How to Americanize your Accent and Sound More Native
Do you wish you sounded more American? Have you been considering accent reduction classes to achieve this goal or have you been going it alone?
Sounding more like an American is a complex, multi-step process that can be accomplished through a rigorous and custom accent reduction program. To sound American takes much more than adjusting your pronunciation of English words, but that is a great starting point.
Americanizing Your Accent
When clients come in with a goal to sound more American, we approach it a little differently than a typical accent reduction goal. We create a custom program depending on an intersection of factors such as their current fluency in English, the intonation and prosody of their first language, familiarity with idioms and other sayings, understanding of or talent for generalizing accent patterns and ability to simultaneously self-monitor during speech. All of these factors are important and will affect the speed at which change will be achieved, altering the required number of session required to reach goals.
That being said, the most common approach to sounding more American is the following:
Start with sound correction. This part of the program will focus on remediating sound errors so pronunciations and speech patterns sound more American. In a standard accent reduction course focused on improved pronunciation, second language speakers can make great strides to sounding more American, relatively speaking. But, mastering the full extent of sounding native could take a great deal more time as it will require mastery of the English language at an extremely high level.
Achieving the goal of sounding American, typically will take more detailed targeting. In subsequent course phases, a speech therapist will work on conversational elements such as common American idioms and phrases. They will also get into the fine tuning of the rhythm of speech and intonation. The combination of using American phrases, with neutral English pronunciation and proper speed and intonation can get a second language speaker close to sounding like a native speaker.
What Does American English Mastery Require From You?
A foundation of sound consistency is needed first, then the demands of vernacular language, prosody, adjustment patterns to sound more ‘natural’ and other details build on that foundation.
Activities such as analyzing other’s speech patterns in samples, or using more general scripts to practice application become more important. Some clients may come to accent reduction with a natural affinity for this and can generalize their sound improvements into their own more Americanized accent on their own. Others may need guidance along the way. Some clients may process this information as practice with imitation. Other clients may try to analyze each pattern and memorize their application.
As speech-language pathologists, our expert team can manage the individualization for clients successfully, but that still can be a lengthy process depending on the starting point and individual strengths and weaknesses.
At Carolina Speech Services we love helping our clients reach their individual goals. Whether your goal is to lessen your accent, sound American as possible or somewhere in between, we are here for you! We’ll customize an accent reduction program to help you meet your goals, no matter how long it takes. Call today to get started! 704-845-1605