Are you one of the many people who would like to lose your accent? Many people come to me with the same question - can you help me lose my accent? To be fair, most of these people don't want to lose their accent completely but they do want to tone it down a bit.
Sometimes it's because they feel that their work colleagues can't understand them quickly enough and they get fed up of repeating themselves. As one of my students recently said, "I speak as clearly as I can so all I can do when they ask me to repeat what I've just said is to say the same but louder!".
Sometimes, people can be understood but they get embarrassed by their accent. Another student said he was fed up of people thinking he came from Wales when, infact he came from Dorset, another, from the west country was fed up of people assuming he was uneducated when infact he had two degrees!
The trouble most people who do not have English as a first language have is that the vowel sounds in English can be long or short and some are comprised of two sounds. The 'oh' sound creates a lot of problems and it often sounds like the vowel sound in 'not' instead of the vowel sound in 'oak' so that 'road' and 'rod' can easily sound the same.
Two other vowel sounds that get confused are the sounds in 'sit' and 'seat' so again they can easily sound the same as each other. One is a short sound and the 'ee' is a longer sound.
English also has the 'th' sound that is unfamiliar to a lot of people and you need to put your tongue through your teeth before you want to make the 'th' sound.
English is a stress language and not a syllable based language so speakers of other languages can often sound a bit disjointed.
A course of elocution lessons can always help the forming of vowel and consonant sounds for both regional and foreign accents.
Regional accents usually need work on vowel sounds and inflection.
Obviously some people find it easier to alter their accent than others - this depends on many factors.
How long have you spoken with that accent?
Do you mix with other people who still have that accent?
How hard are you prepared to work?
To what degree do you want to change the accent - do you want it to disappear completely or just modify it a bit?
If you think of a little old lady dressed in a Tweed suit talking rather 'posh' when you hear the words 'elocution teacher' think again!
I live in jeans, laugh a lot and have a hint of a Dorset accent when not teaching but I am passionate about my work and am incredibly serious (with a smile) when it comes to teaching my pupils to speak clearly.
You won't be able to lose your accent overnight. Sometimes people can hear a difference in as little as two sessions but the process can take longer and results vary from person to person depending upon the accent in question. If English is your second language, it will depend on how heavy your accent is. Lots of patience is required during this process
There are two ways to have lessons.
1. I teach in Chaos, Ferreira Do Zezere. These sessions can be anytime between 6 am and 8 pm, Saturdays, Mondays or Tuesdays.
The cost is 15 euros for a 45 minute lesson or 5 lessons for 50 euros.
2. I also teach via webcam/Skype so I can teach anyone no matter where they live in the world.
For more details about webcam lessons click here.
If you can't get to me for a lesson you can buy my dvd which covers all the basics.