Accent Reduction is a controversial subject. Some people believe that having an accent reflects one’s cultural and ethnic heritage and that by changing it we are being untrue or disrespectful to our ancestors or countries of origin. Accents can also be pleasant to listen to and can add “flair” or “allure” to the individual. Imagine a massage therapist with a Hungarian accent or a scientist with a German accent. The fact remains that people stereotype others and make judgments based on accent, whether positive or negative.
Many non-native speakers of American English choose to change their accents in order to communicate more clearly and confidently. This may enable them to get a job or promotion, establish rapport in sales relationships outside their ethnic group, excel in school, or merely feel more comfortable in meetings, presentations, and conversations. The problem is finding a way to do this quickly and effectively. In many cases, students take classes where they do not receive the individualized attention and focused error correction necessary to make noticeable progress in a short time.
Rebecca Linquist offers a viable alternative. She is dedicated to supporting non-native speakers in transitioning from speaking with a noticeable accent to speaking clearly and effectively with patterns characteristic of a native speaker of American English. She does this by first analyzing the individual’s speech linguistically so that learners don’t waste time on exercises that they don’t need. She puts together a plan of action, and in 10 weeks, participants make considerable changes in their speaking that yield results and improve their lives.
Suzie Ushijima, a Korean business woman and client of Rebecca Linquist, contends that “It was so frustrating to have to repeat over and over again. I had taken many English classes, but I still had an accent. With one-on-one sessions that taught me to change the patterns I use, I began to make progress. Now people understand me the first time.”
Rebecca works one-on-one with clients, providing the combined knowledge and skills of applied linguistics and speech therapy. She customizes the sessions to match the needs and abilities of each client, allowing the person to make progress quickly, doing little or no homework, other than listening to their recorded speech and doing behavioral change exercises. Her techniques create transformational change through an eclectic blend of techniques that enables clients to reduce their accents in a two month period.
Appearances matter—how we present ourselves through speech is part of our appearance. Non-native speakers who hire a coach to help reduce their accents find that language is no longer an insurmountable obstacle.