I’m not saying to get rid of your accent. An accent is not a disorder; it is a normal speech pattern. The muscular pattern that was established with the first language influences other acquired languages. A speech pattern is a muscular pattern like walking; we all have a set way that we form our sounds that is unique. Instead of getting rid of the accent, the goal is to know how to “code switch.” We code switch all the time. No one speaks to their mother the same way they speak to their boss. We use different language and speech depending on whom we are speaking. The goal when reducing an accent is to be able to choose to make your speech more intelligible when it is important.
Did you tell me to get rid of my accent?
- Supported Breathing for Speech: It’s Critical — Supported breathing for speech is not just important for communication, but for life. Yup, try living and not breathing, just not happening. We call that state, being dead! So, yes we all know breathing is vital, but did you know that breathing affects your speech? Problems such as poor vocal quality, reduced volume, strong accents, or [...]
- Foreign Accents: To change or not to change… — I love foreign accents. The lyrical rhythms of different languages are beautiful to hear, but there are times when a heavy accent interferes with people’s ability to comprehend communication, that is when accent reduction/modification is beneficial. For the professor, who speaks English as a second language, it can be frustrating to have to continually repeat what has [...]
- Communication Problems: Fighting Back — Did you know that last month was National Poetry Month? An amazing young client of mine is pen pals with this year’s National Youth Poet Laureate. My client also earned an honorable mention for her haiku in this year’s National poetry competition. She does not let communication challenges stop her. Amanda Gorman says, “I’ve been pen-palling [...]
- Fostering Growth Mindset: Speech/Language Disabilities — Early on in my career working with middle and high school students, one of my biggest challenges was working with students who were so disheartened by learning they were not motivated to try. Carol Dweck’s work on “growth mindset” supported my work as a speech-language pathologist because it talked about the difference between and fixed and [...]
- Aspie’s may Clutter, not just Stutter — “People …. say they can’t understand me. I am fine when I read or make a presentation but when I am talking just regularly people say they don’t know what I’m saying. My parents and friends have suggested that I work on my communication, but I don’t know what that means, says a new client. He [...]