A native accent can add character and cultural identity, however many speakers of English as a second language want the ability to remove or soften it in certain situations, typically in the workplace. One of the reasons for this is the ongoing difficulty created when a native accent is so strong that it precludes listeners from fully understanding what is being said.
“I can tell you that large numbers of people do face prejudice in English speaking countries when they sound different,” reports one Language School Director. “Mostly this is because listeners need to expend extra effort to understand what they’re saying – which in turn creates impatience and frustration on both sides.”
Job market surveys also show that 8 out of 10 people with a foreign or regional accent have faced prejudice and discrimination because of the way they sound. According to a recent poll conducted by Aziz Communications, neutral accents were the best accents for people wanting to get ahead.
SpeechSchool.TV is the largest provider of online speech training and has developed a Standard English Accent course which helps people develop a clear and neutral accent. “Anybody can remove or soften their accent regardless of their language background,” reports the School. “Our expectation is that within 3 months our students would see an improvement of 20% in clarity on their graded assessments, and much more beyond that.”
SpeechSchool.TV has developed an award-winning process that has been proven to help students remove or soften their accent. Having worked with students from all around the world, the School has successfully helped students with Chinese, Indian, European and even native accents like Liverpudlian and Cockney. The process involves teaching students all 50 sounds of Standard English and then providing the reinforcement and practice over a long period of time to make the new, neutral accent ‘stick’. Regular weekly videos provide the ongoing support and continuous exposure that students need. Alongside this, coaching is given on effective communication techniques and improving the student’s overall skill and confidence as a speaker of the language.
While accents provide variety and richness to the English language, there is a growing role for accent training so that speakers of English can choose the way they sound rather than being prejudged by a perceived foreign accent. Students of SpeechSchool.TV report that they are now able to speak in a more neutral accent in their workplace or revert back to their local lingo when amongst friends. Several confirm that improvements in speech have led to better job opportunities and increased income.