I went to a program given by someone who was a native Chinese speaker. His “h” was heavily accented because he abruptly cut off the flow of air with his tongue. When producing “h” the mouth is open tongue relaxed and air is pushed through the vocal folds without vibration. For him accent modification would include learning how to relax the tongue while producing the “h” sound with an uninterrupted flow of air. He would need to practice at home for short periods several times every day once he was able to produce the sound correctly. The effort put in to practice directly relates to the results.
- 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 [...]
- Second Language Acquisition: To Learn or Not to Learn — Second language acquisition for students with language-based learning disabilities is sometimes difficult. Logically it makes sense, students who have trouble learning their dominant language, it’s assumed, will have trouble learning a second language. However because learning a second language can be difficult does that mean students with language-based learning disabilities should not learn one, maybe, maybe [...]
- Is accent reduction enough? — “Why don’t people understand me? People are always telling me to repeat myself especially on the phone,” says one client. ”I don’t hear the difference between some sounds, and I have a hard time getting my ideas together when I give presentations at work,” says another. What do these clients have in common? They both [...]
- Accent Modification 30% Non-Verbal Language 70% — My client was concerned that she was passed over for a much deserved promotion because of her accent. She said that she often avoided eating lunch with her co-workers because she rarely understood their jokes or references and she thought this might have hurt her opportunity to advance. Accent modification she felt would improve her [...]