The Keys to Success in Accent Modification

     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.  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.    
   Almost every prospective client asks me this question either in the initial phone consultation or during their Information Session: "Realistically, how much improvement can I expect?" 
   I tell them that IF (and this is a very big IF) they can schedule a total of one hour per day at least five days a week to practice at home, or more if their accent is severe, the Institute of Language and Phonology has asked certified instructors to state that a 50% reduction in their accent measured during pre and post testing can be expected. I tell them that most clients who really do the assigned practice as directed and who use my in-person and recorded feedback do better than that, even in spontaneous conversation.
   Even though I try my best to accept only clients who promise sincerely that they will fulfill the practice requirements, a small percentage either get discouraged, stop practicing and drop out or they practice only sporadically and their post test results are disappointing. 

The Keys to Success are Persistence and Patience!
   Our clients are very, very smart! Some are even brilliant and they are accustomed to learning very quickly.  We counsel them that changing accented speech habit patterns in English is like learning to play soccer or play a musical instrument.  Yet they are impatient with themselves when a new, complex speech sound coordination like the American "r" or voiced and voiceless "th"  or the /z/ sound at the ends of words like  is, was, these, designs is really challenging.
   The keys to success are patience with the step by step procedures, with the process of listening and repeating and correcting and persistence--not giving up!  The role of the instructor is not only to teach, but to help clients understand the learning process that is so different from academic learning. And a good instructor constantly inspires and encourages clients to think positively and recognize each small gain.

   "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." Albert Einstein

   "A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances.  The real mistake is to stop trying." B.F.Skinner

   "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not...Genius will not...Education will not."  Calvin Coolidge

   "I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step... In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult.  I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking."  Og Mandino

   "Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th." Julie Andrews
  We invite you to visit us by clicking on Triangle Speech Services .  Our goal is always to provide information, inspiration, and encouragement since these are essential components of any successful learning experience.
   If you are seriously considering enrolling yourself or an employee in an individual tutorial with us or simply want to talk to us about our programs, please contact us through the contact page of our web site, and we hope you also take the time to read the text and look at the videos.
Judith L. Bergman M.A. CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist and Corporate Speech Trainer
Triangle Speech Services