As you can see, there so many different ways to say “hello.”  Foreign accent reduction is a possible answer for you (or someone you know) if:

  1. You’re fluent in English.
  2. You’re extremely motivated to reduce your foreign accent.
  3. Others seem easily confused when listening to you.
  4. You find yourself uncertain of how to express yourself in English.
  5. You typically make errors when you speak English.
  6. You lack confidence in your manner of English communication.
  7. You have the time to consistently dedicate yourself to this process.

If you’re still wondering what foreign accent reduction is, here are some aspects to consider:

  • The English language is made up of vowels and consonants.
  • The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is used to better understand the multitude of sounds that exist.
  • Positioning is critical in pronouncing words correctly as some sounds occur in the initial, medial or final position.
  • English has at least 7 variants of pronouncing the /r/ sound.
  • Understanding of diphthongs is essential.
  • An important aspect of English is using stress and emphasis.
  • Syllables are used to differentiate words.
  • Some syllables in English receive primary vs. secondary stress in a word.
  • Other syllables in English are defined as “weak” and therefore don’t receive either primary or secondary stress.
  • Rate reduction is a good tool to use.

Regardless of your language, it’s vital to ensure that you understand the person to whom you’re speaking, and that the other person understands you.  While many of us simply say “Do you understand me?” or “Does that make sense?” that doesn’t really address the issue.  It’s much more effective to say, “What do you think about what I’ve said?” or “How does what we’ve discussed affect you?”  When you’re the listener, you can ask the speaker to repeat what was said and be as specific as you can.  So, you might say “Please repeat the last word.”  You can also paraphrase to ensure the accuracy of what you believe you heard.

One other technique I highly recommend is word association.  This helps to clarify the spelling of something and comes in handy on the phone, if someone is wearing a facial mask, or is unintelligible.  It goes like this–“This is Dale Klein.  For my first name, that’s D as in David and for my last name it’s K, l, e, i, n as in Nancy.”

If you want to discuss this further, you’re always welcome to call (518-664-6004) or email me dale@profitablespeech.com 

Can’t wait to speak with you.