Accent modification is designed for people who have an accent when speaking English. An accent is a result of someone's first language(s) impacting their pronunciation of sounds and syllable/word stress in English. An accent is not a reflection of a person's intellect, their proficiency with the English language, and in many cases, does not impact whether an unfamiliar listener understands them. However, many adults still choose to undergo accent modification because they want their accent to be less apparent, or because people are frequently asking them to repeat themselves and they feel it is impacting them on a personal or professional level.
An accent arises because not all sounds are present in all languages. As a result, a sound in English would be replaced by a sound common in another language that is "close" to the English sound. For example, many languages do not have the sound "th" as in the word "thin" or "then." In those cases, "th" is often replaced with another sound so a listener may hear "tin" or "sin" for "thin" and "den" or "zen" for "then." As you can see by this example, sometimes that simple sound replacement results in a completely different English word being produced.
Both consonants and vowels can be impacted by an accent, and at TASC a speech-language pathologist will perform a brief assessment of an accent to determine the best course of treatment based on the different sounds being substituted. Accent modification is not usually targeted at removing an accent, but is aimed at making it easier for a listener to understand what is being said. Adult clients often report they do not mind their accent, but get frustrated when co-workers or friends are continuously asking them to repeat themselves. Furthermore, speech therapy is covered under most insurance plans and in many cases is seen by clients as an opportunity for professional development. You can read more about TASC's philosophy on accent modification here.
Contact TASC today to see how we might be able to help you modify your accent and improve the clarity of your speech.