My job description as an accent coach comes with some controversy. The term I use in my business name – Accent Reduction – has been considered by some as “insensitive” in recent years. People argue that the terminology implies that an accent needs to be minimized. Some prefer “accent modification” since it implies more of a change and less of a suppression. Still, others feel that “accent modification” is also insensitive and prefer “accent neutralization,” “accent softening,” “accent training,” “accent management” … The list goes on!
Why do I use the term “accent reduction” in my business name? Well, truth be told, it’s because I’m old and have been in this field for a long time! When I became certified as an accent trainer twenty years ago, “accent reduction” replaced the previous term, “accent elimination.” As you can see, the struggle is real to keep up with the latest, politically correct terminology.
In describing my work, I use the terms “accent modification,” “accent training,” and “accent reduction” in equal frequency. However it is labelled, the goal and the process remain the same. The goal of our online accent classes is always CLEAR and EFFECTIVE verbal communication. The process is to achieve communicational clarity by working on speech-sound production and prosodic features of a spoken language.
Are we being too woke or not woke enough? Food for thought!