Author: Ela Britchkow, Speech and Language Pathologist, Accent Reduction Specialist
"If I had 9 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first six hours sharpening my ax. "
As a native Slavic speaker, you may tend to not move your mouth when speaking English as much as American English speakers do. Your jaws, lips and teeth are more clenched and tense. Americans move their lips quite a bit when speaking. I will teach you how to move your mouth correctly to pronounce specific sounds and how to improve your speech.
In order to be able to open your mouth your lips, tongue and jaws more, you will need to relax them. Here are a few exercises that will definitely improve your speech.
Speaking rate is an important part of speaking effectively.
Slowing down your speaking rate may be a focus in your accent reduction program, not necessarily because you speak too quickly, but to help give you time to pronounce sounds more clearly. After you have done the above exercises, your mouth, tongue, lips and jaws will be more relaxed to produce the sounds you need. Now that you know how to do diaphragmatic breathing use it to your advantage.
If you are reading, stop and take a breath at the end of a sentence and wherever there is a comma. If you are presenting or having a conversation, stop at the end of a thought group or after 4-5 words and take a new breath before you continue.
If you think you need to rush through what you have to say because you have a great deal of information to share, you are fooling yourself. People will not be able to understand you. When you pair an accent with a rapid rate of speech, the combination, although not deadly, can be detrimental. People frequently will not interrupt a presenter to say they didn’t understand because they are too polite.
tudies have shown that listeners will start to tune out a speaker with an accent or be forced to listen very carefully which takes a great deal more effort. After a while they will choose not to listen to you.
The above relaxation and breathing techniques are actually very effective for all speakers, but especially effective for people with rapid accented speech.
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By Ela Britchkow, Speech and Language Pathologist
©2017 Ela Britchkow