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How do accents affect communication?

Written by on April 9th, 2013.      0 comments

An accent is a reflection of the unique background of each individual and many people take pride in their individual accent and style.  However, having an accent may cause some difficulties in communicating with other native English speakers, both at work and in social situations.

For example, when a person speaks a second or third language it is natural for them to do so using the rules of their native language.  However this can be quite different to English and may not sound right to native speakers of the language, making it difficult for them to understand.  This can cause frustration for the speaker as they are then asked to repeat what they have said or to find another way to explain themselves.

Ineffective communication due to a strong accent can create barriers in business; it may also have negative effects on job performance, cause missed job opportunities, affect educational advancement and everyday life activities. It may also affect your self-esteem.

It is for these reasons that some people decide to modify an accent or learn how to change their accent to improve their English communication skills.

Why are some accents often difficult to change?
People often wonder why children are able to learn a language so easily.  The reason why is that at a young age the ability to learn a new language is at a peak and the process of language learning occurs more easily.  As we get older however, learning a second language becomes a slow process, often needing years of study and practice.   Even after a long period of time of living in the country where the language is spoken, individuals may still not see any improvement in their pronunciation.  Overcoming this will often require specialised accent training and practice.

Example:      Mrs L, a nurse from South Africa, had been living in Australia for ten years and always struggled to be understood.  But after receive one-to-one accent training, she found she had much more confidence and patients could understand her more clearly.

Mr A, a scientist from Columbia and Mr T, an Engineer from Japan, decided to get Accent Reduction Coaching to help them improve their accents and get a job in their particular profession.   They each received one-to-one specialised accent training which concentrated on their individual learning needs.  Both were successful in getting a job before the end of their training.

The purpose of Accent Reduction training is to help you improve your spoken English skills.  The program is designed to teach you which areas of your speech are important to change and the ways in which you can make these changes.   As you can read from the above examples, specialised accent training is designed to assist you in the particular areas where you need most help.  With focussed accent training you can reduce your accent and improve your communication skills in English.