My name is Amr Rady. I am an American Accent Acquisition Speech and Voice Coach and Instructor who has helped engineers, IT professionals, accountants, doctors and professors improve their American Accent and speak American English more clearly and confidently. I am the founder of the American Department at Harvest British College. On this blog, I will be giving some tips on how to reduce your accent. I will be giving my advice to people who want to improve their accents and will be answering your questions about how to pronounce correctly like American native speakers.
Why I am starting this blog?
I have started this blog because some, if not all, my students have difficulties in preparing for their job interviews. They are worried that they might not get hired if their accent is too strong. This is particularly true for sales positions or any kind of job that requires giving presentations or interacting with the public.
What Is Accent?
Accent is a combination of three main components: intonation (speech music), liaisons (word connections), and pronunciation (the spoken sounds of vowels, consonants, and combinations). As you go along, you will notice that you’re being asked to look at accent in a different way. You’ll also realize that the grammar you studied before and this accent you’re studying now are completely different. Part of the difference is that grammar and vocabulary are systematic and structured— the letter of the language. Accent, on the other hand, is free form, intuitive, and creative— more the spirit of the language. So, thinking of music, feeling, and flow, let your mouth relax into the American accent.
Can I Learn a New Accent?
Many people feel that after a certain age, it is just not possible. Can classical musicians play jazz? If they practice, of course they can! For your American accent, it is just a matter of learning and practicing techniques. It is up to you to use them or not. How well you do depends mainly on how open and willing you are to sounding different from the way you have sounded all your life. A very important thing you need to remember is that you can use your accent to say what you mean and how you mean it. Word stress conveys meaning through tone or feeling, which can be much more important than the actual words that you use.
Am I going to change my heritage?
Many people fear that if they work on losing their accent, that they are turning their back on their family and their native culture. Please do not let this fear keep you from doing something that you know will benefit you. No one is asking you to forget your heritage or pretend you are someone you are not. When we talk about losing or reducing your accent, we are really talking about changing those parts of your pronunciation that make your English difficult for others to understand. Most people, even after completing accent reduction classes, will still have traces of their accent in their everyday speech. Ideally, your goal is not to eliminate the accent completely, but to change the parts of it that make it difficult to understand. Ultimately, the goal should be to have the best of both worlds: an accent that sets you apart as a native of your homeland while still being completely understandable in English.