Speech pathologists praise Filipinos’ English-speaking skills
The Institute of language in San Francisco has taught in hundreds of Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other Asians to improve their English pronunciation, using a unique foreign accent improvement program developed by Dr. Arthur J. Compton.
RESEARCH SHOWS FILIPINOS HAD TOP SCORES
Recent research conducted at the Institute has shown that Filipinos who have taken pronunciation courses have done exceptionally will in reducing their accents and improving their spoken English communication skills.
Compton, director and founder of the Institute of Language, has analyzed dozens of Filipinos’ speech recordings. “Our research shows that Filipino speakers improved their pronunciation of English by an average of more than sixty percent. Usually, we expect about a fifty percent improvement, but I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the high scores for our Filipino clients.” Compton points out that Filipinos are in a unique position to improve their accented English. “Unlike most other Asian immigrants, nearly all Filipinos who come to the USA. already speak English and have a fairly good command of the grammar and vocabulary which they learned in school during childhood. The primary difficulty is that their teachers also had accents which they passed on during the learning process.”
HIGH LEVEL OF MOTIVATION
“Filipinos are extremely motivated to increase their education and get ahead in their jobs. They are certainly not afraid of hard work and display an inner drive which I believe is it part of their culture and heritage. The majority comes to school because they wish to improve themselves. Often, they take evening classes leaving less personal time to spend at home with their families. Yet Filipinos seem to have an eye on the long term benefits and are well aware of the importance of improving their pronunciation and communication skills,” added Compton.
SCHOLARSHIP FOR THOSE WITH LOWER INCOME
While many if the Institute’s clients come from the managerial or professional ranks, Compton was impressed that Filipinos, even with relatively little education, enthusiastically enroll in the pronunciation programs. However, present jobs don’t reflect a person’s education and work qualifications.
“Filipinos are extremely motivated to increase their education … “
Said Compton, “Peoples’ jobs are simply a result of their English, which I feel is only a temporary state of life. It is this that began our tuition scholarship program. We believe everyone with a desire to improve deserves a chance, regardless of what their financial status of life happens to be.”
SPECIAL PRONUNCIATION COURSES
Anjali Atanacio, a Filipino executive assistant who took a 13- week accent improvement course at the Institute of Language, praised the Compton Pronuncing English as a Second Language Program (P- ESL). “I looked into many English language schools in the Bay Area, but none of them specialized in pronunciation or personalized instruction. Having learned English in the Philippines, I had no trouble communicating my ideas. Yet, people at work sometimes asked me to repeat myself. It is very frustrating when you know what you want to say but are not understood. The class helped me learn how to sound more like a native speaker, and I gained the confidence I needed to communicate effectively at work”.
Atanacio’s instructor, Jon Berton is a speech pathologist who helped her distinguish between the short vowel sound in the word “fit” and the long vowel in “feet”. Berton explained that English has many more vowel sounds than other languages. “Most Filipinos are also influenced by Spanish which has only five vowels. English has more than ten vowels, some of which are distinguished by only a slight movement of the tongue or lips. Also the “th” sound is unique to English. Filipinos typically substitute the “d” for the “the” sound as in the word “this”.
DEVELOPING THE METHOD
Dr. Compton developed the “Compton P-ESL” accent improvement program to aid foreign-born speakers with the difficult sounds of English.
While doing research on children’s speech patterns over ten years ago, Compton met two University of San Francisco students. They were skilled in written English but were often misunderstood when they spoke. He diagrammed their speech patterns and prepared special practice materials based on Phonetic techniques he developed with children. Since then, he has analyzed the speech patterns of over 65 different languages including Tagalog. “We have worked with more than 2,000 clients. “Often the information from the speech assessments is used for research such as our latest study of Filipino speakers.”
Individuals interested in participating in an Accent Reduction Program Online, may contact the Accent Reduction & Training Association.
Individuals interested in participating in an Accent Reduction Program Online, may contact the Accent Reduction Training Association at 877-4-0-ACCENT.