How do you learn the English accent?

English accent presentation
When coming from a second language, how do you learn to present with an English accent

The language learning market is huge, however 91% of those learners are concentrated on just one language: English.  Unfortunately, simply learning English is not enough on it’s own to be heard, understood and to be able to thrive in an English speaking environment.  This is because when we come from our native language, the pronunciation and intonation patterns of that language impact signficantly on our accent.  In many cases, and paritcularly for relatively new learners of English, that accent can be so strong that it impacts negatively on our spoken English.

So how do you learn English accents and soften your own accent?

Well, the first question must be which English accent to focus on when learning English?  SpeechSchool.TV is the largest provider of video based English accent training online.  The School has offered many different courses over the years, from Standard English (British), American English to Australasian Engilsh.  They have found that 90% of students, including those in the US where an American accent is the norm, choose to learn the Standard English accent.

Why learners choose the Standard English accent?

When it comes to learning English accents and speaking and presenting like a native speaker, the main aim first is to soften your own accent.  Accent softening, requires a structured course whereby you study;

1. The correct tonal pronunciation of all phonetic sounds.

2. The inflection pattern of speech.

3 The rhythm, flow and intonation pattern through sentences.

With Standard English, this is based on Oxford English, and covers 50 phonetic sounds and standardised rules of English pronunciation.  American English in comparison only has about 44 phonetic sounds, uses slang and has variance across different regions.

Students around the world therefore choose Standard English in order to learn all sounds clearly and correctly, which forms the best platform for them to go about softening their own accents.

Accent softening and the learn English accent program from Speech School

SpeechSchool.TV has worked with thousands of students worldwide with its award-winning video based training and as a result has the leading ‘learn English accent’ program for internet learning.

Students generally experience a reduction in accent strength of 20% over a 3 month period and a much larger reduction over months and years, whereby their spoken English becomes like an educated native speaker, considerably improving speech and presentation outcomes for them.

 

Learn British Accent

Learn British Accent
In 2014 the Mirror reported on a YouGov Poll of the most attractive accents in Britain.

It has been estimated that in Britain alone there are more than 24 different regional accents.  One of the reasons for this, is that until the 1930s, mass transport was limited. The population were more confined to regional areas where they developed their own accents.

For the new learner of the English language or the second language speaker, the key question to ask when undertaking online accent or speech training, is which accent is best to learn?  Should I learn British accent or American?

British or American Accents?

Second language speakers of English are generally taught in two strands; either British English, based on Received Pronunciation (RP) or General American, based on American English.  Let’s examine British English based on RP first.

RP emerged almost eighty years ago as a standard model of English speech, without specific regional dialect.  It was mostly based on a Home Counties accent, whereby there was minimal regional accent.  In larger more populous areas it is also logical that particular regional flavours or dialects will become less popular as a wider range of people work, interact together and need to be understood.

Examining the British RP based accent phonetically we find that it has 50 unique phonetic sounds and provides the most complete ‘standard’ of the English language.

Learning the American Accent

Like the United Kingdom, the United States also has many regional dialects of English, including Southern, New York and Californian, for example.  However the accent that appears most neutral and is used on the major nationwide TV news networks is based on the Mid West accent and is descriptively termed ‘General American’.

Phonetically, the General American accent has 44 unique phonetic sounds.  In this way it does not have as wider range as British RP.  However the real question for learners of English, is which accent is best received on both sides of the Atlantic?

Preferences to Learn British Accent

As we’ve seen in the YouGov Poll, Received Pronunciation is the second most attractive accent in the UK, falling only behind Southern Irish, which is phonetically closer to the American Accent.  However surveys in the United States show that British RP is perceived to be more attractive and sophisticated than local American accents.  Further, the accent, due to its focus on absolute clarity, can be easily understood in the US.

Learn British Accent with SpeechSchool.TV

For this reason, SpeechSchool.TV teaches the British RP based accent, although the training is modified to provide International RP.  This aims to provide the clearest most neutral form of English speech training.  It is suitable for learners and speakers of English worldwide.

Learn British Accent today

How to improve English speaking

Learn English Speaking
Learning to speak the English language clearly and well can be a very satisfying experience.

So you already read, write and speak English to a reasonable level?  However, can you be clearly understood and do you make the right impression on your listeners? 

Aurelien Gasc was a French engineer who had been working and living in an English speaking country for a number of years.  Yet, he always felt that when he was communicating with colleagues and friends he was “that French guy in your face.”

Mr. Gasc joined SpeechSchool.TV, a leading provider of British accent training and online tuition in English speaking.  The school helped him to soften his accent and now he is able to speak more easily and clearly with those around him.

Learn how to speak English like a native speaker

The challenge for learners is always to learn to speak the language in a similar way to native speakers so they can be clearly understood and fluency is evident.  SpeechSchool.TV teaches English pronunciation and helps achieve clear pronunciation across sentences, focusing on the Standard English accent.  While the School recognises that some local accent adds colour, it’s English accent course helps to ensure that such accent does not impede understanding or overpower the clarity of the message.

Should I go for British accent training or American accent training?

The best advice for students is to learn pure Standard English which is essentially without an accent.  This is spoken English as found in an Oxford dictionary and contains 50 unique phonetic sounds.  For students living and working in America it is very easy to modify the tone and flow of this speech toward an American accent (which has around 44 phonemes).

More information on English speaking and British accent training is available from SpeechSchool.TV, a well recognised provider in online education.

Learning English pronunciation can sometimes be a challenge

learn_english_pronunciation
For migrants like Brian, learning the natural lingo of English can give major personal and professional advantages when settling into their new country.

Brian Park moved from Seoul, South Korea to Auckland, New Zealand 2 years ago.  A qualified engineer and relatively proficient in English, Brian thought it would be relatively easy to get a job as  it was widely known and advertised that New Zealand had a shortage of qualified engineers.

However after more than 9 months of searching for a job, Brain became disillusioned.  “I could not understand it,” he says.  “My English is good and my experience was the same as the employers were looking for.  In fact in Korea I had been exposed to working on even bigger projects than the local ones here.”

However when Brian came to SpeechSchool.TV and did his first assessment test, his spoken English was not as proficient as he first thought.  “The assessment showed me that my spoken pronunciation in English could actually be quite hard to understand for the local speakers.  This surprised me a lot as my written English has been shown to be very strong.”

Brian then realised that while is understanding of the English language was in fact very good his ability to pronounce it was not because most of his life he had been only using written English, not actually speaking it every day in an English speaking country.

The most important things are the “accent” and the local “lingo” Brian says.  “Actually before I started SpeechSchool I couldn’t even say the word “pronunciation” correctly.”

He now thinks that despite his excellent qualifications and depth of experience, employers were concerned about his ability to converse with staff and clients and were therefore selecting local candidates over and above him, even if they were less qualified.

Brian says through using the English Accent program at SpeechSchool.TV he has now managed to soften his accent and speak English much more clearly.  “I feel more confident now,” he says, “that I am just as good as the Kiwi candidates and can communicate in spoken English just as clearly.”

 

Immigrating? Learn English quick and easy!

Learn Englis for Immigration
Migrating to an English speaking country is a goal for many people around the world, especially as those countries are looking for skills in demand. However, being able to learn and speak English well without the obstacle of a difficult accent is an important part of that goal.

These days you can learn English online.  In fact it is one of the most efficient ways to learn the language when combined with real world practice, as some of the best English courses now exist in “the cloud.”

With the growth in internet television, it is also possible to learn to speak English online and achieve a neutral Standard English accent in the process.  SpeechSchool.TV has an acclaimed English Accent course which has taught students from over 60 countries to speak English naturally and well.

SpeechSchool says that the best way to learn English speech is by going back to the 50 individual phonetic sounds in Standard English and learning them one by one and then in context.  In particular, for migrants to English speaking countries, one of the key factors in how well they integrate and work in their new society, is their ability to pick up good spoken English that can be easily understood by others.

Learning good spoken English means that migrants do not feel so isolated and do not need to keep within existing ethnic groups.  Being able to speak to people in the general population has huge benefits, because migrants can join clubs, Churches, societies and other groups along with having a much wider selection of job prospects.

An investment of time now in online English speech learning can make a huge difference to a migrant’s chance of success in their new country.

In addition, even when English is not the main language of a country, it is most often the main second or business language of these countries meaning that good spoken English is the fall back position when people do not speak the same language.

Learn more about our online English courses.

Can I learn English by learning accent?

Learn English Accent
Many students find English a difficult language to learn with all it’s rules and exceptions, however research from the way children learn language shows that mimicking accent along the way can rapidly increase language acquisition and achieve better pronunciation.

The human speech apparatus is one of the marvels of life.  The fact that we can use complex language separates us from almost every other living species.  Yes, there have been studies on dolphins and chimpanzees talking but we’ve yet to see them producing their own Broadway or West End musicals!

As human beings, we are able to speak over 4,000 different languages.  The beauty with each of those languages is that the art of speaking is creative.  Every word or phrase and the manner in which it is used is unique to each person, and this program is about empowering you to use spoken language at its very best.

Because of the way the human speech apparatus is constructed, even small children can learn to produce a couple of hundred different speech sounds clearly.  Of course each language only uses some of the potential sounds and English (Received Pronunciation) uses just 50 of them.

The difficulty in learning a second language, for example ‘English as a second language’ (ESL) is that in coming to that language from your mother tongue, your speech patterns and habits have been entirely shaped by your first language.  In particular the phonetic sounds you have learnt are based on your first language, so many of the 50 phonetic sounds in English will be very different to you, especially when the language you are coming from is very different to English.

Research shows that the critical period for learning spoken language is from birth to about 10 years old.  After that the ability to pick up spoken language declines very rapidly, particularly after the age of 17.  The reason for this seems to be that children and teenagers are not so ‘set’ in their first language.  They are readily able to pick up and adapt to new languages through what is known as phonetic acquisition – a process of picking up new sounds and using them in language.

SpeechSchool.TV is a leading English Accent training institution that offers English learning on the phonetic acquisition model.  The School says that speech and accent is an area of training that is often neglected.  The SpeechSchool.TV English Accent course provides ongoing exercises and training that can retrain student’s speech muscles on the 50 English sounds while learning the rhythm and flow of International Received Pronunciation (a form of spoken English that is neutral and clear).

So when you want to Learn English and pick up the language readily no matter your age, it is as important to learn the accent and phonetic patterns as it is the vocabulary and grammar.  In fact, the research findings from rapid language acquisition with children, show that this is not so much based on their youth or brain function but on their approach.  Children tend to learn English by mimicking their classmates and those around them.  Adults tend to study vocabulary and grammar in books.  SpeechSchool.TV is one language school working to change this by teaching English through sound acquisition and ensuring clear English speech with a neutral accent in the process for its learners.

How to learn online

The difference between English and American Pronunciation

American Accent Training
SpeechSchool.TV previously offered an American Accent course but found that the demand was for pure Standard English, incorporating that into their English Accent course in 2010.

When it comes to teaching English globally, and in particular spoken English, there are two main standards: Received Pronunciation and General American.  Received Pronunciation consists of British English pronunciation as used by James Bond and many BBC newsreaders and documentary narrators.  General American is a fairly neutral form of Mid West American English and is used by many ABC and CNN newsreaders.

However what are the differences and which form is best used for students of spoken English?

Firstly, Received Pronunciation (RP) does have more sounds with some 50 identified phonemes.  Correspondingly, General American pronunciation has less with 44 to 48 (depending on the analysis done).  Secondly, different vowel phonemes are used in different words – for example in the word chance (or dance) – a long vowel is used in RP whereas a short one is used in American.

SpeechSchool.TV, a leader in online speech training initially offered both English pronunciation courses, the American Accent (based on General American) and the English Accent (based on Received Pronunciation).

According to the School, the majority of students signing up worldwide – even in some of their most popular markets like the USA and Canada, preferred to subscribe to the English Accent course in order to gain what they perceived as the most pure basis possible for their spoken English.

Moreover, practice demonstrated that when learning the principles of Standard English pronunciation it is relatively easy to adapt that to any English speaking environment, whereas the American accent tends to be more regionally based.

In 2010 the School made the decision to close the American Accent course in order to concentrate on a sole Master Speaker Standard English program for all learners wanting clear speech and a neutral accent regardless of their language background.

“The result of this learning process from offering both English and American courses,” reports the Course Director, “is that we now have a Standard English Accent course based on International Received Pronunciation.  This teaches the 50 phonemes along the lines of Received Pronunciation but shows students how they can adapt their sound to maintain their cultural identity whilst speaking the clearest form of English possible.  In our view this also represents the best possible process for those seeking accent softening and accent reduction when English is not their first language.”

Research has also suggested that a more pure English accent is preferred in the United States and Canada than any of the home grown American accents as it is perceived to be more sophisticated.  According to SpeechSchool, international students are best to learn Standard English pronunciation and adapt it accordingly in the US.

Further research in the call center industry shows that Standard English has the lowest rate of errors and highest level of customer preference worldwide.  This would further cement the view that the best option for English pronunciation training is to begin with the pure Standard English accent.

Trial our FREE English Pronunciation program and convert your English

Online speech training software course

Online speech training software course
Successful academic study is not only about mastery of the subject for the student’s degree program, it is also about learning skills that will help the student succeed in the competitive workplace, such as speech and communication skills. Courses that support this can now be done online such as the online speech training software course provided by SpeechSchool.TV

Becoming a superior education provider requires finding ways to improve learning outcomes and add value to student learning.

While course and curriculum directives are important, it is the ability to round education with other skills that can really make a difference in the learning environment and provide students with more to offer when they graduate.

For around the cost of a couple of text books, students can be offered a choice of programs that will transform their speech and enable them to work better with staff and other students.

● International Students:

When coming from a different language background, overseas students experience difficulty in effectively communicating with tutors, teachers and fellow students. This is most evident in situations where they have to speak in groups or present to classes or tutorials.

An online SpeechSchool.TV accent course will achieve two things: First it will work to neutralise the student’s foreign accent, helping them to feel more accepted.  Second it will improve spoken English and impart clear speech, which will improve learning.

The recommended program for second language speakers of English and those wishing to gain a clear and neutral accent is the Master Speaker Program.

● Native Speaker Students:

First language speakers of English, their parents and future employers are looking for well rounded education from schools and universities.  The ability to speak and present is an extremely important area in subsequent personal or professional life.

The SpeechSchool.TV Master Speaker Program can help to achieve clearer pronunciation and speech for native speakers, while the Master Communicator Program covers advanced areas such as making the most of your voice and public speaking.

The difference between elocution and accent training

Elocution Accent Margaret Thatcher
Elocution lessons used to be most popular with native English speakers. The late Margaret Thatcher was one such beneficiary of elocution lessons. Nowadays, learners of speech pronunciation are just as likely to come from other languages seeking accent training.

Go back thirty years or more and elocution lessons were popularly taught in schools and through private classes to help native English speakers speak the language better.  Elocution focused on training learners to speak with the clearest possible pronunciation.  Often it was seen as a way to change speech toward a more upscale or powerful sounding tone.  Either way, many prominent people have used elocution training to develop strong speaking voices.  (Margaret Thatcher, Samuel L. Jackson, Cate Blanchett and Vanessa Redgrave to name a few).

According to SpeechSchool.TV (the leading speech training site on the internet) elocution students today are just as likely to come from other languages seeking accent training as they are native speakers wanting elocution lessons.

While elocution and accent training have different types of focus, the subject material taught is much the same.  Elocution focuses on teaching clear, pronunciation in a neutral accent covering all sounds in the language.  Accent training comes from the point of view that to learn clear spoken English, the learner must do so by adjusting their accent to the clearest and most neutral form of English.  It is not easy for students to improve English accent.

The old art of elocution is thus being transformed to work with second language learners coming from a wide variety of different accents.  The focus is not to remove a native accent completely but rather to give the speaker clear and neutral pronunciation that will put them in good stead to speak English well wherever they travel in the world.

SpeechSchool reports that about 70% of their students in their highly popular English Accent program come to English from another language.  Their focus is on acquiring a Standard English accent to make their own speech clearer.  However still 30% are native speakers and there focus is more on elocution, learning to speak the language more clearly or in some cases resolving a speech impediment such as mumbling or stuttering.

More information on the elocution and accent training program from SpeechSchool can be found on the accent training course page.

Can persuasive speech be taught to people speaking with an accent?

Persuasive Speaking
Ever found yourself listening to a speaker who is trying to be convincing but a strong accent just keeps getting in the way?

Persuasive speaking can be extremely powerful when you believe in your message and have learnt to use the techniques.  It can sway audiences, close deals and get people on your side.  SpeechSchool.TV has been providing one of the leading online courses on the internet for many years in the form of their Master Communicator program, using many of the techniques from the presenter’s own career as a top Advertising Creative Director.  However, for many English speakers nowadays, English is not their first language and that can mean strong accents when speaking.

According to John Curtis, Course Director at SpeechSchool.TV, the first question is whether the accent impacts on the message and being understood.  “People have to be honest with themselves,” he says.  “You may think your accent is not that strong but in fact listeners may be struggling to understand your message, let alone be convinced by it.”

He gives the example of one particular presentation where a speaker with a strong Italian accent was trying to persuade an organisation to take an important and difficult decision.  “First, I looked around the room and could see that people were having to concentrate extra hard just to understand what was being said.  That means people can’t relax and enjoy the message initially as there is effort involved in processing it, which in turn reduces the persuasiveness of it,” Curtis says.  “Second, the main message wasn’t getting through.  As one of the other participants remarked in private afterwards – ‘I couldn’t really understand all of it and found myself sort of enjoying the Italian accent and thinking about Tuscany and Chianti rather than the subject at hand!'”

To help students like this, SpeechSchool.TV has developed an accent softening and pronunciation program to ensure students are speaking English as clearly as they can before going on to learn to become advanced and persuasive public speakers.

The School’s Master Speaker English Accent program teaches Standard English Pronunciation which works to give all speakers the clearest form of pronunciation possible so that they may then go on and achieve great results in their speeches and English communication.

All speakers of English, no matter their language background, can develop a style and mix that works for them and is persuasive.  Find out how