With more than 30 years working in speech training, SpeechSchool.TV’s Course Director was recently asked for some thoughts on accent in spoken English.
The School has provided various programs over the years to improve the clarity of students’ speaking. This has included programs that teach the Standard English Accent (Received Pronunciation), the American Accent (General American) and the Australasian Accent.
When students want to improve their pronunciation clarity, they must first be taught a model of clear, authoritative English. But what phonetic model do you base that on? ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching for example uses two standards: either Received Pronunciation or General American.
However, when teaching spoken English, SpeechSchool.TV says one standard is emerging.
The School’s Course Director begins by saying that accent in speech is no bad thing. “Some accent helps to communicate a person’s cultural background and adds a richness and authenticity to who they are. Where SpeechSchool.TV comes in is where the strength of that accent is preventing clarity or having a negative result in the student’s speaking environment.”
“With speech training, all students naturally pick up to some degree the accent of the country in which they are living. For that reason, we have found the best methodology is to teach students the purest form of spoken English, which is Received Pronunciation or Standard English. They can then use that training to find their perfect voice, which provides lasting confidence.”
Apparently one of the problems with teaching the American accent is that it is a regional accent, has fewer sounds and is generally less clear than a Standard English Accent. According to SpeechSchool, American students are better to begin learning Standard English speech, then modify sounds in American settings – which will largely happen automatically. “We liken this process to making beer with pure water, rather than starting with flavoured water. The pure basis provides a more logical starting point in learning.”
After substantial research, SpeechSchool.TV also decided to forego teaching an American Accent course altogether in 2010, focusing on building “the best Standard English pronunciation course for all speakers, anywhere in the world.”
An additional reason for this was that the School noticed more than 70% of students from the American continent were selecting to learn the English Accent anyway.
SpeechSchool.TV believes the best possible basis for clear and powerful English speech is to begin learning the Standard English accent. This form of speech is virtually ‘accentless’ and thus provides the best possible basis for speech training. It also allows students to improve clarity while blending some of their own cultural identity and location into their voice as needed.
To review the course with an initial free trial period please visit: http://www.speechschool.tv/english.html