How Important Is Feedback for Accent Reduction?
About once a month someone contacts me and says
Susan, I’ve been studying the American accent on my own for some time now. But it’s hard for me to tell if I’m improving. I think I need some coaching and personal feedback.
It’s all about effective communication
If you’ve been studying the American accent on your own, I’m impressed.
You already understand that the American accent will help you in your career.
Understanding the communication preferences of the people you do business with is important, right?
Of course, good communication skills will always help you connect with others and get things done!
Can you improve your American accent without feedback?
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of coaching hundreds of international professionals on how to communicate with an American accent.
They needed someone to listen to them.
They needed someone to give them productive critical feedback.
And as I said, many of these career minded people studied on their own before contacting me for help.
So how much did they improve?
Understanding vs. application
The majority of these people were able to learn about many important features of the American accent on their own.
- Most of them understood the key concept of syllable stress and schwa.
- Most of them understood the importance of intonation.
- Most of them understood which vowel & consonant sounds were challenging for them.
But, since they’d never received detailed personal feedback on their speech, they hadn’t applied what they’d learned.
They hadn’t made the noticeable changes that they were after.
Research on the Need for Feedback
Studies have found that feedback is essential as we train our brains to hear new sounds.
When we get guidance on what to listen for and direct feedback on our speech, we can begin to produce new sounds and patterns more accurately.
This article from Scientific American, titled Teach Old Ears New Tricks explains some fascinating research on language learning and the need for immediate feedback. Follow the link below to read it.
Get personal feedback on your American accent
If you’re ready to get detailed feedback on what you can do to communicate more effectively with North Americans, see how an Accent Assessment will benefit you.
This very customized assessment includes a 60 minute Skype session where you’ll get valuable, personal feedback.
About the author
Susan Ryan is an accent reduction coach. Contact her with your questions about clear American speech.