Accent reduction may not be a type of speech training that you thought you needed, and it may have taken you looking on the Internet to know that such a thing even existed. Well, you may also be surprised to hear that this type of course is quite popular so you can find a coach and other people in the same position with their accents relatively easily!
Many non-native workers come to the UK and make a great success of their careers, however, some feel that their accent holds them back from advancing to where they want to be and have a lack of confidence. For them, accent reduction with a teacher can be a lifeline, helping them to get that confidence they need to go and reach their professional goals.
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Is Accent Reduction Help Worth It?
As we've already brushed upon, accent reduction is not a necessity for every learner of English but it certainly can be a very positive scheme for those who feel their foreign accent (or perhaps their mother tongue American accent if they are a native speaker of English residing in the US) is holding them back in any area of their life or they want a new personal challenge.
For most, this need to modify the ways they pronounce their vowels or words comes hand in hand with work, where they have a lot to gain (both financially and in confidence) by moving up in a role but it could just as well affect someone who doesn't feel settled in a social setting and wants to feel more comfortable interacting with friends.
But does it work for everyone?
Much the same as any type of training course, there are a lot of factors that contribute to a learner being successful in softening their accent and being able to change the way they pronounce their vowel sounds over time:
- How motivated they are to learn and adapt
- How easily they are able to learn and adapt (their language learning aptitude, in other words)
- How often they practice (both formally in lesson and at home)
- How long they have been speaking English (if a learner has been speaking the language for decades or had a poor coach then some word pronunciation habits will be harder to shift than a new learner who has just recently picked up and rarely used the vowels and sounds of English)
How Much Does It Cost For Accent Reduction Training?
Seeing as it isn't a standard course, taken by masses, and that it needs to be structured to individuals' needs and a number of other factors (like those listed above), it's hard to put a price on accent reduction training.
But the question is, can you really put a price on the effects that speech accent reduction can have especially if it used to make you feel so down about yourself?
You will find a range of speech training courses for native and non-native speakers on offer across the country, both at study centres and online, as well as private tutors offering their own language services. It's up to you to choose which option suits you best - some are free - but below are some examples of the different types of training on offer by talented professional and how much they cost, focusing on the London area.
Accent Reduction Training and Courses
The London School of English
The London School of English is an educational establishment offering business and professional courses. One of the classes on offer is Voice and Accent Reduction training course language, said to help clients:
- Speak with greater authority and confidence
- Reduce problems caused by an accent
- Improve individual sounds to be clearer
This training is open to absolutely anyone who needs it in order to be a successful communicator and wants to eliminate the habits that are preventing them from moving forward.
The course combines breathing and relaxation exercises, with practising tongue position and mouth muscles and involves copying sounds. Trainers will be mindful of the student's accent, rhythm, stress and intonation patterns.
The course costs approximately £80 per hour by remote session.
The Pronunciation Studio in central London offers various types of courses for those wishing to modify their accents. Learners will have the choice of either intensive courses spread over a couple or more days, however, they can also opt for a longer, weekly set up.
The groups, which can take a maximum of eight people, run for 8 weeks in the evenings or for 2 days over the weekend.
There are two-course levels available - ’45 Sounds of GB English’ and ‘Stress & Intonation’.
"Level 1 – ’45 Sounds of English’
This is about the key elements of pronunciation – how to pronounce the 45 sounds accurately, how to choose them based on their spelling and key joining rules. Here you will learn the essentials for English pronunciation – mouth positioning, articulation and spelling to sound rules.
Level 2 – Stress & Intonation
Level 2 is all about the melody of English – how to choose stress in sentences, how to use fluid rhythms, and how to use pitch to show attitude. We learn several easy techniques to make your English sound clear and confident, and to distinguish more easily the attitudes and tones of native speakers."
To give you an idea of the pricing of the various elements of this course, you will pay £250 for one level (across 8 weeks of evenings or a 2-day weekend), meanwhile, two levels will cost you £450.
A 4-day intensive, on the other hand, is £400.
City Academy, another London based educational establishment, offers a few different courses on the subject of accent reduction.
The first, for actors looking to adapt their accent in order to fit in within the industry and find work, is aimed at performers with English as their second language. The course costs £298 and is reserved for professional actors.
The second course, for any individual looking to soften their accent and speak more clearly, is an online option and comes in at £119.
Finally, the last course on our list, is Accent Softening for Business which is, as its name suggests, offered to those in a professional environment with English as a second language. This course is charged at £450.
You can find more information on all of these courses including the timetables, a breakdown of the modules and how to sign up by visiting City Academy's website.
Hire a Superprof Tutor
Alternatively, if you would like to consider other options, then why not look at hiring a private tutor from Superprof, which might be a cheaper alternative.
There are at least 280 tutors offering accent reductions classes in the London area alone (this includes remote classes), with prices ranging from as little as £10 per hour and up to £55+ (or more for very specialised individuals).
By visiting the Superprof website, you can search the directory for suitable teachers, sorting the available candidates by experience, location, years of training, level and much, much more.
Superprof includes tutors who offer face to face consultations as well as those who do lessons remotely on Skype or similar.
Below are a couple of the actual London-based tutors you might wish to hire as an example and some of their fantastic feedback!
Elifnur, £11/h, *****
"As an English student, my aim is to provide efficient lessons to those who struggle with their language skills and seek to improve their English language. I am happy to teach anyone that has a basic understanding of the language.
I will organise my lessons around my students' needs. This means that I will first identify the strengths and weaknesses of my student and create a plan according to them. I will focus particularly on grammar, spoken language skills and written and reading skills. If my student asks to be taught a particular topic, then I will base our lessons around that certain topic.
As a tutor, my aim is to provide my students with the best possible experience, in a relaxed environment where my students are comfortable and enjoy themselves, with minimal stress and effective revision. I believe being organised is extremely important in order to boost the efficiency of lessons."
"Elifnur is great at making the student feel comfortable because of her friendly tone, encouragement and ability to teach with an infectious passion. She’s very patient and so allows for you ask questions and work at your pace whilst also making me feel productive after every session. She styles her teaching to accommodate the pupil so I would highly recommend her!"
Simon, £30/h, *****
"I am a trained actor with a special passion for voice and accent coaching. I trained at the Guildford School of Acting. Because I worked very hard on my own RP I believe I can offer in-depth help, tips and tricks to improve quickly and efficiently.
I offer lessons to students of all ages and backgrounds. My method is based on my own experience with techniques introduced at Uni as well as the works of Cicely Berry and Patsy Rodenberg. I try and make my lessons as fun as possible."
"Perfect! Simon is very professional and methodological. We followed a well defined plan, which helped me progress steadily with my accent. I was surprised to see improvements from the first class."
We wish you luck with your accent reduction journey and hope that you find a course or private tutor who is able to help you reach your goals! Don't forget to put in the time and practice at home as well as with your coach so you can master those vowels and sounds and see faster results in changing your accent!
Of course, you can discover many resources to help you with accent modification.
Check out how to get started with reducing your accent!
Find out how it works and how long it takes to change your accent.