FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where does an accent come from?
When you learn to speak a second language, the speech sounds of your native language influence the way you sound speaking the new language. Since the speech sounds in your native language are different from the speech sounds in English, a foreign accent is the result of the mismatch of these two different sets of sounds.
Who is a good candidate for accent modification training?
- is not a native speaker of English
- needs to repeat him/herself to be understood
- is self-conscious about their speech and contributes less to conversations than he/she would like to
- feels limited personally or professionally
How is my speech evaluated?
Prior to beginning pronunciation training at Capital Accent, every client’s speech and language are evaluated and analyzed by a licensed, accredited speech-language pathologist. We test all the sounds of English—23 consonants; 38 consonant blends and clusters, e.g. /pr, bl, sk, spl, nt, nd, ld, lf/; plus 25 vowels and diphthongs. Diphthongs are combinations of vowels that form one sound. The results of your testing help determine your exact, unique pattern of English speech sound usage. We use the information from the evaluation to determine which sounds you will work on in your course.
How are learning English and improving my pronunciation different?
English vocabulary and grammar are both able to be learned by reading and study. Many Capital Accent clients have memorized entire dictionaries in the past in preparation for English tests! Their knowledge of vocabulary and the rules of grammar is a big strength. English can be learned in large classes where participants can practice speaking with one another.
Speech is a motor skill like riding a bike, serving a tennis ball, or texting. The accurate production of speech sounds involves sequences of complex, refined muscle movements. Mouth movements are specific and require specialized instruction to learn. Since a person’s speech is so very personal, it is critical to select the right professional. Pronunciation skills are best taught in very small classes that are no larger than 4 or 5 people who have been selected to work together.
How is progress measured?
Capital Accent will provide you with pre- and post-program testing results to measure your percentage of change. We are currently averaging a 70% improvement rate.
Will I have homework?
Yes. Homework consists of listening and speaking exercises using custom, digital audio files.
Can I use a DVD to improve my speech?
Many Capital Accent clients report trying this in the past. However, without a comprehensive evaluation of your English speech sound production, you won’t know which sounds to practice. Without the feedback, there is no way for you to know whether or not you are practicing correctly. Also, teaching yourself the motor movements necessary to form new speech sounds is impossible without the feedback of an accredited speech professional.
Why choose Capital Accent?
Capital Accent is the region’s only corporate speech pathology firm specializing in accent modification training. Capital Accent is staffed by experienced, accredited speech pathologists whose combination of clinical experience and academic credentials uniquely qualify them to evaluate and teach new speech patterns.
Having an accent is not a speech disorder. There is no medical diagnosis for accents and health insurance will not cover the cost of training. Therefore, anyone, with any background, can offer “pronunciation training.”
Practicing speech-language pathologists are licensed by the state and accredited nationally by the American Speech Hearing Association. Expertise is rooted in rigorous speech-language pathology training. Capital Accent’s experience and expertise is drawn from working with a wide variety of clients plus an academic background that includes linguistics, language development, phonetics, articulation, hearing, fluency, motor speech, and swallowing. This combination makes Capital Accent the clear choice for improved clarity and better communication.