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Why do people speak with an accent?

What is an accent?  Accent refers to differences we notice in how people speak.  We usually think of pronunciation differences, but differences in sentence structure, vocabulary, and idioms may also contribute to the impression of a person’s accent.

Even among native speakers of a language, we notice differences.  Sometimes, these variations are based on geographic regions, social class, or ethnicity.  Native speakers of a language that come from the same region, social class, and ethnic group tend to have more contact and communication with each other.  As a result, they have similar accents.  

What happens when we learn a second or third language?  We often speak our new language with a noticeable accent…even after we become fluent.  We may continue to make some grammatical errors in the second language.  In addition, we may use pronunciation features from our first language in our new language.  Listeners hear an “accent.”  With a strong accent, we may even be difficult to understand.  

If English is your second language, here are 3 tips to improve your accent:

  1.  Try to improve your mastery of English grammar.
  2. Make a list of words that you use frequently in your professional or social life.  Get help with these words.  You can even listen to the correct pronunciations with dictionary software on the internet.
  3. Modify your overall English pronunciation patterns. Consider a training program. Confident Speech specializes in accent training. 

If you would like to improve your accent, pronunciation, and voice, Confident Speech can help. This is our specialty! For more information about our training programs, explore our web site or contact us.