For many foreigners who travel to the U.S. in search of greener pastures, there is one perennial dilemma that often accompanies them on their journey: their foreign accent. Speaking English with a foreign accent opens a Pandora’s box to a whole host of problems, not the least of which include discrimination as far as job opportunities are concerned as well as general difficulty in being understood. Furthermore, it can be quite a blow to someone’s pride to learn that he/she simply does not speak English on the same level as a regular native speaker.
Putting pride aside however, it’s actually quite easy to see why a foreigner would have difficulty attempting to speak English like an American. Putting an American in a foreigner’s shoes, it generally takes quite a few months or even years of training and exposure to a foreign accent before the American can start speaking it as well as a native speaker. The reason for this is that the first language that we acquire during childhood usually becomes the unconscious foundation on which we acquire other languages. So if you learned Chinese as a child and only learned English in school as a teenager or an adult for example, most of the time, what you tend to do is to make use of the rhythm, intonation, and timing of Chinese while using English words, grammar and structure. What happens is that you might have good grammar as well as an excellent vocabulary, but since you speak with a distinctly foreign accent, people still cannot fully understand you whenever you speak in English.
The fact of the matter is that accent is not something that you can just magically learn nor is it something that you can instantly get rid of so that all that is left is a neutral, American Accent. The reality is that accent is actually learned even before vocabulary, grammar, and structure. Speaking with an American Accent therefore, is something that you usually acquire during early childhood even before you began to study the English language formally. Realistically, it takes around six months of accent training before you are able to speak English with an American Accent if English is not your primary language. The reason for this is because six months is just enough time for you to learn about the basics of accent and most importantly, the little things that make up the American Accent that you might not be consciously aware of at the moment.
It goes without saying therefore that if you are past the stage of early childhood, which you should be if you are reading this article right now, then you might find it hard to acquire a new accent simply by immersion or by being constantly exposed to the American Accent as it is used by native speakers. You could spend several years or even a decade in the U.S. and you might still have an accent unless you took the time to consciously get rid of your foreign accent and start speaking like an American.
Fortunately, if you are interested in learning how to speak English like an American, you don’t have to do it on your own. Nowadays, there are several accent reduction classes and seminars being hosted all over the U.S. annually. Most often, these classes were made especially for foreigners living in the U.S.
Sheri Summers, the creator and host of the American Accent Course was once a full-time, American Accent Coach herself. Sheri has lived and worked in 3 different countries and once hosted over 40 international students in her home in Seattle, Washington. She has taken the time to really study the intricacies of the American Accent as well as the problems that her students often encounter when trying to learn it.
Drawing from her vast experience in the field of American Accent Training, Sheri soon began hosting online classes and providing resource materials online in order to reach out to more people than she ever could by merely hosting classes offline. Her online programs such as the American Accent Audio Course have earned her the nickname, “The Pronunciation Queen.”
With her new program, the American Accent Course, Sheri has decided to go completely online for her American Accent Training endeavors and now caters to anyone who wishes to learn the American Accent without ever having to leave the comfort of home. The American Accent Course brings together some of the best aspects of Sheri’s previous online American Accent programs into one complete package. The American Accent Course features online classes, drills, downloadable resource materials as well as options for extended 1 on 1 coaching providing real-time critique and instruction for students who feel like they need more help with their accent. The course combine audios, videos as well as live conference calls in order to effectively teach students how to use the American Accent.
The American Accent Course was created especially for foreign professionals living in the U.S., Canada as well as other English-speaking countries. Students enrolled in the course will learn all about the different elements of accent such as pronunciation, intonation, rhythm and timing as well as voice. While the course does involve some degree of memory work, Sheri asserts that what is more important is to develop the muscle memory for the unique sounds of English and integrate them into your speech organ; thus, while you might have to actively think about where to place your tongue in order to make the American “R” at first, you will no longer have to think about it once you have practiced it a few times and are able to produce the sound at will.