How to reduce or eliminate your accent in a foreign language
Why do I know something about accent reduction? I am an American language native speaker from Boston and live in Krakow, Poland. I have taught English for many years in Poland. I have also learned Polish. However, I still have an accent. In fact I have a horrible accent. I have little time to work on it, but also maybe I am a bit lazy.
If you want to get rid of your accent it will take patience. There is nothing on the web you can read or course that will help you. I have many books on the subject and years of experience, but it comes down to this, patience.
Are some people gifted and have an ear for languages? Maybe they are or maybe they are not. You can think in such ways, just focus on your mission, I have seen people eliminate their accents.
There are two main ways to eliminate or reduce your accent in a foreign language.
Reduce your accent working with someone
Working with someone will help, as long as you focus just on accent not grammar, accent etc all at once. I actually went to a speech therapist when I was young to correct pronunciation problems. This took years. But the result is I speak perfect TV English. English with no regional accent, no New England accent. However, it is nothing special, to get better pronunciation you simply work with someone who will drill you, drill you on each letter and sound day in and day out. You the learner must repeat words over and over and then sleep on it and do it again. You need to train your brain to coordinate with your vocal cords and tongue.
Reduce your accent on your own
This is easy to do if you are patient. The technique is simple:
- Listening to an mp3 of a native speaker, perhaps from an audio book and imitate this over and over again.
- Recoding your own voice and playing it back.
- Do it for an hour a day every day for accent reduction.
Some people compare their voice to a native speaker from Youtube for example or a song, this is even better.
Using music for accent reduction is fun and helps. When I sing I have less of an accent in Polish and the rhythm of the music helps me pronounce the words.
Programs that have voice recognition and comparison software do not work well for accent reduction. They are more like toys or selling points. I have tested these with native speakers and they often give poor results and with foreigners sometimes better results.
The truth about accent reduction
There are not tricks or magic that will work on dialects reduction or accents reduction for you. The reality is if you want to reduce an accent you must listen to yourself and your brain will be able to tell you if your accent is good or not. The sit and repeat. Repeat a native speaker recoding and check this by listening to your own accent. But the most important thing is do this everyday for an hour. In about a year or two you will have reduced your foreign language accent. If you are a lazy person you will not make much progress with accent reduction.