New English Pronunciation Course Options from Confidence Learning Services

Knoxville Accent Reduction

English Pronunciation Courses to better fit your lifestyle

Here at Confidence Learning Services, we enjoy being the premier provider of language and accent reduction services in the Knoxville area, and part of what makes us stand out is our flexibility. If you are interested in a course that lasts 6 weeks or 6 months, we can arrange that for you. However, we also have some pre-planned courses that we recommend to our clients. We’ve recently developed some new course options that we think will better serve our clients. Take a look at our new options:

Accent reduction Knoxville

 

Comprehensive Accent Reduction

Some clients will need to invest a little more time in their pronunciation practice in order to communicate as clearly as they would like. If you regularly have to repeat yourself to make yourself understood, feel that your career has been impacted or limited by your pronunciation, or avoid certain situations because of your struggles with pronunciation, this course is likely for you. Also, if you have previously tried other accent reduction programs without success, this may be the best course option for you.

Confidence Accent Reduction

Most of our clients can demonstrate 50-80% improvement in their accent in just 12 weeks, which is precisely what this course offers. If you occasionally have to repeat yourself to make yourself understood, or notice that people focus primarily on your accent instead of what you have to say, this is a good course to consider.

English Pronunciation Mini Course

Maybe you aren’t ready to commit to one of the longer courses just yet, and just want to try out a few courses, or perhaps you have an important speech or presentation to deliver. We’re happy to help you achieve a very targeted goal in just 3-weeks with this mini-course. This is a good option for someone who just wants to brush up, or is interested in sampling the lessons before committing to a longer course.

And of course, don’t forget about our free, sixty-minute evaluation. 

We’ll conduct an in-depth evaluation of all of the sounds in the English language, as well as a few key skills in this evaluation. We’ll also discuss your personal goals, and you get undivided one-on-one attention from a highly qualified instructor – for free! There’s no obligation to continue if you decide the course isn’t right for you.

Don’t wait any longer to take advantage of these new course offerings. Contact Confidence Learning Services at 1-865-226-9477 to sign up today.

 

 

American English Pronunciation of the Letter “T” – 4 Ways

knoxville english spanish accent reduction

Four different ways to pronounce the letter “Tt”

Like most native English speakers, I used to think that the letter “T” was one of our easier letters to pronounce. We don’t teach children in elementary school to change the pronunciation much, except for when “t” occurs together with “h”. The American English pronunciation of this letter seems to be easy – no “i before e” or “silent letter” phenomenon here, I thought. In fact, if you ask most American English speakers what the 4 different pronunciations of the letter “T” are, they probably won’t be able to tell you! But they will notice when you don’t pronounce those different versions – or “allophones” – of the letter “T.”

In this video, I highlight the 4 different, most common pronunciations of the letter “T.” They are:

1. American English Pronuciation – Normal “T” sound /t/

2. American English Pronuciation – Quick “D” sound /t̬/

3. American English Pronuciation – Glottal stop /ʔ/

4. American English Pronuciation – Omitted/Deleted sound

Choosing which sound to produce depends entirely upon the surrounding context of the letter “T”, either within the word or in connecting words. Which sound comes before and which sound comes after the letter “T” determines which sound should be produced.

Of course, there are even more possible pronunciations of letter “T.”  There are specific letter combinations, like the “th” /θ/ I mentioned previously, as well as the /ʃ/ in the “tion” words like “motion.” And there are the exceptions of borrowed words like “buffet” as well. But the four sounds we focus on in this video are general rules, not just specific letter combinations or exceptions.

Because the sounds are allophones, meaning they are all acceptable variations of a single sound, you probably won’t confuse anyone by using the wrong one. However, you will sound less fluent and less like a native speaker if you use the wrong pronunciation. So if you want to sound more natural, study and practice these sounds!

Native English speakers might not be able to name all of the allophones of “T”, but they will recognize if they are being pronounced correctly or incorrectly.
If you want to communicate clearly, confidently, and professionally with native English speakers, consider an advanced English Pronunciation course from Confidence Learning Services. We’ll give you a free assessment to start out with, and then tailor our instruction to your personal needs and learning style. Contact us today at 1-865-226-9477 for more info.

Concerns about Accent Reduction and English Pronunciation Training

group rates for spanish course

Despite the fact that personalized Accent Reduction training is the best way to improve your English pronunciation, many people still have concerns about signing up, and most of those concerns are very valid. Let’s take a look at the top 5 concerns about enrolling in an Accent Reduction / English Pronunciation Training course.

I’m concerned that Accent Reduction won’t help me improve my English Pronunciation at all.

This is an incredibly important question to ask and consider, before you dedicate a lot of time and resources to a program. Will it work?

Perhaps you’ve already completed a DVD or CD course with little success. Maybe you know a friend who has spoken English twice as long as you, and still speaks with an accent. Or perhaps you think the claims just sound too good to be true. No matter what your reasons are, it’s important to choose a course that is research based and has a proven track record of success.

Fortunately, at Confidence Learning Services, we take your concerns about our Accent Reduction program seriously. We can tell you that most of our clients actually improve 50 to 80 percent after completing a 12 week course. Not only that, but we will give you a detailed analysis of your speech before and after the course, and a before and after recording as well. If you’re still concerned, we’ll be happy to provide you with a list of references to contact.

I’m concerned that Accent Reduction will help me improve my English Pronunciation – too much!

Perhaps you’re not concerned about being successful in an Accent Reduction course, but being too successful.

Many people tie their accents to their personal and cultural identity, and they don’t want to surrender that. It’s understandable. You may be concerned about what would happen if you opened your mouth and instead of your voice, you heard a voice that sounded like Matt Lauer or Gayle King.

Fortunately, there are many qualities that make up your voice besides your accent. Your tone of voice, and your rate of speech are just two factors that aren’t necessarily accent related. The specific words you use regularly also contribute to your individual speech style. Even if you change your accent completely, your voice will still be your own.

Let’s consider an example. Say you know someone who regularly mispronounces one word – they may say, “Leave” instead of “live”, as in, “I leave in Knoxville.” If they corrected that one mispronunciation, they wouldn’t be losing their identity, and you would still recognize their voice. This is what we are doing in Accent Reduction, but on a grander scale.

 I’m concerned that a personalized Accent Reduction course will take too much time

Accent Reduction Knoxville

These days, everyone’s calendar is filled and time is at a premium. Will you really have time to be successful at Accent Reduction?

At Confidence Learning Services, we recommend you plan to practice about 60 minutes a day during the 3 months that the course takes place. This, combined with your 60-90 minute weekly session, should be enough for you to see drastic improvement. If you skimp on practice, expect to see less impressive results. However, if you dedicate extra time to practice, you can hope for better progress.

After your 12 weeks, we recommend continued practice, but at a less intensive pace.

While 60 minutes a day is a serious commitment, you will be able to see results in as little as 12 weeks. The time commitment for improved English pronunciation is intensive, but short-term. We strongly recommend you take that into consideration before you sign up. However, if you’re serious about improving your accent, we hope you’ll find the time in your schedule.

I’m concerned that improving my English Pronunciation will cost too much.

Again, another valid concern. Some Accent Reduction courses run over $2000 for a 12-week course, and you may not even get one-on-one attention from an instructor.

Fortunately, there’s some good news. Confidence Learning Services’ Accent Reduction courses are more affordable than the industry average, and we offer convenient payment plans.

Although Accent Reduction is a short term expense, it’s important to weigh that against the longer term benefits. Improving your English Pronunciation may result in clearer communication with your co-workers, boss, clients, or potential employers. Investing in an Accent Reduction course now may pay off with promotions, new accounts, or new job opportunities in the future.

Additionally, many employers subsidize or pay entirely for their employees’ Accent Reduction training. You may wind up owing nothing for your course!

Free Seminar

You can get an in-depth evaluation for free.

 

Did we address your concerns? Or do you still have reservations about signing up for an Accent Reduction course? Give us a try by requesting your free, face-to-face pronunciation evaluation. There’s no obligation, we won’t ask you for any payment information, and you’ll get personalized attention from an accent coach. Contact us today at 1-865-226-9477 to learn more.

6 Steps to Better English Pronunciation

improve your american english accent

Is learning pronunciation just like learning new vocabulary?

A lot of people want to improve their English pronunciation, but they don’t understand that improving their pronunciation is very different from learning new vocabulary. When you learn a new vocabulary word, you just memorize it and you’re done. You learn that “table” is the furniture that you serve dinner on. That’s it. Just remember it and you’re done.

But even if you memorize exactly where to place your tongue to pronounce “th” or “r” correctly, you won’t necessarily walk away pronouncing that sound correctly 100% of the time.

Why? Because pronunciation is a result of muscle memory. It’s much more like learning how to play a sport, or learning a new musical instrument, than learning a new word. How do you learn to play the piano? Or become a start soccer place?  Practice, practice, and practice some more.

Great! But perhaps you’ve been listening to the same pronunciation CD for the past 5 years, and people still ask you to repeat yourself. You might not be practicing correctly. At Confidence Learning Services, we go through certain steps in order to help you improve your pronunciation. In order to learn any new pronunciation sound, you have to complete the following process:

Step 1 to better English Pronunciation: Listen.

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Can you tell the difference between “leave” and “live”? “Bit” and “bet”? Which word has the “short i” sound? If you cannot identify the sound when you hear it, you will struggle to pronounce it.

Step 2 to better English Pronunciation: Make the sound.

You must be able to pronounce a difficult sound by itself, before you pronounce it within a word. You will find some sounds easy to pronounce, as soon you realize what you’re doing incorrectly. It can be helpful to get an in-depth Pronunciation Evaluation, in order to identify those problem sounds. Other sounds might be more difficult, even when you know what you’re doing wrong. This is where a trained Accent and Pronunciation professional can be helpful in guiding you to correct pronunciation.

Step 3 to better English Pronunciation: Single Words.

If you can say the sound correctly, now try it in different words and contexts. Pronounce, “little” “love” and “life” if you’re working on /l/, for example.

Step 4 to better English Pronunciation: Sentences and Paragraphs

Now let’s put those tricky words into sentences, and then move to paragraphs. You can look for specific paragraphs written to pronounce a single sound, or you can even practice with paragraphs from news articles that will probably contain the sounds that you’re practicing.

Step 5 to better English Pronunciation: Regular Conversation

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Great! You can read sentences and paragraphs that contain your problem sound, pronouncing it correctly most of the time. Now you need to use these new skills in conversation, which can be difficult, since you are typically focused on what you are saying when you are having a conversation, rather than pronunciation.

Putting these skills into practice is like playing your first soccer game. You’ve practice running, and kicking, and can shoot penalty kicks, but putting all these together in the chaos of a game is difficult.

Managing all of your new pronunciation skills takes a lot of focus. Don’t be dismayed if you make mistakes at first.  The more you practice, the more automatic your skills become.

Step 6 to better English Pronunciation: Repeat

You likely won’t master a new sound in the first day of practice, or on your first try. Even if you can say the sound correctly during your practice, chances are the next day you will revert to your old habits without practice. This is because changing your pronunciation is a habit that takes time. So each day, repeat these same steps. It will take a week or two to master each new sound.

If you are serious about improving your communication and English Pronunciation, contact us today at 1-865-226-9477 to schedule your free Skype or in-person English Pronunciation Evaluation. We’ll complete an in-depth analysis of your pronunciation of all sounds of the English language, identify which sounds you need to improve, and use that information to design a personalized, 12-week course just for you.

English Mispronunciation – Which Words Aren’t You Getting Right?

English Mispronunciation

Chances are, if you’re speaking English, it’s not your first language.

That’s right, English has around 400 million native speakers, but a whopping 1.5 billion people speak English as a second language.

English Mispronunciation

Percentage English Speakers by Country. You’re probably not facebook friends with all of them, though.

 

Which means, chances are, if you’re speaking English, there are some words that you may be mispronouncing. And in fact, you probably don’t even notice that you are mispronouncing these words, because you use them dozens of times a day. No, we’re not talking about words like “pusillanimous” or even “Chthonian“.

We’re talking about the most commonly mispronounced words found in the top 100 words in the English language. Here at Confidence Learning Services, we find that most people think that these words are easy, because they’re only 3-5 letters long. But in reality, you may be saying these words incorrectly ten, twenty, even fifty times a day. Let’s take a look.

English Mispronunciation – work

– There’s no /o/ sound in the word, despite the misleading “or” spelling.

-“Work” has the same sound as “were” “sure” “her” or “word” (another one you’re probably mispronouncing).

Pronunciation Tip: Tighten the lips for the /w/ sound, and immediately place your tongue in the high, back position necessary for an /r/ sound. It may be easier to imagine it spelled like, “wrk” since there is nothing between the /w/ and /r/ sounds.

English Mispronunciation – come

– The vowel represented by the letter “o” is actually /ʌ/, usually seen written with an English letter “u” (like the word “up).

– Rhymes with “some” (another tricky word) but not with “home.”

Pronunciation Tip: Keep the tip of the tongue touching the back of the bottom-front teeth, and keep the tongue as flat as possible, even pushing the back of the tongue down into the throat to make it flatter.

English Mispronunciation – other

– The vowel represented by the letter “o” is actually /ʌ/, usually seen written with an English letter “u” (like the word “up).

– The “th”, is voiced /ð/ (meaning that there will be vibration in the throat). Be careful not to replace this sound with a /d/ /v/ or /z/ sound.

Pronunciation Tip: Pronounce a flat /ʌ/ vowel, then place the tongue between the teeth and vibrate continuously to make the /ð/ sound. Last, go right back into that “r” sound, bunching the back of the tongue very high and tight in the back of the mouth.

English Mispronunciation – what

– The /h/ sound in this word is unnecessary. Some American speakers (including me!) include the /h/ sound in “wh-” words, but most do not.

English Mispronunciation

But I’ve been carrying around this extra “h” all day!

– The vowel represented by the letter “a” is actually /ʌ/, usually seen written with an English letter “u” (like the word “up).

Pronunciation Tip: To make the vowel sound correctly, keep the tip of the tongue touching the back of the bottom-front teeth, and keep the tongue as flat as possible, even pushing the back of the tongue down into the throat to make it flatter.

English Mispronunciation – with

– The letter “i” in “with” represents the relaxed /I/ sound in “it” and “if”, not the higher, more tense /i/ sound in “eat” and “sheep”.

– The unvoiced “th” /θ/ sound at the end of this word can be difficult. Practice saying the word in a sentence, like “Come with me” to make sure that you are not replacing this sound with an /s/, /t/, /f/, or removing it entirely.

Pronunciation Tip: The /I/ vowel is one of our most difficult sounds to make in the English language, but you can do it. Start with the tongue high in the mouth, to make the /i/ sound in “eat.” Then, relax the tongue completely and let it drop about half a centimeter to make the more relaxed /I/ sound, before you place the tongue between the teeth to make the /θ/ sound.

English Mispronunciation – this

– The “th”, is voiced /ð/ (meaning that there will be vibration in the throat). Be careful not to replace this sound with a /d/ /v/ or /z/ sound.

– The letter “i” in “this” represents the relaxed /I/ sound in “it” and “if”, not the higher, more tense /i/ sound in “eat” and “sheep”.

Pronunciation tip: Make sure that you voice the “th” sound, which you can check by placing your hand on your neck as you pronounce the word. You should feel vibrations in your neck as you say the /I/ sound. Focus on relaxing the tongue completely and letting it drop about half a centimeter to make the more relaxed /I/ sound.

Last, we have our unvoiced /s/ sound which is usually pretty simple.

English Mispronunciation – was

–  The letter “a” represents the /ʌ/ vowel that is the same as the “u” in “up.”

– The letter “s” represents a voiced /z/ sound.

Pronunciation Tip: It’s better to think of this word as being spelled “wuz,” which is how our grade school students often misspell it! Just like in the word “what,” keep the tip of the tongue touching the back of the bottom-front teeth, and keep the tongue as flat as possible, even pushing the back of the tongue down into the throat to make it flatter to pronounce the /ʌ/ vowel. Check to make sure you are making a voiced /z/ sound by holding your hand against your neck as you say this word.

English Mispronunciation – to

You’ve probably heard that “two” “too” and “to” are all pronounced the same, and it’s true – sort of. The word “to” by itself, or if it is being emphasized in a sentence, is pronounced with the /u/ vowel made by rounding your lips and raising your tongue high in the mouth.

However, most of the time, when this word is used in a sentence, we instead simply say “t” /t/, with very little vowel sound following the /t/ sound. No round lips, no tongue raised in the back.

Pronunciation Tip: Try it in this sentence, “We have to go to the store to pick up some food.” Each time you say the word “to”, your lips should not round- you can check this in the mirror.

English Mispronunciation – of

Probably the word I hear most frequently mispronounced by non-native English speakers! Many people mispronounce this word to sound like the word “off,” but actually:

– The vowel represented by the letter “o” is actually /ʌ/, usually seen written with an English letter “u” (like the word “up).

– The letter “f” represents a voiced /v/ sound.

English Mispronunciation

Don’t risk sounding like this cartoon character when what you mean to say is “of.”

Pronunciation Tip: Think of this word as spelled “uv” instead. Focus on making a flat /ʌ/ vowel, followed by a voiced /v/. You should feel vibration in your neck as you pronounce both sounds.

For more help with English pronunciation, contact us today at 1-865-226-9477 and we will schedule a free pronunciation evaluation for you via Skype – no obligation, and no payment information needed.

Are there any other words that you hear mispronounced, or that you have trouble pronouncing? Let us know in the comments!

American English Pronunciation Tips and Secrets

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Even if you have spent years in the U.S., people might still pick up on your accent if it doesn’t match Standard American English Pronunciation. Maybe you are tired of repeating yourself several times a day, or perhaps you would just like to avoid the infamous, “Where are you from?” question. Either way, you could definitely benefit from dedicating some time to American English Pronunciation practice. Here are some tips to help you in that process:

Learn to recognize the correct American English Pronunciation

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

The first step in speaking clearly is to listen clearly. Choose a few difficult words and pay attention to how various native speakers say those words – store cashiers, restaurant wait staff, radio DJs or news broadcasters. You might hear some variation among native speakers, but you should hear some of the same qualities in each different pronunciation.

Want to improve your American English Pronunciation? Forget about spelling.

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Unfortunately, American English isn’t written phonetically. This means one letter can make up to 20 different sounds. So spelling is very deceptive! Many people learned to read and write English first, and have memorized the correct spelling of each word. So they think that there is a round /o/ sound in the word “option” because it is spelled with the letter “o”, or that “word” and “bird” cannot rhyme because they are written with different vowels. The best way to learn American English is to close the dictionary, forget about how the word is spelled, and just listen. Try to make the same sounds as the native speaker you are imitating, no matter how the word is spelled.

Find a speech model with good American English Pronunciation.

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Like I mentioned before, there can be some variation among native English speakers, which can be confusing for someone trying to improve their pronunciation. Choose one person to be your “speech model”. This is not a friend or family member, but instead an American celebrity, actor/actress, or other public figure of your same gender. You should choose someone whose voice you enjoy and whom you enjoy watching. Spend a lot of time watching that person on television, or finding short clips of them on YouTube. Pause the video after each sentence and practice repeating the sentence, mimicking the speaker’s attitude, facial expressions, body language, etc. Go back and repeat the process again, until you can “do an impression” or “mimic” your speech model convincingly.

Watch your vowels!

Even though the English alphabet only has 5 written vowels, we have at least 11 spoken vowels in American English. These vowels are always a dead-giveaway for anyone who doesn’t have standard American English Pronunciation. Pay close attention to the vowels in any word you are working on pronouncing.

The words “beat-bit-bait-bet-bat-but-boot-boat-bite-bout” should each have different vowel sounds.

Use the right American English resources.

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Dictionary.com is a great resource for listening to the pronunciation of any given word. Merriam-Webster.com is another. Practice listening to the example pronunciation of the word you are studying, and then record yourself imitating the correct pronunciation

Seek help from an Accent Coach specializing in American English Pronunciation

American English Pronunciation Knoxville

Although you can make a lot of progress on your own, you will be much more successful with a trained specialistwho can administer in depth evaluations, make personalized recommendations, and provide live feedback. Confidence Learning Services provides Accent Coaching worldwide via Skype, or on-site in East Tennessee.

 

Contact us today at 1-865-226-9477 to start out with a complimentary, no-strings attached Accent and Pronunciation Evaluation.

Do I need English Pronunciation Training or Accent Reduction?

accent reduction in knoxville

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that? I didn’t understand.”
“Oh my gosh, I love your accent. Where are you from? Say something else.”

If you hear statements like this regularly, you may have been wondering what you could do to be better understood by others and taken more seriously.

Yet you’re too advanced for English classes, or maybe English is your first language. You don’t need any more grammar training, and you may have tried CD’s or DVD’s with little change in your communication skills. Most of all, even though you are a well-educated and successful professional, you wish you were more confident in who you are and what you have to say.

Confidence Learning Services’ Accent Reduction / English Pronunciation Training courses, available on-site in Knoxville TN or worldwide via Skype, may be able to help you communicate more confidently.

Let’s look at a few clues that English Pronunciation Training is right for you:

If people regularly ask you to repeat yourself in English, you could benefit from English Pronunciation Training.

Of course, everyone has to repeat themselves once in awhile. But if you have to repeat yourself more than once a day, you might need some English Pronunciation Training. In Knoxville, I have heard some speakers repeat themselves up to 10 times to make themselves understood. Try to keep a tally sheet with you, or on your smartphone, and tally each time you have had to repeat yourself to make yourself understood. If it’s more than once a day, you might want to seek further English Pronunciation Training. Coming up with excuses about why your accent isn’t “that bad” or how you wouldn’t learn anything in an Accent Reduction course won’t improve your communication skills.

English Pronunciation Training may also be helpful if you need to present a professional image without the distraction of an accent.

This applies to both regional and foreign accents. If you travel to make presentations at conferences, or communicate with clients on a daily basis, you don’t want your accent to speak louder than your words. But how do you know this is happening? If oral communication is a big part of your communication with others, you will notice if people regularly comment on your accent. Perhaps you have given a presentation on recent scientific research conducted by your group, only to have people approach you afterwards asking about your accent, how long you have lived here, and to talk about cultural questions. English Pronunciation training – even for native speakers – can help you to communicate professionally and put the focus back on what you have to say.
If your job involves little to no oral communication, you rarely interact with new people, and you don’t have to give presentations or speak with clients, then accent reduction might not be as beneficial for you. But keep in mind that even though those are not your current job responsibilities, if you are hoping for a promotion or raise, you might want to be prepared for them.

If you are a performer or public speaker.

One of the best examples of this is the character of Gregory House played by Hugh Laurie. Laurie mastered the American accent so well that most Americans don’t realize he is actually from the U.K. Incidentally, the writers of the television show “House, MD” could have included Laurie’s accent – it’s not like there are no doctors in the US with a British accent. But the writers didn’t want Laurie’s character to be immediately written off by American audiences, so they went with the American accent.
If you are a local news anchor, actor, speaker, or performer from another country living in the US, having an English Pronunciation coach may help you advance in your career as well. Likewise, if you are a performer or broadcaster from Knoxville but wanting to break into a national market, English Pronunciation Training may help.

If you are willing to put effort into improving yourself

Many people would love to lose some weight. Few people go to the gym regularly. Finding an English Pronunciation Coach is a lot like finding a personal trainer, and the practice materials provided in your sessions are a lot like your gym membership. If you aren’t willing to put the time and effort in, or if you aren’t interested in following your coach’s instructions, you won’t see the results you want.

Still not sure if you should pursue English Pronunciation Training? Contact Confidence Learning Services for a FREE evaluation.

We’ll come to your office in Knoxville or set up an appointment on Skype to give you a free, in-depth evaluation of your individual accent. 1-865-226-9477.

What are the best accent reduction materials?

book and cd

“But I already have an electronic dictionary with a voice feature.”book and cd

At Confidence Learning Services, we have spent several years accumulating materials to help others communicate more clearly in English. When you enroll in an Accent Reduction course with us, all materials are provided, including a subscription to an Online Practice Program and recommended books, websites, and apps. But yet, some people ask, “Why that website and not this one?” or, “Why should I download that dictionary app when I already have a dictionary?”
Those are fair questions, so let me answer them here.

Things to keep in mind when considering Accent Reduction Materials:

– Not all pronunciation training websites or programs are created equal.

Some contain poor pronunciation, grammar mistakes, or inauthentic pronunciation. Some simply don’t do a good job of building you up to clear communication in your everyday speech. We only recommend sites that we have tested and are confident in. One of our favorites is: http://trainyouraccent.com/

– Not all dictionaries or dictionary apps are the same.

Go ahead, download a few dictionary apps in your native language. Now look up a word, and imagine trying to understand the definition if you were learning that language. Now listen to the pronunciation example. Does it sound natural, or robotic? These are easy to evaluate in your native language, but harder to evaluate in a second language. That’s why we recommend specific dictionaries and dictionary apps for you to use, instead of the electronic dictionary or app you may already have. One of our favorites is: www.dictionary.com

– Materials may be negotiable.

If your instructor has assigned something that you hate, or that doesn’t work for you, let them know. Some materials may be negotiable. For example, despite the popularity with most of my clients, one client in particular strongly disliked the website recommended above. Instead of trying to “Power through” it, or pretending to do the assignment and skipping it, that client informed me that the website wasn’t working for them, and we set up something different. Don’t hesitate to let your instructor know about any problems you are having, but keep in mind:

– Accent Reduction isn’t always fun.

Unlike the “entertaining” and immediately gratifying experience of learning a new language and being able to order new and exciting food right away, accent reduction is often tedious and time-consuming. Progress typically occurs at a slow-and-steady pace. Accent reduction is incredibly valuable in being understood, not having to repeat yourself as frequently, and advancing in your career, but it takes time. The materials used reflect this, so if you are frustrated with the practice program or activity your instructor assigned, you can express your displeasure, but be prepared to accept that the particular program assigned is non-negotiable, or that any alternatives are equally tedious and time-consuming.

Remember, with Accent Reduction, slow-and-steady wins the race.

Much like starting a new diet and exercise routine, you may not notice results right away, and they may be so gradual that it is hard to tell if you are improving at all. But at the end of your program, when you have lost that 20 lbs, you can rest assured that those around you can see your accomplishment.

Likewise, with Accent Reduction, you may feel as if no one notices your clearer communication, but by the end of your course, your 50-80% improvement will shine through as you listen to your before and after recordings, and you should notice people understanding you better and asking you to repeat yourself much less.

If you’re still not sure if a personalized accent reduction course is right for you, contact us today at 1-865-226-9477 for a free Accent Evaluation. We’ll go over all the sounds in the English language and determine if Accent Reduction works for you.