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Accent Modification Therapy

“Accent modification” or “accent reduction” therapy may be for bilingual people who speak with a foreign accent, such as a Chinese immigrant, or even for monolingual people who speak with a regional accent, such as someone from Texas or Boston, MA. Someone may have a foreign accent if they learned English at a later age. A person’s native language (L1) can influence how their spoken English (L2) sounds (i.e. someone’s accent), which also affects various aspects of speech including phonological variation, prosody, rhythm, and syllable stress (Carlson & McHenry, 2006).

Having an accent is a natural aspect of someone’s speech and no accent is better than another. However, sometimes accents can affect communication in a negative way. Everyone

speaks with an accent, but sometimes an accent that involves many deviations from the local dialect can cause decreased intelligibility for those who are listening. Listeners may try harder to understand someone in these cases. Decreased intelligibility can lead to difficulties communicating, avoidance of different social situations, and frustration at having to repeat messages. In these cases, listeners may also find an unfamiliar accent distracting (ASHA, n.d.).

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