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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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For Individuals

accent reduction for individuals

Why can’t I use DVDs and YouTube videos to change my accent?

You cannot effectively change your second language pronunciation without assistance from a native speaker. Between the ages of six and nine, most people lose the ability to distinguish sounds that are different from their native language. A qualified instructor must help you distinguish new sounds through auditory discrimination exercises and provide techniques to develop new muscles for production. You also need candid feedback from an instructor until you are able to practice independently.

Will I sound like a native English speaker when the class is completed?

According to research, a person needs to have arrived in the United States by age six in order to speak English like a native American English speaker. Though you will continue to have an accent after your training, American listeners will understand you much better. Having an accent is not a problem unless listeners have difficulty understanding what you are saying.

How long will it take to change my accent?

Each person will experience a period of being able to reduce his or her accent when consciously thinking about it. However, getting the changes into the subconscious mind can take six months to a year of practice. Remember, you are working on muscle memory and years of habit. Like playing golf, tennis or a musical instrument, accent reduction requires practice, practice, practice.

How do Americans perceive my accent?

Americans like accents but only if they do not have to mentally translate what you are saying. If you have an accent that causes a listener to strain, eventually the listener will stop listening. If you have a very strong accent, native English speakers may think you do not speak or understand English very well even if you are very fluent in the language and have been speaking it for years.

What is the best way to practice?

Use the Compton CD-ROM. It allows you to record and compare your voice to a native English speaker. After working with a certified instructor to make sure you are making correct sounds, rhythm and intonation, we recommend that you practice 30 minutes to one hour a day. It is better to practice a little every day than to practice too much in one day. After you have mastered the sounds, we recommend that you start using complete word production ten times a day for 30 seconds at a time. This technique is explained in class.

Should I take Level 2?

Level 2 is designed for students who have completed Level 1 Accent Reduction and want to continue practicing in the structured environments of the course. In Level 2, we spend much more time working on body language and teaching you to imitate Americans using Linguistic Mimicry techniques. If your job requires that you give many presentations, we can also work on presentation skills more in depth in Level 2.

Can you explain the online training using WebEx™ technology?

WebEx™ is the #1 web conference provider in the world. The technology provides internet users with real-time, interactive multimedia services. Our clients enjoy all the advantages and benefits of our traditional classroom offerings including a one-on-one session with an instructor-without travel expenses or time away from the office. It’s simple; all you need is a computer and a phone line.

I travel with my job, what if I have to miss a class?

No problem. If you cancel 24 hours in advance, you and your Vireo instructor may reschedule to meet at another time. You can reschedule class three times during the course.

 

For Employers

accent reduction for employers

What do my employees need?

Your employees need to learn to communicate more clearly while speaking American English. They may be frustrated by having to repeat themselves often and lack confidence when making presentations or talking on the phone. They may feel their pronunciation is holding them back from promotions at work. In some cases, the employee does not realize that he or she is being misunderstood. They may not realize that they are difficult to understand. Most non-native English speakers lose the ability to distinguish sounds that are different from their native language. They need to develop new muscles to make new sounds through practice and repetition. A certified instructor can help them accomplish this.

How can we meet your needs as an employer?

We help non-native speakers of English make a commitment to pronunciation training.  They take a course from certified professionals using materials designed for maximum impact.

How do you approach an employee who would benefit from accent training?

Following is a suggested script that managers may use to present the idea of accent modification and reduction training to their employees:

“Our organization values you as an employee, and we want to do all that we can to make sure that your career moves forward. We would like to eliminate any areas that may hold you back from working on a specific project, doing a specific job, or from moving into a management position. Clear communication is essential in all of these areas. We have access to an accent modification class that can help you to achieve the goal of clearer communication, and help you attain your other career goals.”

Key Points to Address:

  • Clear communication is essential for moving forward in your career.
  • We know that company productivity is increased when everyone communicates clearly. We would like to minimize frustrations due to unclear communication.
  • Accent modification may help you be better understood by your colleagues and thus improve your relationships with them.
  • Your job is not in jeopardy; we want to help you move forward in all areas, personal as well as technical

Why should you choose Vireo Accent Reduction?

We use the renowned Compton P-ESL method and Linguistic Mimicry techniques (designed to teach imitation skills). Vireo instructors hold Master’s Degrees in linguistics/ applied linguistics/ ESL with special certification from the Institute of Language and Phonology to teach the Compton P-ESL Accent Reduction method. All of our instructors have years of experience in corporate settings and academic institutions, working with individuals from many different countries, language backgrounds, and professions.

Frequent supervised practice produces tremendous results. Vireo provides a mid-course and final report to management. We guarantee your employee will experience a 50% reduction of problem areas from the pre-assessment to post-assessment.

Contact us to find out more about our Accent Reduction Classes.