If you’ve ever worked with me, you know that I am always going on and on about the importance of practice in acquiring the standard American accent (or any accent, for that matter!) There is a lot of research supporting the how, what and why to practice, but today, I want to focus on a […]
The Importance of Targeting Intonation Patterns in American English
I remember being back in graduate school, meeting with my advisor. I asked her a question, and I was surprised when she answered “Are you telling me something, or asking me a question?” I thought it had been obvious that I was asking a question. Specializing in speech perception, however, my professor was keenly aware […]
The Rules for Determining Word Stress: Pronunciation of American English
In the last article, I began discussing word stress and vowel reduction in American English speech. Now, I will give the wordy answer to a question I get asked very often by clients who wish to improve their American English pronunciation: “But what are the RULES for determining American English word stress?!” While it does […]
Don’t Stress about Stress: Examining Vowel Reduction and Word Stress in American English
So what exactly is stress? Very simply put, stress means emphasis. For instance, if you are describing the importance of looking both ways before you cross a busy Montreal street to your out-of-town friend from small-town Ontario, with conviction, using examples, with a serious tone, and wide-eyes, she will know you are quite serious- you […]
Use it or Lose it; Use it and Improve it- Applications of Neuroplasticity to Accent Modification
Accent modification, like the acquisition of any new skill, consists of forming new pathways in the brain- the process known as neuroplasticity- our brain’s ability to learn and change in response to experience! In the particular instance of accent modification, the brain needs to be re-trained regarding relevant auditory input of speech sounds, intonation, and […]
What are the Benefits of Accent Reduction Training?
There are many benefits to accent reduction training: increased confidence in your speech, an improved ability to communicate your ideas, and conversations that are no longer interrupted by “Could you please repeat that?”. The benefits of accent reduction do not end just with you though, they transfer over to the people that you are communicating with as […]
Should I Consider Accent Reduction?
This is a question that I often get asked. The truth is that accent reduction is not right for everyone. If you do not travel outside of the region where your accent is the “standard accent” then chances are, people understand you perfectly and you do not have a problem communicating your thoughts and ideas. If, […]