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Communication Matters

The King, The Congresswoman and the TV Reporter  

February 2011                     
Issue 37
(Revised June 2016) 
In This Issue
Tell us your story.
Our Programs
Be Very Careful
TELL US YOUR STORYFeatured Article
Business  Woman Lecturing

If you are a foreign born professional, we would like to hear from you. We are very interested in the story of how you have created a successful and prosperous life in the United States.

We would be happy to feature your story in a future issue.

Transforming   accents from   communication   barriers to   charming    cultural flavors!


Basic Level:
Compton P-ESL: 2008 Revision!

Medically Speaking

Regional Dialects:
Speak Standard, Too!

Idioms:  MIAE (Mastering the Idioms of American English)

MEEC (Mastering Effective English Communication)

RULES for Medically Speaking (Rules for Using Linguistic Elements of Speech) 
 We understand and
we offer specialized
Go to our Archive Home Page to read more fascinating newsletters.

  Triangle Speech Services is a small company of licensed speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who specialize in foreign accent and regional dialect modification and related communication skills.
  Many of you reading the title immediately knew that it referred to three individuals whose speech challenges have been in the headlines recently: 
  • The late King George VI whose struggles with stuttering and ongoing help from a speech therapist  were chronicled in the Oscar nominated movie, The King's Speech.  
  • Representative  Gabrielle Gifford who is making remarkable progress in recovering from a traumatic brain injury caused by a gunshot wound and now receiving intensive rehabilitation which includes speech and language therapy.  
  • Emmy-nominated CBS Los Angeles reporter, Sereme Branson who became incoherent on air during a post-Grammy's report. 

   On the morning of February 15 , 2011 I opened an email from ASHA (The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association) giving guidelines to its members to become "expert" media resources but only if they specialize either in stuttering therapy or in speech and language rehab therapy.  A few minutes later I saw the video and heard the report regarding the incident with the TV reporter and the possible brief stroke or other neurological event that it might have signaled.  Then,I opened my daily newspaper, The Raleigh News and Observer and saw this headline in the (2/15/2011) Life, etc. section: A stutterer's journey, which was a front page, featured story by Mae Israel, a journalist who has struggled to be understood and taken seriously all of her life and who has founded "Unlock A Voice", a nonprofit that helps adults and children who stutter or have speech differences

    This remarkable confluence (coming together) of events has compelled me to reflect upon the parallels between the experience and treatment of traumatic brain injury, stuttering, neurogenic communication disorders with the experiences of  individuals who speak English with foreign accents and their search to find trusted and competent specialists to help them speak English more clearly and confidently.   


Never underestimate the vital importance of speaking clearly in the language of your peers.
Indian businessman on cellphone   
  All those who know that their speech may be hard for listeners to understand are certainly appreciative of the powerful impact of The King's Speech and of the other media attention given to a function that healthy, native speakers simply take for granted. Speech is like the water that fish swim in; you never notice the water unless the fish seem to be in distress and you never think about speech unless you see that your listeners just don't understand what you are saying or unless you can't understand someone's words.

So what exactly are some of the parallels?

Stress and Frustration:
Just as the journalist reported in the N & O and just as we saw dramatized in the movie, many of our clients who are perfectly normal--actually well above average intellectually-- struggle with anxiety, refrain from speaking up at meetings when they have valuable insights to share and dread telephone consultations which might be a vital part of their work.
Feelings of not being respected or taken seriously: We at Triangle Speech see "the cream of the crop," i.e. the top achievers from China, India and other countries who have created prosperous and successful lives in the United States. They are often fluent in several languages, extremely smart and usually more linguistically gifted than their listeners who might hang up on them on the phone, complain to their managers or simply smile, pretend to listen and then go on with the meeting as if our clients had said nothing.
 Be Very Careful to Check Out The Credentials and Experience of Any Specialist
ASHA Logo Accents are NOT speech disorders; they are speech differences. ESL teachers, linguistics and acting coaches can all use various techniques to help individuals either pronounce English more clearly or imitate key features of a foreign accent for a dramatic role.
   However, accent modification is certainly within the  scope of practice of ASHA certified members. 
Certification itself is really not sufficient.  I did not contact local medial sources when I received the email with PR templates about rehab or stuttering therapy because these are not my specialty areas.  Both my associate, Jennifer Vroom and I have had specialized training and at least five years of hands-on experience in the specialty of foreign accent and regional dialect modification AND we also make extensive use of our skills in standardized articulation therapy, work with phonological processes and language assessment.
   You would not see a neurologist (brain specialist) if you thought you might need knee surgery!! Ask about specialized training and experience in addition to the standard professional credentials and licenses.  Ask for recommendations from current or former clients or their managers! Participate in a telephone conference and, if available, a trial lesson or information session!
   Remember: Buyer beware!! Your goal is to establish a relationship of mutual respect with a specialist whom you trust and believe can help you! You want to receive commensurate value for the fees you are charged. 


   If you are seriously considering enrolling in individual training, don't hesitate to contact us and schedule your free thirty-minute phone consultation.
  We invite you to click on Triangle Speech Services  to visit our informative website.
  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