Your accent plays an important role in your sense of identity. It may be a reminder of home or of overseas relatives. Typically, it is not until you move to a different place that you notice your accent. For some, having a different accent can make it extremely difficult to be understood by others. If speaking or communicating with others is a key component of your profession or if your accent is limiting your social life it may be worth investigating accent modification.
How speech pathology can assist accent change
What is an accent?
- An accent is the distinctive way that people who speak the same language sound.
- Accents vary based on the following features:
- Consonant and vowel sounds
- Pitch and intonation (rise and fall of pitch)
- Speech rate
- Stress pattern
1 Behrman, A. (2014). Segmental and Prosodic Approaches to Accent Management. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 23(4), 546. doi:10.1044/2014_AJSLP-13-0074. https://ajslp.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=1852225. Accessed 11 Jan. 2019.
2 Derwing, T. M., & Munro, M. J. (2009). Putting accent in its place: Rethinking obstacles to communication. Language Teaching, 42(4), 476-490. doi:10.1017/S026144480800551X, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tracey_Derwing/publication/231831876-Putting-accent-in-its-place-Rethinking-obstacles-to-communication/links/0a85e53bdfd6ca6817000000/Putting-accent-in-its-place-Rethinking-obstacles-to-communication.pdf. Accessed 11 Jan. 2019.
3 Study to evaluate the efficacy of communication training in accent modification for international health care professionals. (2012). Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology, 114(5), e59-e59. doi:10.1016/j.oooo.2012.09.040 https://www.oooojournal.net/article/S2212-4403(12)01576-3/abstract. Accessed 11 Jan. 2019.
5 Trimming, A. R. (2016) The effect of foreign accent on employability: a study … – SAGE Journals. Volume: 31 issue: 3, page(s): 409-428. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0950017016630260. Accessed 15 Jan. 2019.
6 Carlson, H. K. and McHenry, M. A. (2006), Effect of accent and dialect on employability. Journal of Employment Counseling, 43: 70–83. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ750068. Accessed 15 Jan. 2019.
7 Ahmed, Z. T., Abdullah, A. N., Heng, C. S. (2013), The Role of Accent and Ethnicity in the Professional and academic context. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature. http://www.journals.aiac.org.au/index.php/IJALEL/article/view/1020. Accessed 15 Jan. 2019.
8 Brady, K. W., Duewer, N., & King, A. M. (2016). The effectiveness of a multimodal vowel-targeted intervention in accent modification. Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders, 43, 23. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318543138-The-effectiveness-of-a-multi-modal_vowel-targeted-intervention-in-accent-modification. Accessed 11 Jan. 2019.
- Carlson, H. K. and McHenry, M. A. (2006), Effect of accent and dialect on employability. Journal of Employment Counseling, 43: 70–83.
- Chakraborty, R., Domsch, C., & Gonzales, M.D. (2011). Articulatory Behaviors Of Nonnative Speakers: Role Of L2 Proficiency And Accent Modification. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 113(1), 311-330.
- Deprez-Sims, A., & Morris, S. B. (2010). Accents in the workplace: Their effects during a job interview. International Journal Of Psychology, 45(6), 417-426.
- Hill, S., & Tombs, A. (2011). The effect of accent of service employee on customer service evaluation. Managing Service Quality, 21(6), 649-666.
- Kerr, J. O. A. N. (2000). Articulatory setting and voice production: Issues in accent modification. Prospect- Adelaide–, 15(2), 4-15.
- Khurana, P., & Edgar, H. (2013). Efficacy of Accent Modification Training for International Medical Professionals. Journal Of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 10(2), 1-11.
- Morley, A. (1999). Getting stressed about accents: a response to Alison Kimble (1999). Why the word ‘accent’ is a hot potato. ACQ: Issues In Language, Speech And Hearing, 1(2), 34.
- Shah, A. P. (2012). Helping clients choose a voice: ideally, individuals seek accent modification services because they want to decrease attention to their accent and improve their communication abilities. A framework to guide clients in determining their accent modification needs can be useful. ASHA Leader, (3). 32.