Talaera Talks - Business English Communication

85. Reduce Your Accent in English... Or Not!

February 21, 2023 Talaera Business English Communications Training Episode 85
Talaera Talks - Business English Communication
85. Reduce Your Accent in English... Or Not!
Show Notes Transcript

What do Arnold Schwarzenegger and accent reduction have in common? Spoiler: your goal should not be to get rid of your accent but to be clear. Listen to Arnold's story and get some great tips to reduce your accent in English... or not!

Get all the tips on our blog: https://blog.talaera.com/reduce-accent-english

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Simon Kennell  0:00  
Welcome back, everyone for another episode of Talaera Talks. My name is Simon. And as always, I hope you're having a great day. 

Simon Kennell  0:11  
For today's Talaera Bit, we're gonna be talking about a topic that can be a little controversial. And I kind of want to start it off by telling you a little story about one of my favorite actors. You may have heard of him. His name is Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator. So I know what you're thinking like, where's Simon going with this? Arnold Schwarzenegger, originally from Austria moved to the United States and was a bodybuilder for many years and won all of these great competitions and bodybuilding including the Mr. Olympia competition multiple times. Right. So he was this the best bodybuilder, had a very thick, Austrian accent. And he wanted to get into film. So he actually had a first film called Hercules in New York. And apparently, it was just a total disaster, the film did really poorly. And right away, he realized that one of the big reasons for this was his English in the in the film wasn't good. And they actually had to use a voiceover actor on on in several scenes. So what did he do? He decided he needed to really focus on his English and pronunciation because of his thick accent. So he started practicing, working with an English coach for five hours a day. And he as well went and worked with an accent reduction coach. Now, this is where it gets interesting. In several interviews, he's talked about the role of going to this accent reduction coach and the role that this played in his career. And he's been very forward that the objective his The reason he went to go get to this action reduction coach was not to get rid of his accent. The goal was to speak so everyone understands you. This is what he said. The trick is to learn how to enunciate, and how to communicate clearly. That action -accent reduction guy should give me my money back, he said, because the accent, it turned out, turned out to be one of his greatest assets. It got him several roles, including the one that he's maybe the most famous for -Terminator. They chose him because of his accent. But his goal and going to these accent reduction classes was to not get rid of the accent, but to improve his clarity and to improve the pronunciation. So, Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the most famous actors in the world has an accent. But he became a politician, he became the governor of California. He's spoken in front of millions of people, and everybody understands him. Because he communicates clearly. 

Simon Kennell  3:43  
So is our goal to remove your accent? No, our goal isn't to remove your accent or to reduce your accent. The goal is to improve your clarity and to improve your pronunciation. So the goal is for everyone to understand you your accent, in many situations, will help make you stand out in a positive way. As long as you can improve your clarity, clarity and pronunciation. As long as people clearly understand what you're saying, then you're there, your accent is a definer it can be a definer of who you are, if you like Arnold, you know, take that move to make it become that. 

Simon Kennell  4:32  
So what can we do to improve our clarity and pronunciation? Well, again, like we said, we don't want to eliminate your accent, right? The focus and the goal is always about communicating clearly. 

Simon Kennell  4:45  
So number one is to slow down and enunciate your words right. Take your time. Many of the challenges that people have when they start to improve their language level is they want I like to speak really fast, they want to speak very fast, because then that means that I'm fluent. And then that makes me feel like I'm a more effective communicator. But slow it down a little bit. Now, it may be difficult because you're, you've made all these improvements in your English. Slowing down, helps make sure that people understand your meaning, which is the most important thing. 

Simon Kennell  5:26  
Now, one practical thing you can do to practice this every day is to listen to an audio book while reading the book. And you want to read out loud, so listening to the audiobook, while reading. This will make sure that you're going with the flow, right, you're feeling the rhythm while you learn the English, you're learning a lot of new vocabulary words. But you want to while you're listening to the to the tape or to the audio book, you want to mouth out the words. So it means you're not actually speaking the words, but you're just you're training your mouth to feel how the words feel in your mouth. Right? It sounds a little bit odd. But this can actually get a really, really good practice for your pronunciation when you actually start to speak them out loud. 

Simon Kennell  6:20  
Now, once you've listened to the audiobook section, and you can just listen to two pages, for example, while you know while reading, then you want to try yourself to read that section out loud by yourself. Okay? Read slowly, again, don't rush, we want to take our time. Read slowly, familiarize yourself. And again, think about that flow that you just listened to. You want to if you can record yourself speaking or record yourself reading, and this is going to give you a great opportunity to see what are those sounds that I have difficulty with? 

Simon Kennell  7:02  
You can compare that, that sound together with the audiobook version and see what were the differences? What's the difference in the flow? What's the difference? On the specific sounds? Am I using the TH sound correctly? Right? Am I using the L sound correctly does my L sound like a real or an actual L? Right? These are the small little sounds that we want to look for. Okay, you can find a lot of great videos on YouTube telera pronunciation on YouTube that you can find that will help walk you through how to actually use the mechanics of your mouth to make these sounds correctly. 

Simon Kennell  7:43  
If you can hire a language tutor or coach to help you, this can be very helpful. And again, we don't want to eliminate or remove our accent. That's not the goal. The goal is clarity here, right making sure that the pronunciation the rhythm the fluency is is really improving so that people can understand our meaning. 

Simon Kennell  8:09  
Getting feedback from your colleagues is a great way. You know, many times you can kind of if you if you find a colleague or someone that you know and you really like the way that they communicate, you like their accent, you can try to mimic a little bit, copy it, it's okay, you can try to copy some of the ways that they say things and their tone and how they do things. And this will definitely if you do that, this will help you kind of increase that clarity in your speech as well. 

Simon Kennell  8:42  
Okay, so I just gave you a bunch of tips, practical tips on how to improve your pronunciation and clarity when speaking. Now, just like Arnold, you want to make sure that the goal is making everybody understand you right. The trick is to learn how to enunciate, speak so that everybody understands you. Now, just like we do with all the other episodes, you want to take these tips, go through, practice them, see what you can use, right, a little bit of practice every day, we'll help you out. And as always, keep learning.

Paola Pascual  9:24  
And that's all we have for you today. We hope you enjoyed it. And remember to subscribe to Talaera Talks. We'll be back soon with more.

Simon Kennell  9:35  
And visit our website at talaera.com for more valuable content on business English. You can also request a free consultation on the best ways for you and your team to improve your communication skills. So have a great day and keep learning!