It’s a well-known fact that professionals with diverse linguistic backgrounds who live and work in the UK often struggle because of their accent when it comes to their career prospects. It may be that their colleagues do not always understand them, and they often have to repeat themselves, or maybe their accent is very clear but they simply don’t like the way they sound and it holds them back.
If your foreign accent is something that is bothering you, we are here to help. In this article we have outlined 5 steps towards reducing your accent in English.
1. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR MOST COMMON MISTAKES
There are two ways in which you can do that:
A. Google the list most typical mistakes of speakers of your native language. Then analyze the list and customize it to your situation – try and find out if you are making all of these mistakes or just some of them.
B. Meet a professional accent coach for a one-off Assessment session where he or she will help you define the list of your mistakes.
2. LISTEN TO YOURSELF
Try using your phone to record yourself speaking. It’s no secret that we all hate hearing our own voices through a recording, but after your first few, you get used to it! Recording yourself reading a passage and hearing it back is the second most important step towards reducing your accent as you have to train your own ears to hear exactly where you are making the mistakes that you have on your list. You can also use it to compare and track your future accent reduction progress as you make more and more recordings.
3. SLOW DOWN YOUR SPEECH
Many people who speak English as a second language believe that they need to speak quickly in order to sound more like native speakers. This is not true. Speaking too fast and rushing your words actually reinforces bad habits, which results in the speaker sounding even more unintelligible. Slowing down when you deliver words will give you time to think whilst speaking. It will also help you become more relaxed and focus on your articulation!
4. LISTEN TO NATIVE SPEAKERS
Being amongst native speakers and listening to the way they pronounce words can help you with your ear-training and hence with your accent. Repeating various phrases and sentences out loud will help you get used to pronouncing particular sounds. Constantly hearing the correct pronunciation of words will train your brain to learn the right way of pronouncing certain words and ultimately to reduce your accent.
Pronunciation errors usually persist because people are too scared to make mistakes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. A perfect way to reduce your accent is to create real life scenarios that you may find yourself in and then act out the dialogue. This can also be done with a friend that can make the situation more realistic and also help you correct your mistakes.
If you are tired of repeating yourself sign up for a free online consultation where we can help you define YOUR mistakes list and get you started.
Please send us a message on firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free initial consultation.