Monthly archive for April 2016

How Long Does it Take to reduce or eliminate an Accent?

How Long Does it Take to reduce or eliminate an Accent?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css_animation=”top-to-bottom”] How Long Does it Take to reduce or eliminate an Accent? by Ela Britchkow, Speech-Language Pathologist There is no simple answer to this question because it’s very individual and depends on several factors. It depends on how diligently you do the practice and follow up assignments. Forming new habits takes motivation, focus, time, and dedication. Old habits are hard to change, but he more you practice, the more you’ll improve. You simply must practice a sound or pattern over and over for it to become habitual. Daily practice will help your mouth and tongue develop the new ‘muscle memory’ that they need for you to articulate American English sounds correctly. It depends on how good your listening skills are. In order to reduce your accent, you must be able to hear the difference between the sounds and patterns of your native language and the sounds and patterns of American English acheter du

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Will my employer cover the cost of accent modification?

Will my employer cover the cost of accent modification?

Will my employer cover the cost of accent modification? It has been my experience that companies will usually pay for accent modification and speech problems for their executives, CEOs, high level personnel and people they value highly. Some companies have personal development or continuing education programs that all employees can take advantage of that include accent reduction training. Ask your employer, HR specialist or Talent Acquisition person about reimbursement and accent training availability. If your company does not offer this valuable training opportunity let us know and we will contact your employer and do our best to encourage them to make our program available to their employees. After all, communication skills are critical to many job descriptions. If your employer is unable or unwilling to finance the program, we keep the cost low and offer an easy three payment plan. Accent modification skill training is an excellent investment.

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What is the difference between American English and British English?

What is the difference between American English and British English?

What is the difference between American English and British English?   by Ela Britchkow, Speech-Language Pathologist, Accent Modification Specialist American pronunciation When people talk about “learning American pronunciation”, they mean learning General American or Standard American English pronunciation. General American is the accent that is most often spoken on national television in the United States. Educated Americans usually speak Standard American English and that is what you’ll hear 90% of what you’ll hear on American TV, radio, podcasts, movies, Web videos, etc. There are differences in regional accents, but in general, differences between American regional accents are small compared with the regional differences within Britain. General American pronunciation is rhotic /’roʊtɪk/, which means that the letter R is always pronounced. British pronunciation When people talk about learning British pronunciation, they usually think of Received Pronunciation (RP). RP is the pronunciation of the British upper class – people who went to universities like Oxford and Cambridge. Only about 5% of Britons

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What are the benefits of reducing my accent?

What are the benefits of reducing my accent?

What are the benefits of reducing my accent? by Ela Britchkow, speech-language pathologist Many careers require a person to communicate with others, either as a manager in a one-to-one situation or as a speaker in front of a group. Being able to communicate effectively is a required skill for these jobs, and part of being effective is being understood. You can have an accent, but you have to be understood easily. You will avoid the unfortunate stereotypes which often accompany those who aren’t native English speakers. Critics may label someone with a strong accent as an outsider or less intelligent even if the assumption isn’t true. Being stereotyped can prevent the person from getting hired for certain jobs. While this may not be an accurate assessment of the person’s capabilities, it is what others perceive and it can limit your opportunities. You will Improve your American English Pronunciation Your Communication

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Why Does the Schwa Sound Feel Ignored and Overlooked?

Why Does the Schwa Sound Feel Ignored and Overlooked?

Why Does the Schwa Sound Feel Ignored and Overlooked? What is the most popular sound in the English language? If you want to learn to speak American English, you need to learn about this sound. It’s the unstressed “uh” sound otherwise known as the “schwa” sound. When you encounter the schwa sound it will be disguised by all 6 of American English vowels. You will find it masquerading as the “a” in “about”; the “e” as in the second syllable of “elephant”; the “i” as in pencil; the /o/ in “condition”; “u” as in “support”  and the “y” as in “ vinyl”. To teach people to identify where the shwa is hiding, you need to find the weak syllable in a word, and then identify the vowel in the weak syllable. In the above example, “about” has two syllables, “a” and “bout”. The “a” is not stressed and therefore the

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Syllables Can Be Stressful

by Ela Britchkow, Speech and Language Pathologist Speech Improvement Now accent reduction software programs guide people to choose the right syllable on which to place stress while speaking. The following explains what syllables are. Before we proceed, we need to know the following 2 definitions: Q: What is a vowel? A: a, e, i, o, u and sometime y Q: What is a consonant? A: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z What is a Syllable? A syllable is a single unit of written or spoken sound with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) that is used to make up words. The letter ‘y’ can be counted as a vowel, only if it creates the sound of a vowel (a, e, i, o, u). For example: fry, try, cry, & dry Some words have two (or more) vowels next to each other, but only make

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How Do We Say “Meow” in Different Languages?

How Do We Say “Meow” in Different Languages?

I like cats and I like languages (I speak 4 languages). My mother spoked polish and when she read books and it showed a dog barking, she would say ‘how-how”. So I was wondering was wondering how people say the sound that cats make. As you can see from this list, the cat’s basic “meow” is widely interpreted by different languages, but do share a recognizable sound pattern. The spelling/sound differences may be more from the  limitations/parameters that each language has rather than a real difference in translating cat sounds.  I found looking at these enjoyable, I hope that you do,too. Saying Meow in European Languages Language Ways to say meow Albanian mjaullin Basque Meow Belarusian мяў Bosnian Mjau Bulgarian мяу Catalan meu Croatian mijau Czech mňau Danish miav Dutch miauw Estonian Mjäu Finnish Miau French Miaou Galician miar German Miau Greek Μιάου Hungarian miáú Icelandic mjá Irish meow Italian Miao

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Intonation

Intonation

To help you improve your American English Pronunciation, it’s not just all about the sounds. Accent training also includes the melody of speech or Intonation. This is the rising and falling pattern of the sentence. Think of a sentence as a line from a song. We don’t understand what a song means by reading the words alone. The meaning is also carried by the melody –the rise and fall of the notes by which the lyrics are sung and by the rhythm. Many second language speakers have difficulty in producing the American English falling and rising pitches. So how do we add melody to the words in a sentence? To stress a word, we apply a higher pitch, louder volume and stretch the vowel slightly. “I don’t Know” So…which words should I stress?  Stress the last important word in a sentence. These words are nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. For

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IELTS – The International English Language Testing System

IELTS – The International English Language Testing System

Will Your Accent Cause You to Fail? By Ela Britchkow, Speech and Language Pathologist Clear understandable English pronunciation can boost your IELTS score. It can also prevent a failing grade. I am a speech and language pathologist who specializes in accent reduction. Pronunciation is graded separately and makes up 25% of your Speaking test score. To pass the Pronunciation section, of the IELTS Speaking test, requires clear easily understandable speech. There are an abundance of materials on the market to prepare you for the IELTS. Our software program, Speech Improvement Now, uniquely focuses on Pronunciation. If this is a weakness for you then specialized help in this area makes a great deal of sense. Our program will also provide you valuable support for IELTS’s Fluency and Coherence, Grammar and Vocabulary sections. You probably wouldn’t be reading this article without recognizing the importance of doing well on the IELTS. Educational institutions,

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How Do I Get Some Motivation?

How Do I Get Some Motivation?

In sports, Motivation is the foundation all athletic effort and accomplishment. Without your desire and determination to improve your sports performances, all of the other mental factors, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotions, are meaningless. To become the best athlete you can be, you must be motivated to do what it takes to maximize your ability and achieve your goals. The same is true to reduce your accent. Motivation, simply defined, is the ability to initiate and persist at a task. Motivation will impact performance. It is also the only factor over which you have control. Motivation will directly impact the level of success that you ultimately achieve. If you are highly motivated to improve your performances, then you will put in the time and effort necessary to raise your game and your speech. In training and competitions, athletes arrive at a point at which it is no longer fun. The work starts

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Discrimination Based on Non-Native Accent

Discrimination Based on Non-Native Accent

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As unfair as it sounds, there are many stories of discrimination against people who speak with an accent. This is one of the reasons I wanted to specialize in accent modification and help people reduce their accent to the point where they will be understood easily. Is it against the law to treat employees differently because they have a foreign accent? It is lawful only if the accent materially interferes with being able to do the job. Generally, an employer may only base an employment decision on accent if effective oral communication in English is required to perform job duties and the individual’s foreign accent interferes with his or her ability to communicate orally in English. However, our economy is now dominated by service oriented job positions. So the likelihood of needing to speak English clearly and effectively is pretty much becoming the norm. So experiencing discrimination based on having

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Can I Really Change My Accent?

Can I Really Change My Accent?

YES, you can change your accent but you will need good guidance and lots of practice. Motivation is a key factor. This can be driven by: To what degree you believe your accent is interfering with your communication vendre du viagra. Is it significantly impacting job performance, your advancement? Are you avoiding conversations in your everyday life? Are you concerned that it will lower your score on an English proficiency tests, such as the IELTS? Do people ask you to repeat yourself so often that you’re frustrated? Or do people focus more on your accent than they do on what you’re saying? How you speak is a very personal issue, and changing it can make you uncomfortable on an unconscious level for a while, as you may feel that changing your speech is changing YOU. The good part of accent reduction is that once you master it you can then decide when you

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Having an Accent or Regional Dialect May Ruin Your Chances of Being Hired

Having an Accent or Regional Dialect May Ruin Your Chances of Being Hired

A study conducted by Diane Markley and Patricia Cukor-Avila shows how regional accents can affect hiring. The study involved 56 hiring professionals who were asked to make judgments about potential based solely on how candidates, with different regional accents, sounded. The hirers were asked to judge if each speaker sounded educated or uneducated, intelligent or unintelligent, energetic or lazy, uptight or laid back, outgoing or withdrawn, assertive or docile. Of the 10 regional accents, a distinctive “New Jersey” accent received the most negative rating by hiring professionals. When asked to decide what types of jobs the individuals were suited for based solely on their accents, only 5 percent of the hirers selected the New Jersey speaker for positions requiring a high level of customer contact and more than 64 percent selected the New Jersey speaker for positions requiring little technical expertise and little-to-no customer contact. Research at the University of Chicago

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