There exist many misconceptions about accents and accent training. In this article, I will bust some frequently-encountered myths.
Myth #1 – It’s difficult/impossible to change my accent
Have you been trying to improve your English pronunciation and accent by scrolling through endless YouTube “tutorials”? Perhaps you’ve taken some online courses, such as Udemy, or even lessons from an English teacher, but have YET to see a significant change? If so, then you may be a believer that accent modification is difficult.
Wrong. The truth is, with the right techniques and expert guidance from a qualified professional, and with only 15 minutes of practice per day, you’d be surprised at how quickly you improve! I always tell my clients that if you do what I ask you to do using the materials I provide for you, accent change is not only possible but inevitable.
For more information on how accent training works, refer to this article.
Myth #2: If I work hard enough, I can sound like a native speaker
While it’s not impossible to achieve a native-like accent, this is… unlikely. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. For reasons why, refer to this article.
The goal of accent training is not to eliminate your accent, but rather to improve the accuracy and naturalness of your oral English, to become clear and effective communicators, and to become confident speakers.
Myth #3 – I’m too old to change my accent
Can’t teach an old dog new tricks? False. Anyone at any age can learn new skills, including modifying your accent. It is true that children’s brain is more malleable and capable of new learning than the typical adult brain. However, there is now extensive empirical evidence demonstrating that neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to form new neuropathways – occurs throughout our lifespan. These functional and structural brain alterations occur in a similar manner in young and older adults.
Myth #4: Modifying my accent will disconnect me from my cultural/ethnic background
False. Your accent signals to people your unique cultural, linguistic, and geographic background, and can be part of one’s self-identity.
As a result of accent training, the influence of your native language on your oral English may lessen, but the likelihood of you completely losing your accent is small (see myth #3 above). Your ability to speak in your native tongue will always be with you, even if you don’t use it for a prolonged period of time.
No one can eradicate your roots, your background, or your ethnicity. To think that a mere change in English accent can accomplish this feat is, in my humble opinion, giving your accent too much credit and giving your self-identity too little credit.
Myth #5: Accent training is only for non-native speakers
False. Native speakers also have accents. There are countless native English accents. An accent simply tells people where you’re from and (sometimes) your socio-economic status.
In fact, many native English speakers seek accent training classes.
Everyone has an accent. Everyone has their (valid) reasons for wanting or not wanting to modify their accent.
Interested in knowing more? Contact me for a complimentary consultation, and find out how I can help you become a clear and confident speaker.