Tips on reducing foreign accent

Microsoft Dy48yd
Jun 21, 2018 48 Comments

I have been trying to reduce my accent so that I can meld in the American culture. I feel the best way to do it is to make few local friends and talk to them regularly, but I can't find new friends and my accent insecurity keeps me back from trying hard as well. What are some tips to reduce the accent? I have tried watching videos on YouTube, but unless I actually converse, it's not improving fast enough.

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TOP 48 Comments
  • Yahoo / Eng tio
    Please don't.. I am an Indian and I hate other indians for faking American accent

    Be yourself
    Jun 21, 2018 13
    • Uber UberX
      Ok Ill be myself and just speak foreign language.
      Jun 21, 2018
    • Nvidia Player01
      Proper pronunciation in US is called "Standard American English"
      Look it up.
      Jun 21, 2018
    • Apple Lk786
      Isn’t hate too strong a reaction towards who is just trying to pronounce things in a more understandable way for the local population? What’s wrong with that?
      Jun 21, 2018
    • Yahoo / Eng tio
      If you have a thick accent then sure reducing some of that is helpful..
      Don't take it the negative way. I was only suggesting to not fake the American accent.
      Jun 21, 2018
    • Microsoft chathans
      Vat did you say? Kindly revert to the same?
      Aug 25, 2018
  • Microsoft / Eng whidbey82
    Don’t adopt a new accent. You just have to speak clearly and frequently slower.

    Other languages also have certain intonations and speed that you need to be mindful of. The Japanese language is a good example. Speaking English with the intonation in Japanese (or some other language) is how ppl mimic “foreign” languages, hopefully sometimes in good fun.

    Indian language (and probably Italian as well) also has strong emphasis on certain letters like R, and lack of emphasis on the H in the TH. Most of us would say that “3” as “TREE” instead of “THHHREE”

    I also realized that my Asian accent comes on full blast when I get excited. I think my brain just switched to and starts to think in my native language and my mouth is just running off English.

    I think the previous comment on recording yourself speak is a really good idea.

    I think Satya’s accent is a good example of clear speech but still with a slight hint of Indian accent. Jack Ma is another clear English speaker. Late Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore as well.
    Jun 21, 2018 3
    • Cisco / Eng LL&Prosper
      I agree. Sometimes I find myself talking very fast. Not sure if I make sense in the end. This happens mostly if I am excited or upset. :/ how do you keep reminding yourself to talk slow?
      Jun 21, 2018
    • Microsoft / Eng whidbey82
      When I do catch myself, I pause and acknowledge it to my listeners with something like “You know I am really excited about this because my accent is coming out!”

      Then, you sort of put a mental check in place as you repeat what you are saying. Think of the words you are about to construct and say, instead of babbling off directly from the brain.

      Some of us talk fast too because we are afraid of being cut off, or someone else is speaking fast and we want to match the pace, or we think we have to compact a lot of words in a short time. Most of the time I think good and normal listeners are patient enough let you talk.
      Jun 21, 2018
    • Cisco / Eng LL&Prosper
      Babble or ramble is exactly right! Will work on it consciously!
      Jun 21, 2018
  • McAfee JohnMcPee
    Enter what you want to say in a text to speech translator app and pick a nice accent.

    The only caveat would be that you’d have to type a lot. But hey, your typing speed increases and you will have a consistent accent!
    Jun 21, 2018 3
    • Salesforce beltalowda
      Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
      Jun 21, 2018
    • McAfee JohnMcPee
      What was Wenger thinking sending Walcott on that early?
      Jun 21, 2018
    • Salesforce beltalowda
      Problem with arsenal is they always try to walk it in.
      Jun 21, 2018
  • Facebook Seanbean
    I want to learn to rap
    Jun 21, 2018 1
  • Oracle / Eng
    tyxiba

    Oracle Eng

    PRE
    Deloitte, IBM
    BIO
    Client facing engineer here. I'm a people person I tell ya!
    tyxibamore
    If I were you I'd read about how your accent is different from the American accent and work on specific parts of your annunciation. I did this to get rid of my shitty Pittsburgh accent when I was young. You can also take therapy or watch therapy lessons online. Here's an example program: https://soundpractice.org/

    It's not as hard as you think. What I like to do is mimic accents from other Americans to learn what sets their accent apart from mine as well as the standard American accent.

    Here's an interesting video on the topic: https://youtu.be/ketrhWr58wA
    Jun 21, 2018 0
  • Cisco unscribe
    Just make sure you figure out "bowl" and "bowel" :)
    Jun 21, 2018 0
  • Amazon Ambot
    You should do toastmasters. Do public speaking. Best way to get rid of that accent. I’m white but grew up with an accent. Now I have more of a west coast accent that’s more acceptable in tech.
    Jun 21, 2018 0
  • New Aon
    try recording yourself. focus on sounds/issues one at a time.
    Jun 21, 2018 0
  • Lyft
    JJYa10

    Lyft

    PRE
    Amazon
    JJYa10more
    Join a Toastmasters chapter!
    Jun 21, 2018 0
  • Nvidia Mkst
    Find a good English phonetics tutor. It's not a rocket science, and you can get rid of your accent (speak like a native) or at least reduce it dramatically.
    It all depends on how much effort you can put in it. I would think that it is similar to training yourself athletically. You probably won't become an Olympic champion, but you can get very good at your physical development.
    The analogy is very direct because it is all about muscle movement creating sounds.
    First understand how sound is created, then practice practice until you perfect it. 44 sounds in English, you can master it all. Then move to more advanced parts of speech, like reductions, intonations.
    Don't believe people that say you can't get rid of your accent if you started the new language as adult. It all depends on you.
    Jun 21, 2018 0
  • Nice to hear someone wanting to adopt an aspect of american culture. When i immigrated watching american shows and conversing with native speakers assisted me
    Jun 21, 2018 0
  • Amazon / Product Ulub72
    Any good accent coach will tell you that it’s not about getting rid of the accent (it’s unlikely if you moved as an adult) but rather speaking clearly, with a good speed, and pronouncing sounds.

    There is not such a thing as an American accent - it varies by region and at certain degree social class.
    Jun 21, 2018 9
    • Nvidia Player01
      There's a definition of American English (Standard or General) - the version of language taught in schools and talked on the TV and radio.
      Jun 22, 2018
    • LinkedIn / Eng Umgak
      Uh, I went to school in the U.S. and accents aren't specifically taught... TV accents tend to be LA area, radio is notoriously Midwestern (especially Ohio.)
      Jun 22, 2018
    • LinkedIn / Eng Umgak
      It seems like it would be pretty tough to define a standard accent by any objective metric, given the tiny regional variations. Here is just one example of dialect varying minutely by location: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/dialect-quiz-map.html
      Jun 22, 2018
    • Nvidia Player01
      The linguistic science disagrees with you, Umgak.
      Jun 22, 2018
    • LinkedIn / Eng Umgak
      Well, I can't argue with the science directly of course (that would be irrational) but I do think the concept sounds largely academic from an ESL learner's point of view.
      Jun 22, 2018
  • Apple Lk786
    Watch American shows. YouTube might have some basic phonetics on standard American English. Of course the more you explore and understand the country you are living in and interact with people here the more it will help. Maybe try language exchange partners? A native language English speaker might want to learn Hindi and then you can do conversations.
    Jun 21, 2018 1
    • Microsoft Dy48yd
      OP
      Where can I find someone like that? Is there a place I can look for?
      Jun 21, 2018
  • Microsoft u1
    There are plenty YouTube videos on phonetics, search for those on the English language
    Jun 21, 2018 1
    • Nvidia Player01
      And lots of good old books - I remember finding a really helpful diagram explaining English vowels - front, middle, back sounds; how much the mouth is open, position of the tongue and lips. This helped me a lot.

      Then I found out I was making some wrong assumptions like thinking there's a long i in words like "beer". (my native tongue doesn't have short and long i, this was another area of struggle). I was saying it like beeer, which I guess sounded really off. But you just don't understand the difference unless you can discriminate the sounds yourself.
      Jun 21, 2018
  • Return to Your Power 1username
    Don't only watch videos. Talk to yourself and record it.

    But don't fake a voice. You can train your voice to naturally sound less foreign with practice but don't worry too much otherwise you can sound too forced.

    Tldr. Practice recording yourself by yourself and explore different ways of training your voice but don't try to mask it.
    Jun 22, 2018 0
  • eBay DFQW81
    Stanford has some accent reduction classes in Continuing Education.
    Jun 21, 2018 0
  • Amazon / Eng xgIO00
    Try to record yourself speaking without accent and then listen to your voice. Detect the words that you are pronouncing with accent and practice
    Jun 21, 2018 0