Every language has its own sound system and intonation patterns which makes it unique. Learning a new language means incorporating new sounds, new intonation patterns, grammar rules, as well as other skills, so that you can become an effective communicator.
Being from a Japanese background, there are several differences between how you currently speak English and standard American English. Some of these differences may not significantly impact your ability to be understood by Americans, while others may make a tremendous difference in your speech.
The areas listed below are a few examples of general areas your accent reduction program may include.Other areas not included in this list may also be addressed, depending on your particular needs.
1. You will most likely be working on reducing your speaking rate, as Japanese speakers tend to speak English quickly.Speaking at an appropriate speaking rate helps give you time to organize your thoughts, pronounce sounds more clearly, and make other corrections in your speech.Even if you don’t naturally speak too quickly, you may want to consider slowing down your speaking rate to make your speech easier to understand. Speaking Your Best will teach you how to reduce your speaking rate and show you how to maintain an appropriate rate when speaking English.This will be a very important part of your program.
2. There are several sounds in American English that you naturally have difficulty pronouncing.This is because you say them differently in your native language.In addition, you just don’t have some of these sounds in Japanese.Some of the most difficult sounds to pronounce may be the “l” and “r” sounds. Speaking Your Best will evaluate your speech to identify the sounds that need to be addressed and design your program based on your specific needs. Once you learn the sounds that impact your spoken English most, you will find that this reduces your accent significantly. These are the sounds Speaking Your Best will teach you first.
3. As an Japanese speaker, you tend to use a flatter pitch when speaking.Your speech doesn’t have the up and down “song” that is customary in American English.Because your stressing and intonation patterns are different, Americans may have difficulty understanding your speech.A very important part of your program may be learning how to make your pitch go up and down in the correct way so that you can “sing” in English. 4. There may be some minor grammar issues that you will want to focus on during your accent reduction program.Because Speaking Your Best customizes each program, we will determine your current level of grammar proficiency and work with you to develop those parts of speech specific to your needs.
5. You may naturally pronounce vowels quickly and separate your words slightly when speaking.This creates what we call “choppy” speech.In American English, we like to connect our words, only pausing at appropriate places.Speaking Your Best will show you the speaking techniques you need in order to create smoother speech.
Accent reduction courses with Speaking Your Best are customized to meet the specific needs you have and are designed to help you become an effective communicator in all speaking situations.Contact us today and learn how you can be a success by speaking your best!