What is Accent Modification?/Some Advantages of Pursuing an Accent Modification Program

Non-native speakers of English who are not easily understood by others may benefit from pursuing an accent modification program.  American English pronunciations and rhythm are two areas that would be expected to be addressed.

Individuals whose native language is Hindi frequently mispronounce some phonemes (sounds) in English.  The “w” and “v” sounds are two phonemes that are often confused. When a “v” is used instead of a “w”, the word “wish” sounds like “vish”.  If a “w” is substituted for a “v”, the word “very” sounds like “wery”. As a result, the statement “I WISH you a VERY Happy New Year” would sound like “I VISH you a WERY Happy New Year”.  

In order to pronounce the “w” and “v” phonemes with accuracy, an individual must first learn to hear the differences between them.  The individual is then taught how to pronounce these sounds.  The lips are rounded into a small circle and the vocal cords vibrate when a “w” sound is formed. The upper teeth contact the lower lip without closing the lips, the vocal cords vibrate, and air is directed forward to produce a “v”.  Instruction begins with easier tasks and progresses to more difficult ones.

Phrasing is one aspect of the rhythm of English that can be challenging for non-native speakers.  There are no pauses between the meaningful sequences of words that form phrases and short sentences.
Accent modification classes can provide non-native speakers with the tools that they need to become more effective speakers of English.