Accent Reduction: Getting Adjusted
For many foreign workers, students, and immigrants, the stress and frustration of not being understood because of a different accent drives them to take voice coaching or accent reduction lessons. It”s commendable, since it will help them fit in better and gain more self-confidence to perform at a higher standard of excellence. However, once the accent has been worked on, there are a few issues that tend to plague these foreigners and new citizens.
What can be done to alleviate the stress of sounding different?
Accent Reduction Amongst Peers: You’re Still Foreign
You will have to deal with those who will still not accept you as an equal. Fortunately, this group of people is marginal. Also, you can choose to walk away and allow someone else to talk to them. The accent reduction programs are still the best way to integrate into a community and acceptance will be faster.
To deal with any form of racism, you can do any of 3 things: walk away, take it with a grain of salt and some humor, or fight back. Hopefully, you choose not to fight back because you are someone new in the neighborhood. Give them time and they usually come around.
Accent Reduction Amongst Family: Losing Culture
Many parents and grandparents would resist having their child or grandchild work on changing their accent. To them, culture, race, and honoring your country of birth is also important and accent reduction would be like turning your back on your history. All you have to do is be patient and explain your reasons. You should also make an effort to continue joining in family traditions and practices to make the accent change a non-issue.
Accent Reduction: Your Change
In many cases, people with a new accent tend to change by choosing sides. This is a human reaction to stereotyping. It happens when you speak out to show that you are no different than the rest of the residents or workers around you.
Stereotyping is something that is seen everywhere. Here are a few of the accent stereotypes:
- British accent – sophisticated, educated
- French accent – sexy, romantic
- American accent – power, independent, and frank
- Latin accent – funny, cute
- South Asian accent – strange, not as knowledgeable
Although these stereotypes are fast breaking down, it still exists. As a new immigrant, student, or worker, try to avoid tagging others just as you would not like to be tagged. There will be a period of adjustment in accent reduction so patience is key to avoiding trouble or being stigmatized by others.
Accent Reduction: Stay Connected
This is just one of our many blog articles that help educate and help you learn to speak English If you’re interested in learning more about ways to reduce your foreign accent, you can practice accent reduction after starting with a free screening to determine the severity of your foreign accent. Within 48 hours, you will receive results regarding your foreign accent on a severity scale of 1 (very heavy) to 7 (very mild) accent. If you’re looking to practice accent reduction, we have office and online starter program options! Within 12 sessions, all clients have demonstrated accent reduction of 50% or more.