Triangle Speech Services Logo 600 dpiCommunication Matters

Accent Modification:  A Process,
Not an Event!

Novem ber 2017 
Issue #111

 Triangle Speech Services is the private, professional practice of Judith L. Bergman, a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) who specializes in foreign accent and regional dialect modification and related communication skills. I offer customized, individual tutorials to corporate-sponsored and self-enrolled individuals who speak English fluently but with moderate to severe accents that create challenges and frustrations in the workplace.  
  If you click on the logo above, you will be on our website. There is a video on the bottom of the home page and three more on the page titled "About Accents." These are edited from a raw video of an invited talk I gave in 2012 at a Toast Master's meeting in Raleigh, NC. I thought my audience would include many individuals who spoke with foreign accents. It turns out that there was only ONE person in this large group who was not a native speaker of American English. He came from India and his native language was Bengali.  The person who invited me had believed that this thirty-minute talk about accents would fix this person's speech!!  The event resulted in four very good teaching videos. The native speaker of Bengali may still be speaking with his very severe accent today!  
Let Common Sense Triumph!
   Watching a soccer match on television can be a lot of fun but not a way to actually learn how to play. If you played soccer as a child or if your own children are on a soccer team in their school, you KNOW that  learning to play requires many, many hours, days and months of practice.  Knowing about how to play soccer well and actually being in a soccer game are two completely different skill sets. Only with repeated practice, with feedback from a coach and maybe even with extra, casual neighborhood games, will one's muscle memory, one's body and instincts "kick in" and automatically "make the right moves" in a competitive game.  "Of course," you say, "That's common sense." 
Modifying Your Accent is Like Learning to Play Soccer 
JB Teaching How To Pronounce
  This picture is of me (taken several years ago)  decoding the word "cellular" for a client who is a scientist. I am using the International Phonetic Alphabet with intonation (stress) coding but the client then has to listen and repeat over and over in practice and in real conversation to internalize the acoustic (sound) pattern and the movement pattern of this word. Teaching is like having a soccer coach draw a diagram to enable the team to plan their play. Then the team has to go out and execute and refine and correct  their techniques on the field.
  In a formal training program, after an initial phone consult and Information Session are conducted, we then evaluate, transcribe and analyze the individual's accent features and develop an individualized curriculum plan. We work only with a few carefully selected, highly motivated individuals in individual sessions, that is, all instruction is one-to-one. Accent modification is not a "team" sport so now we might think about piano lessons!
  After each training session, the client goes home with written instructions and practices daily using an online practice program, the Compton Pronouncing English as a Second Language, with his client manual in which we make notes.  As the instructor, I have access (with the client's permission) to all the practice recordings. I listen to these on my "Client Playback site" the next morning and I send the client  brief recorded feedback DAILY!!  This way, a client can keep adjusting and correcting his practice during the two week period between scheduled in-person instruction.
   In addition we have developed a "rebooting" process we call "awareness and self-correction" for carryover of new speaking patterns in conversation. This is an extremely powerful instructional model that WORKS IF THE CLIENT WORKS.  
   We invite you to click on Triangle Speech Services  to visit our informative website.    We want to help you and know that we can if you are truly ready to do the work and can creatively solve the problem of making time for the required home practice, a priority.
    I currently have openings for two more individual clients. Please consider sending me an email from the contact page of  Triangle Speech Services to schedule a free thirty-minute phone consultation so you can learn more about our program and let us know about your speaking challenges in the workplace.
  Managers, forward this newsletter to your international "stars" who might be interested in this professional training opportunity.    We are looking forward to hearing from you.


Judith L. Bergman M.A. CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist and Corporate Speech Trainer
Founder & Director of Triangle Speech Services