the end of your talk. As such, it is important to identify your presentation’s purpose as the first step of the planning process. Once the purpose is determined, the other steps, including: generating ideas around information to include, it’s organization and delivery will come more easily.
Different Types of Public Speaking
Public Speaking can present itself in many areas. You might be called upon to make a speech at a wedding or funeral. Perhaps you are in a corporate environment and have to give technical and informative presentations with visuals. Perhaps you are in sales and have to persuade, inspire and/or entertain a group of people in order to open doors for other professional opportunities.
Each audience and each outcome requires a different public speaking approach. When calling our office, please let us know what you are trying to achieve. Our treatment will be designed and tailored to address your specific needs.