My Little English Corner

A new accent is an adventure. Be bold! Exaggerate wildly!

Funny that you asked

(2013-05-19 15:07:59) 下一个
I came to this forum about 2 years ago to work on my pronunciation. I had the good fortune of being helped by 小千 and many others, in addition to attending some private or group accent reduction classes (I can elaborate on them later if you are interested).


Now more than two years has passed. When I saw your question just now, I couldn't help thinking about my encounter with a much younger guy(let's call him Sam for now) who is now living in China and hasn't been to the US at all. The funny thing is yesterday I came across an article of his written in Chinese on He also started working on American Accent about 2 years ago. The article was very interesting to me and also he is currently reading some books that are on my reading list. So I added him in wechat and we actually struct up a conversation yesterday. As soon as Sam found out that I am in the US, he started saying it is not necessary for me to work on my accent. Well, for me, it is really not necessity that I am after. Just like other people who are into shoes or handbags and buy them at very high prices, it was not for necessity. It was more of a luxury or obsession.  Accent has become an obsession for me. I hope someday I could let go of this obsession. I don't know when and whatever my next obsession will be, but that has to be something really engrosses me. 

Anyway, coming back to your question, I think the first thing you want to do is know where you stand, evaluate what you really want to achieve in this process and how much time and efforts you want to put into. 

1. where you stand. If, I assume,  you have taken TOEFL/GRE and are communicating in English pretty effectively, you might only need to work on some difficult sounds and stress patterns. I would recommend American Accent Training book and CDs or seek help from an accent reduction specialist to give you a diagnosis as to what part of American Accent you need to work on. 

2. what you want to achive: Just like in my conversation with Sam, he thinks it's not necessary for me to work on my accent. If you can get by with your current pronunciation and maybe it is not necessary for you either. After working on some difficult sounds for a couple of months, you might see a big improvement and at that point, you might want to consider whether you want to pursue any further after that. Like a lot of friends in this forum, they stopped being active, either they gave up on the accent reduction thing, or they found something better to do. But if your goal is loftier than just getting by and if you want to be a public speaker, to be persuasive in your job, to make a career out of speaking, or you just plainly want to have an appealing voice, like I do sometimes, then you would probably need to take more steps than that. 

3. how much time and efforts. When I was talking to Sam, the first thing he mentioned was, well, it takes time. He wasn't the only person that has told me that. I personally think there might be some efficient ways of doing it, but there is no shortcut. Sam continued to say that it is also about talent. He is talented at mimicing other people, which I am not good at. He said when he started 2 years ago, he wasn't even sure how to spell "already"(I am not totally sure about his background), but now he was reading Jane Austin's Sense and Sensiblity and he doesn't care so much about accent because he uses Chinese 90% of the time. I was impressed by his fast progress and he said you need to use full concentration of your power. It's an interesting statement and we didn't carry on the chat after that since it was pretty late here. But my understanding is that he was talking about efforts and how much energy you want to put into it. 

Another thing is study method. Some people are very self-disciplined and talented too. They hear the subtle differences pretty easily and can self-correct/self-police very well. Some others, like me, get distracted very easily and need help from accent reduction classes or other people's help. In one class I attended, there was a Japanese girl who had taken the class 3 times already and still stayed in that class. I was amazed: it was a lot of money! But she sounds very well now! So it's up to you to find a study method that fits you the best.

Best of luck with your new journey!

[ 打印 ]
阅读 ()评论 (0)