There are numerous stories in popular media today of Hollywood celebrities getting help from speech therapists to change their accents to match the different characters they are working on. Scientifically speaking, this approach has some merit as pronunciation has a lot to do with muscle memory. Having said that, most actors go to a speech therapist for short-term accent adjustments. For example, for an American actor trying to speak with a South African accent for a movie, speech therapy makes perfect sense as part of the preparation. Most of us are looking for a more permanent solution, where we want to improve our accents across a long period of time.
Also, speech therapy is intense and requires extreme dedication. And it is definitely not cheap! So our advice is, if your goal is to improving Accent in general, don’t run to a Speech therapist right away!
When it comes to improving Accent, there is nothing as important as self awareness! Do you know which words you struggle pronouncing? Do you think pronunciation becomes unclear when you speak faster? All this can be found when you record and listen to how you speak.
And most importantly, make this process a habit. It is very east to fall back to bad pronunciation habits so keep recording and correcting yourself until you feel comfortable with what you hear.
Listening to the “right” accent is an integral part of improving your accent. Invest time in watching high quality English movies. Also, with the popularity of platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and Hulu, you can get your hands on almost any TV series.
Don’t know where to start. Here are some good places to start:
-The West Wing
-NPR (National Public Radio)
Just like with any long term improvements in speaking English, the best way to really improve your accent is to practice speaking with natives. Programs like Spoken English Practice allow you to do this and have practice Spoken English in a “real” way.
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