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Communication Matters

May 2013       
Issue 60

The Parable of the Tortoise
and the Hare 
In This Issue
The Tortoise and the Hare
Were you a tortoise or a hare in school?
Accent reduction means changing speech or movement patterns.
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.
trOur Mission is to help our clients transform their accents from a communication barrier to a charming cultural flavor using "listener friendly" speech. 


Order Mastering Meaning from today online.   For an autographed copy contact Judith Bergman through our web site. (Pay for autographed copies with check by mail or credit card phone order only). $19.99 + S & H and applicable sales taxes.   


Our clients who practice consistently and patiently have the greatest success.
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.

  A parable is a simple story or fable that uses familiar events or characters symbolically to illustrate a moral or ethical lesson or even just a common sense "truth."  Our clients, who have not grown up hearing the children's fables common to our culture, may not be familiar with this story. First, we'll retell the story and then explain what its lesson has to do with your degree of success in an accent modification tutorial.




The Tortoise and the Hare*  Hare and Tortoise
    Once upon a time there was a hare (a rabbit) who always boasted about how fast he could run. He had a lot of self-confidence about his swiftness and ability to win any race. This annoyed the tortoise (a turtle) who finally told him, "Even you can be beaten."
   The hare answered, "I'm so speedy, but why don't you try?" So they arranged a race and planned the course.  The next day at dawn they stood at the starting line. The hare saw how very, very slowly the tortoise moved and, still sleepy, decided to take a nap.
   When he woke up, he saw that the tortoise was only about a third of the way so the hare decided to eat a big breakfast. He munched on some cabbages in a field nearby and then felt very full and sleepy. The tortoise was only about halfway along so the hare decided that he would  take another nap and fell fast asleep, planning to wake up at the last minute and then speed to the finish.
   However, the hare didn't wake up again until almost sunset and saw to his shock, that the tortoise, who had been steadily plodding along all day, was just a speck in the distance and only about one yard from the finish line. He ran around the course as fast as he could but the tortoise beat him to the finish line.
   The hare felt tired and angry with himself and the tortoise smiled at him and said, "Slow and steady does it every time."

 *Paraphrased text on; amtap book:isbn=159308062X 


Were you a tortoise or a hare in school?           
   One of the first statements I make to a new client is "You know you are much smarter than  I am. I just specialize in teaching the pronunciation of my native language. You are fluent in two..three..four languages!" 

   I ask the client if he used to whiz through his assigned homework in math or physics or chemistry in high school and then want to go out and play soccer while most of his friends were still hard at work. Invariably, my clients think of themselves as very speedy learners, AND THEY ARE!!  

   However, they are thinking about symbolic, abstract and spatial learning.  They are thinking about cognitive learning and NOT movement or motor learning. 


Accent reduction means changing speech or movement patterns!    
  You did not learn to play soccer by watching videos, even very good instructional videos. You had to go out on the field and practice. Your coach also assigned conditioning exercises and gave feedback.
  Even with the best teacher, your child will not learn to play the violin just by attending the weekly lesson and then never opening up the violin case and practicing! Wouldn't you refuse to keep paying for these lessons if your child never practiced?
  Speech is largely an unconscious and easy process in your native language which is exactly why it takes slow, step-by-step practice to become aware of your old patterns and then practice new ones until they feel less strange and more natural.
   Our clients are required to keep a practice log and turn it in to the instructor at each session. Detailed written assignments and this log keep them motivated and accountable and promote optimal improvement.
    Our clients are encouraged to be patient and not to get upset with themselves when their accent features seem hard to change, much harder than working with statistics or biochemistry or writing software code. It's okay to be the slow but steady tortoise in the endeavor to reduce your accent.
   Accuracy is the "finish line" and in all motor skills including reducing an accent, ACCURACY VARIES INVERSELY WITH SPEED!  The faster you go, the more mistakes you will make. Waiting till a day or two before your next lesson to practice will insure that your muscles will NOT remember the movement patterns. Even an "easy" task like voicing final stop consonants /g/ and /d/ won't be successful and you will NOT hear yourself saying "flack" when you mean to say "flag," or " hat" when you mean "had." 
   If you can hear "flack," you can fix it! If you can say "flag"  when you mean "flag," you can begin to self-correct. Then you will carry over the targeted skill into conversation and reduce your accent!  

   We invite you to click on Triangle Speech Services  to visit our informative website. 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


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