Your native accent should not stand in your way of being understood as a fluent English speaker. Here are a few ways that Accent Reduction courses can help you overcome accent barriers to being understood in English.
Challenges that C1 speakers face due to their accent
C1 is the language level given to people who understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. This advanced level of fluency in English comes after months and years of learning, studying, and practicing. C1 Speakers can communicate with other English speakers in written and oral communication and have no trouble understanding what they say. And yet many C1 speakers find that they have trouble being understood in many situations - this usually has to do with their native accents getting in the way of fully communicating with native English speakers. This is an unexpected area of frustration for people who put in the time and effort to become fluent in English.
The people who make it to the C1 level often find themselves speaking in areas like universities, board rooms, and laboratories. Being misunderstood because of an accent can be embarrassing and frustrating - the last thing C1 speakers want is to be seen as not fluent or a poor communicator.
But there is a solution that is more effective than speaking less or blaming yourself for your accent. Many people seek courses designed to reduce their accent, and end up learning how accent reduction courses can help C1 English speakers to overcome accent challenges, and how life-changing the impact of these courses can be. That's where LSW comes in...
What is an Accent Reduction Course and what use is it to me?
More and more people are moving and working across borders, and therefore English-speaking accent courses are becoming increasingly in demand. Accent reduction is the way that people change the melodic intonation of their voice in order to reduce the sound system they adopted from their native language. It is also known as accent neutralization or modification - at LSW we call it Accent Softening. Accent reduction courses are classes that offer a systematic approach to reducing pronunciation errors, without losing the authenticity of what is being said. These classes can reduce your accent and make you sound closer to a native speaker.
Accent reduction challenges are the final barrier to remove for many speakers at the C1 level and beyond to lead and communicate with colleagues. That is even more true for those who seek to work in senior or executive-level positions. Accent softening courses improve linguistic self-confidence, boost workplace communication and deepen the quality of conversational engagement.
Which course is the best for me?
There are many course options for accent reduction - both online and offline. Some questions that you might want to ask yourself to find the best one to suit your needs are:
Where do I want to see the most improvement?
Some speakers of English want to focus on business vocabulary and work-specific topics. Others want to be able to read aloud more fluently. And some people want to reduce their accent in all areas of conversation. Knowing where you tend to face the most miscommunication because of your accent helps you know where to focus your training.
Which medium of instruction do I want?
Learning online might be more convenient compared to going to a traditional in-person setting. Or you might want face-to-face sessions. It’s important to know what kind of environment you like to learn in.
How long do I want to learn for?
Modifying an accent can take time. Some areas of pronunciation are more difficult to master than others. Look for an option that gives you plenty of time to practice.
How much time can I devote each day to practicing?
Practice makes perfect. And length and quality of practice time do, too. Make a realistic estimate of how much practice you can do each day.
What am I willing to pay for accent reduction?
All of the above questions are factored into the total price for accent reduction classes. Remember that the best class for you is not necessarily the most expensive. Finding the right accent reducing learning method and strategies for you is the best way to know how much it will cost. At LSW we offer a 10-week online course for accent reduction, as well as a 1:1 Accent Softening course which can be done over Zoom or in-person in our office in Mayfair, London. The course is completely personalised to your needs - you can choose 5, 10, 15 or more 1-hour sessions, and you can choose which of our Senior or Principal Coaches is the best fit for you. After just one hour of learning our trademarked method, you'll start to notice a difference in your pronunciation and your confidence.
How can I reduce my accent quickly?
If you're not able to sign up to a course yet for whatever reason, there are plenty of free and easy ways to start your accent reduction process:
- Make the most of our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn & Twitter), blogs, YouTube channel and eBooks to start practising with our free tools and tips.
- Speak and read aloud in your target accent while focusing on intonation and melody
- Record yourself and request feedback from native speakers.
- Practice by saying tongue-twisters.
Remove the belief that accents are bad
You never lose your native accent completely, and that’s a good thing! Your thoughts and perspective as a non-native speaker are important and useful, and it’s all part of makes you YOU. The goal of accent reduction should not be to remove your accent entirely. It should be to remove barriers that are getting in the way of effective communication and preventing you from being understood or taken seriously.
Level up your language and remove accent barriers
It takes time to retrain and reduce an accent. That’s why it’s important to entrust your needs to a service that understands why it is so useful and can help guide you through it. Working with a service that treats you and your background as strengths instead of weaknesses means that you will feel encouraged to continue until you succeed. Our coaches have worked with people from hundreds of different backgrounds and countries, and are able to tailor the sessions to make sure you achieve your goals.
If you'd like to learn more about our Accent Softening courses, book a free 15-minute Discovery Call with our Client Success Manager to see how we can tailor our courses to suit your needs and budget.
Written by Sebastien Cervantes, from BiCortex Languages