Below you will find some answers to commonly asked questions before starting accent lessons with All About Accents. Please contact Leann@allaboutaccents.com for any further questions or inquiries before getting started.
Frequently asked questions
What is a Speech Language Pathologist?
A Speech Language Pathologist (aka “experts in communication”) go through 2-3 years of graduate school training to treat many types of communication and swallowing problems with all ages. Although accents are typical and not considered a disorder, a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) has excellent background knowledge to be an accent coach and teaching American English pronunciation. This is because we receive extensive training in school about speech sounds (aka “phonetics/ “phonology”), we have experience in teaching strategies to a student learning a new sound, and we are trained to use the International Phonetic Alphabet (a tool of symbols to transcribe speech to written form and analyze patterns). Along with SLP’s, other disciplines with a great background in speech sounds for accent coaching include linguists, actors/ singers, and English teachers. Many SLP’s in the United States are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). To explore more about the background of an SLP, visit ASHA’s website at www.ASHA.org.
Who are accent reduction lessons for?
All About Accents specializes in lessons for people who want to learn standard American English pronunciation for when they speak. This can mean that English is not your native language, or you speak another dialect of English (i.e. from England, Ireland, Australia, India, South Africa, etc) and want to learn Standard American English. All About Accents is accent coaching, and therefore is for people with a good command of English grammar and vocabulary. Every student has their own reasons to elect American English accent reduction lessons, such as for the workplace, being understood by peers, performing, or just an interest in American culture and media.
What is Standard American English (SAE)?
Standard American English (SAE) is a dialect of English primarily used for professional English and taught in American schools. The United States is a large country, and different regions have very different accents. American regional accents are a big source of humor when exaggerated in Hollywood. For example, think of Marisa Tomei and Joe Pesci in the movie “My Cousin Vinny” for a New York Accent, Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” for a Boston accent, and Kristin Wigg/ Fred Armison/ Bill Hader in the Saturday Night Live skits “The Californians” for a very exaggerated California accent. Leann at All About Accents focuses on Standard American English as an accent instructor because it is the most recognized (although you may note Leann’s “slight” New York accent with some words)! Note that Standard American English is by no means linguistically “superior” than any other regional dialect, and that no person speaks “without” an accent. Standard American English is also sometimes referred to as “Newscaster English” because of its frequency in the media.
When and Where are accent lessons? Are they online or in-person?
Please contact Leann at All About Accents to schedule private online lessons during the week. Lessons are currently primarily available online via teleconferencing (such as Skype). If you live in the Roanoke Valley, Virginia and are interested in private in-person lessons, please send an inquiry to Leann for in-person lessons at a promotional reduced rate. All About Accents plans to offer in-person lessons in Porto/ Matosinhos, Portugal in Fall 2019, so stayed tuned for information about this availability in Portugal.
What can I expect in the first lesson?
In general, the first session is an in-depth conversation about your language background, personal background, reasons for seeking accent coaching, and education about what to expect from accent coaching. I will also listen to your speech sounds and intonation to help develop goals. Through our conversations and listening to your speech, together we develop goals for your lessons, and these goals will be formally written for our second session. Every student has a different language background and goals, so our lessons are very individualized to meet the needs of the student.
What level of English proficiency do I need to participate in private accent lessons from All About Accents?
Accent lessons are held in English, so a student should be able to speak and understand English at the conversational level. There will be some written materials provided, but we can always discuss the written materials if they are not understood. Please note that our lessons focus on accents (sounds) of American English, and All About Accents does not teach “vocabulary” or “grammar” like a traditional foreign language class. Your English does not need to be “perfect” or “near-perfect,” but conversational ability in English is recommended.
What equipment do I need for online accent lessons?
For online lessons, you need a good internet connection, a microphone, and a camera. We use live shared spreadsheets to review pronunciation in conversation. I create individualized recordings for practice, so DropBox is recommended to share these recordings. Other than the basic technological equipment, other tools for accent practice are basic and can be found around the home, such as a mirror to see tongue and lip movement.
What if my currency is not in Euros? How do I make a payment for classes?
You can book a session or purchase a package directly by sending an e-mail/ message, as bookings are scheduled directly. Payment is expected to be received 24 hours before the scheduled class. Currency is a common question, since payment is accepted in Euros. Please message Leann directly for information to do a bank transfer. Transwise is a quick and afforable way to pay with a currency not in Euros, and All About Accents also accepts PayPal.
All About Accents
Leann Rhoades, M.S. CCC-SLP
Accent Coach/ Speech Language Pathologist
Tel: +1 540-999-1543
WhatsApp / WeChat: +351 913 127 515
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