Everyone speaks with an accent. You may speak English with an accent from a different region in the United States. You may speak English with an accent because English is not your first language. In today’s world, as we move from state to state and from country to country, one thing we always take with us is our accent.
What is an accent?
An accent is the unique way that speech words are pronounced by a people speaking the same language. While someone’s accent depends on many factors, accents are usually grouped by:
- Regional Accents – for example, people who are from Texas often sound different than people who are from New York.
- Foreign Accents – for example, someone who was raised speaking English will sound different than someone who was raised speaking Spanish and learned English as an adult.
Accents are a natural part of spoken languages. No accent is better than another, and accents are NOT a speech or language disorder.
How do accents affect communication?
Accents reflect the unique characteristics and background of a person. Many people take great pride in their accents. However, some people may have difficulty communicating because of their accent. Your accent may present a problem to you if:
- People are not understanding you
- Your avoid social interaction because you feel you’re not understood
- You become frustrated from constantly repeating yourself
- People focus more on your accent than on what you are trying to say
These communication problems may have negative effects on job performance, educational advancement, and everyday life activities. They may also affect your self-esteem if you are having trouble communicating because of an accent. For all of these reasons, some people want to modify or change their accent.
Can I change my accent?
Yes, with lots of practice, and the help of a qualified speech-language pathologist (SLP), you can learn how to change your speech pronunciation. Speech Pathology Services provides services to speakers who want to modify or reduce their accent. People who receive these types of services include the following:
- Non-native English speakers
- Speakers who want to reduce a regional accent
- Business and medical professionals who want to improve their communication skills because of a foreign or regional accent
- Actors who need to learn a new accent for a role or performance
What can I expect from Speech Pathology Services?
You should first receive a thorough evaluation of your individual speech pattern. I will evaluate your sound pronunciation (consonants and vowels), stress, rhythm, and intonation of speech, English grammar, and nuances of the English language.
After collecting information about your speech during reading and conversation tasks, we will determine what can be done to modify your accent and improve your overall communication. We will develop a set of goals based on your individual needs, and training sessions will be scheduled.
Because speaking with an accent is not a speech or language disorder, services to change your accent are not covered by insurance.