Having an accent is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but there are several reasons you may want to work on losing it. For example, you could be working on a performance in a non-native language or trying to be more easily understood. Keep in mind that losing an accent will take a lot of practice and time, so be patient during the process. Eventually, you will achieve the result you desire!
1. Practicing on Your Own & Speak slowly
Practice getting rid of your accent at least five days a week. Practice makes perfect is a common saying for a reason. You will not lose your accent unless you consciously work on doing so. Take some time out of your day five days a week to work on the accent you desire to have. You should practice at least 15 minutes, but 30 minutes to an hour is ideal.
Use your practice time wisely. Choose a specific thing you want to work on every time you practice. For example, use one day to work on rhythm.
Even native speakers are easier to understand when they speak slowly. Do not try to speak at what is considered at a “normal” pace for natives when you are working on your accent. Speak slowly and enunciate. Finish one word and pause before you start the next.
You can practice speaking slowly to your partner, a friend, family member, or even to yourself if you're nervous about speaking very slowly when out and about in daily life.
2. Practice your rhythm & Read out loud
Rhythm is about timing within a phrase or sentence. This mainly equates to where we place the strong or weak stress in a sentence. When learning a new accent, it is also important to learn where the stress is placed. Listen to native speakers to get an idea of the rhythm of the accent you're trying to accomplish.
If you're working on English, practice where the stresses are in a sentence. For example, “That's the best thing you could've done.” Say that sentence and put the emphasis on the word “best.”
Spend some time each day reading out loud in the language you're working on. Sound out each word slowly and carefully as you read. You could read the newspaper, a book, or a comic. Read whatever you like so the experience is enjoyable and productive. Saying the words in front of you out loud will help you pick up on rhythm and work on pronunciation.
3. Record yourself & Stress the correct syllables
Choose a short speech or passage from a book. If possible, choose something that you can listen to first in the accent you're trying to accomplish. Turn on a recording device, like your smartphone, and say the passage out loud. Then, play it back to yourself when you're finished. Note what you need to work on to reduce your accent.
Different languages emphasize different parts of the word. Many languages are syllable-timed, which means that every word in the sentence is the same length. English usually stresses the important words in the sentence. Learn what part of the word the language you're working on stresses when working on losing your accent.
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