Accent Reduction Tips for Speaking Clearly
1. Slow down your speech. Practice setting the pace that is within your comfort level. Chances are very good that others will follow.
2. Are you speaking loud enough, so that others can hear you?
3. Practice makes perfect. Practicing your articulation exercises, during conversations, a few times per day is better than once a day for a long marathon practice session.
4. Know your common mispronunciation mistakes and monitor them in conversation.
5. Have fun. Remember to relax and be at ease when speaking to others. If you are tense mentally, than chances are that you will tense up physically when speaking. Take time to breathe between sentences.
6. Know what you want to say before you say it.
7. Maintain eye contact with your listener. Others will, unconsciously, observe your facial expressions and mouth movements while your speaking.
8. Don’t worry about appearing foolish or making mistakes in order to communicate with your new accent. If your not doing something different, then chances are your not learning anything new.
9. Pay attention to your intonation (up and down tones) when speaking. Make sure you change and vary your pitch patterns often.
10. Take advantage of ALL opportunities to practice.
11. Pay attention to the speech patterns of others.
12. Don’t just think about meaning, but, the basic sounds and stressing patterns.
Strategies to Improve Your Communication Skills
1. Be organized. Prepare vocabulary and new word notebooks. Have a system for monitoring mistakes and doing your homework.
2. Create opportunities to practice. Make this practice enjoyable. Go to local restaurants and stores to speak with your new accent. Practice the words softly to yourself before you have conversation with others.
3. Concentrate on communication of feeling more than on grammar and vocabulary.
4. Use mnemonics. Relate the sound to a word in your language and then tie the two words together for improved memorization.
a.) For example: a.) the Italian word for boat is “barca”. This sounds like bark in English. (A boat is made of bark=wood) This process helps you to remember the word barca.
The same way of learning American sounds can be used when you learn a new English sound.
b.) For example: the English word blue. This sound is warm and calming.
the water is blue (oo)=calming. This process helps you to remember the feeling of the sound (oo).
5. Use your listening skills. Listen to the sounds you are making. How do new sounds help you express your feelings?
6. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to take emotional risks. Make mistakes and remember and learn from them. Remember that it is important to express your feelings when speaking.
7. Get help from the context and situation. What are the possible expressive choices? Narrow your feelings down to ones that would be appropriate (naturally fit) the situation. Take expressive risks.
8. Try to use everything you have studied as frequently as possible. Don’t limit yourself to patterns and expressions that you are comfortable using.
9. Try to use different styles and rhythms of speech. Speeding up, slowing down, changing the emphasis, adding emotion. All of these activities help you to get a more natural feel for the language.