What Does Accent Modification Involve?

People from many different countries and cultures call the United States their home.  Our diversity gives us strength.  Some individuals who have immigrated to the U.S. are learning English for the first time; while others learned English in their countries of origin, but were not taught American English pronunciations.  Those who find that people have difficulty understanding them because of their accents may benefit from accent modification.

What does accent modification involve?  Speech-language pathologists who work with accents typically begin with an evaluation of the individual’s speech patterns.  This includes an analysis of the way that vowels and consonants as well as the rhythmical features of American English are produced.  English language skills in areas such as grammar, word order, vocabulary, and expressions are also examined.  Initial goals are then developed.  Since evaluation is an ongoing process, goals can be added as other areas needing attention are identified. Sessions are usually held weekly.  In order to be successful, the participant should be highly motivated and committed to practicing the target areas that are selected.  Specific attention may be given to simulating situations that might occur in the individual’s work setting and other daily interactions.

Accent modification aims to increase the ability of individuals to be understood the first time that they speak rather than frequently being asked to repeat what they have said.
Successful accent modification can lead to enhanced job performance, additional options for career advancement, improvements in social interactions, and increased self-esteem.