Triangle Speech Services Logo 600 dpiCommunication Matters

Accent Reduction?
You don't know what you don't know! 
July 2017 
Issue 107

 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. 
   The "power" of any language lies in the connections with others it allows us to experience.Texting, in my opinion, will never replace the energy of a conversation, especially when you are meeting someone for the first time. AND in a business or academic setting, your speech is your "vocal resume." 
   I am a book lover and when I read silently, I still "hear" the writer's or the character's voices in English, just as you do when you read text in your native language.  We  internalize and link the sound patterns with the meanings of the printed words but only in our native language! My clients tell me that  when they read a text in English they understand the meaning but are not hearing the words!
   In American English (1) the sound patterns carry the meaning and (2) spelling does not equal pronunciation and can't reliably guide pronunciation. And most important, most fluent, non-native speakers of English who come to me for accent modification don't know what they don't know! 
An Invitation to Conduct an Experiment!
  Directions: Ask a native speaker of American English to read the following sentences out loud slowly twice.  Listen very carefully to how your native speaker pronounces the words in bold italics.  Ask yourself, "Would I have pronounced these words correctly?"
   1. If you've finished packing your clothes you need to close your suitcase because we are close to departure time. (What is the last sound of each word in bold italics?)
   2. My daughter is a graduate of UNC and will be awarded a graduate degree in computer science from NC State when she graduates this June. (How is "ate" pronounced?)
   3. Bob is a software architect who is a "pro" at solving problems so our project's projected completion date is Friday. (How is "pro" pronounced?)
   4. I'm certain that the photographer is coming to take our photographs. (How is the letter "t" pronounced?)
   5. We're setting the table with dishes, cups, napkins, forks, knives and spoons. (How are the plural endings pronounced?)
   6. The sanitation workers were on strike and refused to collect the refuse
 Can your native speaker tell you the rules governing his correct pronunciation?  

Your native speaker will have pronounced the words in bold italics correctly but will probably not be able to tell you the rule because the rule was internalized unconsciously when he or she "absorbed"  English as a young child! Only a non-native speaker will need to learn these rules and practice pronouncing the words correctly until they sound "familiar" and become a new habit.
   We invite you to click on Triangle Speech Services  to visit our informative website.
    In a few days we are going to send out another newsletter with the answers that include the rules for each sentence.  We hope this experiment has proven to you that you don't know what you don't know!  Also, realize that "the power of not knowing" is the freedom it gives you to learn and grow. Meanwhile, get the Longman's Dictionary of American English app on your smart phone and type in words to hear how they should be pronounced.
   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