Why DO We Call It Accent Modification?

Apr 21, 2021

The goal of accent or pronunciation training is for the student to be easily understood, to feel confident, and to communicate as effectively as possible, not to sound like a native speaker or to eliminate a person’s native accent.

So why call it accent modification, or even pronunciation training?  That’s just one aspect of what we do.

There are so many areas, other than pronunciation, where we help our students improve, and I think that we need to be clear about this in our training sessions AND in our marketing messaging.

In a typical training session with my students, in addition to pronunciation, some of the things I work on include:

  • Using appropriate intonation to convey different meanings
  • Adjusting specific vowels and consonants so that the words you say are the words you actually mean to use (i.e. avoiding embarrassing/offensive/insulting speech mistakes)
  • How to use pausing, variations in pitch, variations in loudness and other vocal effects to be a more interesting and engaging speaker
  • Learning and using new vocabulary and idioms
  • Increasing vocal quality, power, resonance for a stronger voice
  • Gesture and body language
  • Presentation skills
  • How to prepare for interviews
  • How to tell jokes and use humor in conversations
  • How to use curse/swear words appropriately & effectively
  • How to look and sound great on camera/in social media videos
  • How to ask someone out on a date
  • Ordering food/sending back a wrong order in a restaurant
  • What to say to a co-worker or a friend at a funeral
  • How to say no politely


It’s never just about pronunciation and it’s definitely not about eliminating an accent.

So back to my original question.  Why do we call it accent modification when we are offering so much more?

The more I think about, the more I realize that this term just doesn’t accurately describe what I do, unless I'm actually teaching a specific accent or dialect to an actor. 

I’ve decided to change the name of my services (again) to Speech Improvement, with accent, dialect, or pronunciation training being just one aspect of that overall speech improvement.  I’m even toying with the term Cosmetic Speech Improvement, but maybe that’s a bit too confusing for our students.  I’ll keep thinking about it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…what do you call your services?  And do you think the term “accent modification” or “pronunciation training” accurately reflects what we do and how we help our students?


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