Everyone has their own general reasons for considering taking accent reduction lessons from a professional. The lessons take your time, effort, and financial resources. General reasons that people often explain for working on accent include “for work,” “to sound more American,” or “to help with my language learning.”
These are great starting points for your reasons to engage in accent reduction lessons. However, it is beneficial (and fun) to take a deep exploration into your reasons and possible benefits from American accent lessons. The following are some examples of “deep rooted” benefits students may experience as a result of accent reduction work. Obviously, every person will have varying reasons to participate in accent work. Therefore, after reading the examples, take time for yourself to dig deep and explore how why and how American accent reduction classes will benefit you as a speaker.
Emotional Benefits- feeling more comfortable in speaking situations, and therefore feeling less stress speaking American English.
Financial Benefits- accent reduction may have concrete practical implications, such as having a spoken command of American English for a specific job position.
Paradigm Shift on how you view language learning. As foreign language students in the classroom, we often (not always) learn language through memorizing vocabulary, conjugating verbs/ learning grammar, and taking written exams. Accent reduction work focuses on spoken language in conversation, and therefore takes your language learning out of the classroom and into real spoken situations tailored to your needs .
Sense of pride in your work as a professional speaking English. Professionals seeking accent classes are being active in reducing communication breakdowns with co-workers and clients, therefore able to focus on your expertise. For the benefit of “pride” in your work, I would like to give a very relevant personal example. I have been in the process of relocating my family to Portugal for years given that I have nationality, but I am not currently a Portuguese speaker. During my second visit to Portugal with my family, we decided to take my young daughter for a doctor appointment visit, to a clinic that advertises that all their doctors have professional spoken command of English. During this appointment, the doctor honestly did not have spoken command of English, given lack of medical vocabulary knowledge and accent, causing major communication breakdowns. Fortunately, the appointment was not an emergency, but we left very disappointed, paying a clinic where there were so many breakdowns that we received no benefit whatsoever from this appointment. As a medical professional speaking English, this doctor could have focused more on his medical expertise, and we as clients may have felt benefit from the appointment had spoken command of English been at a professional level as advertised. As a note, I never expect people in another country to speak English, as it is my responsibility to learn Portuguese. However, advertising as an English speaking clinic means professionals take a sense of pride in their expertise as medical professionals and communicating with English speakers.
I hope that these four examples help you start exploring your own reasons for investing time and resources into accent reduction. As an exercise, start by taking your general reason for seeking accent reduction lessons, and then dive in to explore more “deep rooted” benefits you may experience from accent lessons. This exercise can help you stay focused and motivated on your language journey.