How to Reduce Your Accent
Everyone has an accent – and sometimes they are very charming – but they can cause problems. One of the barriers to communicating effectively in English is your accent. Reducing your accent will help you to be understood more easily and increase your confidence. Here are some ideas and tips which will help you sound more like a native English speaker.
First of all, you need to decide what kind of English accent you want. For native speakers there are very big differences between English speaking countries (and even the regions within them). An Australian accent sounds unusual in the UK, for example. They are all easily understood, but you have the benefit of being able to choose what accent to focus on depending on where you will be speaking the most English.
When you choose your accent, take some time to learn the correct vocabulary for that accent. For example, English people rarely say “sidewalk”, “trash” or “rest room”. They say “pavement”, “rubbish” and “bathroom”. The vocabulary used in different countries can vary a lot, but there are lots of resources available online to help you learn it.
Secondly, it is really important to listen and watch as much material in your chosen accent as possible. I know every website in the world tells you to do this, but that is because it is an effective way to pick up vocabulary and learn the patterns that make up an accent. If you can’t find TV shows and movies in your chosen accent, then look on YouTube. There are millions of videos from all over the English speaking world there and you can hear all kinds of accents.
Thirdly, speak out loud. Even if you are alone in your house it is useful to speak out loud. When you try to speak you will hear many of the differences and mistakes you make. Some people also record themselves and then listen to the audio to compare it to a native speaker.
Lastly, nothing will help you more than talking with native speakers. This can be difficult if you live in a non-English speaking country. Obviously, you can book lessons and conversation classes online. I feel these are very useful as they allow you to practise with a native speaker on Skype. You can ask questions and you can discuss something you are comforatble with. In many cities there are also language exchange groups and many other places that you can meet English speakers. There is a great website called https://www.meetup.com/ which has details of many events like this.