Can I Lose My Regional Accent
Can I Lose My Regional Accent
The short answer is yes. American English, although one language, is spoken differently across the country. During the early settlement, different communication patterns for American English were being established known as dialects. If fact, when settlers were first establishing their lives, different dialects could be detected about every 50 miles across the United States.
Standard American English is defined that when spoken, a listener cannot identify the origin or place of the speaker. This is because the speech pattern is from a “standard” or generic model. News and sports broadcasters are good examples of standard American Speech.
The United States has many different types of dialects from the states of Maine, New York, southern states or Texas, to name a few. Anyone can learn to communicate in a more standard model. The major differences are how resonance, voice and intonation are used.
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Resonance has to do with where the voice is “placed.” Standard American resonance is placed in the center of the mouth cavity. Some southern speaker’s place their voice higher resulting in nasal resonance. Some speakers from back east such as New York or Massachusetts place their voices lower in their throats creating pharyngeal resonance. Learning to speak with more oral resonance is required for speaking with less of a regional accent or dialect.
Intonation is the rhythm and melody for speech and it is cultural within the United States. There is a specific intonation pattern for standard American and business intonation. It is spoken with deliberate pitch patterns that move up and down. Vowel sounds should be said flat without a rise in pitch as seen in southern speakers. Vowel sounds should also be said with ease and not involve over punching of sounds from the back of the throat which can be observed with speakers from the eastern region of the United States. Often with regional accents, some vowel sounds are pronounced outside of the Standard America Speech Model which can be corrected with intonation and some instruction.
When it comes to voice, speech therapists like to describe voice in two categories, habitual and optimal pitch. Habitual pitch is your voice as you know it. It is your normal or social voice. You talk and go and never think about the sound quality. Optimal voice is the place in your lower throat where your voice functions at its best to deliver tones that are stronger and more powerful. Optimal or your best voice is physiology. It is a specific place in your lower throat where your vocal folds are at its best position for talking.
Voice is influenced culturally across the county. Behaviors for how voice is used comes from different areas of the United States. Often a habitual voice can be described as thinner, higher and more nasal. For many people, there is a gap between the habitual and optimal voice placement. Individuals with a regional accent can learn how to speak from their optimal voice and reduce that regional accent.
You can reduce your regional accent with good training. There must be a willingness to change how you are currently talking. There must be a willingness to change your intonation speaking pattern, voice and resonance and have instruction with some vowel sounds.Call Us for a Complimentary Consultation
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