Throughout the world, there are thousands of different accents and dialects within the languages you come across. In the English language there is a huge variety of accents especially; For example, if you compare the Australian states of Queensland and South Australia, people from here would talk with different intonation and pronunciation than each other.
Further still, in England itself, there is a huge variety all within a short distance of each other. Every accent has its own history and can tell you a lot about an area, but whilst everyone is interesting and culturally important; There can still be a societal stigma towards those who have a broad or thick voice or those who aren't native English speakers with a heavy accent.
Despite these views being outdated and ignorant, many people wish to partake in accent reduction classes to assist with their communication skills and confidence in the English language. You may also be looking into reducing your accent as means of professional development, improving your pronunciation for efficient communication with clients.
If you are considering reduction classes yourself, then continue with this article where we shall look at the pros and cons, and take a look at what resources and speech lessons are available for you to join around Australia.
What is a 'Normal' Australian Accent?
As we mentioned before, Australia is home to many different accents ranging from very broad to clear. Overall, Australians talk with different intonation to that of other English speakers, with the pitch rising at the end of a sentence.
That is just one example of how Australian accents differ though.
There are many reasons why you might decide to take accent reduction classes, here are a few of them:
- Professional development - Communication with colleagues and clients
- To gain clear speech and pronunciation
- To improve conversational communication skills
- To improve confidence at work and in daily life
Thankfully, we live in a world where laws protect workers from being discriminated against in the workplace, whether it is for their race or the way they talk. However, as we mentioned before, individuals may still hold prejudices against those with a broader accent, which could have an impact on work relationships.
You might feel out of place if you have a stronger accent than those around you at work or in your social life, or maybe you lack confidence in how to pronounce certain words or phrases as others say them differently.
It's easy to think that others around you are speaking with a 'proper' Australian accent, but the truth is there isn't one!
In 1924 received pronunciation (RP) became the established accent of the upper classes of the UK. Due to Australia's ties with the UK, RP also spread to the upper Australian class, although it never caught on quite as much as in England.
Sometimes today you can still hear a news anchor or an MP speaking in a recognisable form of RP, but despite RP being forced onto English speakers around the world, the vast majority of Australians never took it up - telling us that some folks either won't or simply can't change their accent.
Australia has always been a country with a variety of cultural backgrounds and citizens who sound different to one another, so there's no such thing as a normal accent - If you are Australian, then you have an Australian accent!
Life With a Broad Accent
If you do talk broadly yourself, you might be familiar with some of the stigma we mentioned previously. People's wrong assumptions based on how a person sounds usually have to do with social class and education.
Fortunately, most Australians aren't so naïve and it should be few and far between for this to cause any issues.
However, every situation is different and these matters can easily affect your confidence in speaking. This can be especially true for non-native speakers of English, it can be hard to practice your speaking if you have problems with clear communication.
Despite this, it's important to remember that your accent is part of who you are and might even be something to be proud of - The world would be a boring place if everybody sounded the same!
Be confident in yourself and ignore anyone who gives you a hard time, but if you still feel like you want to try an accent course then read on where we shall discuss a few of your options.
Discover more about studying English as a second language here.
Taking an Accent Reduction Course or Working with a Tutor
Your two best options for accent reduction are finding an instructor lead course either online or in-person where you live in Australia, or finding a private tutor who can assist you to practice your speech and improve your confidence. You can also use various resources to practice speech and sounds in your time, which we shall look at a bit later.
Accent Reduction Courses
Throughout Australia, you have many choices of institutes that offer accent programs. A few examples of these include:
- Australia English - This is an education provider that focuses solely on accent reduction, and has an institute in every capital city in Australia
- Ear And Speak - Another provider that is based in Melbourne
- Speak More Clearly - An online training institute that offers classes to aid you in studying Australian English, run by a speech therapist with over 3 years of experience
These are a good option if you like structured education. In some programs, you might study as part of a group of students, while in others you might have a personal coach to mentor you through the course content.
Within these courses, you can expect to undergo an English proficiency test to ascertain your level of speech and fluency.
After this, your course is tailored to suit how much assistance you need, before diving into how to improve your speaking, intonation, and practice essential sounds to achieve a clear accent with your voice.
Working With a Private Tutor
If you don't want to commit to a course, another option is to locate a private tutor and take sessions with them. There are many ways to discover private tutors, but Superprof provides a quick and easy to use website on which you can discover speech tutors offering their services in your local area.
Simply search on the Superprof website for accent tutors in your area. At a glance, there are over 320 tutors offering services to improve your English language around Australia.
Private tutors are flexible to your busy schedule and are able to focus on helping you and you alone during your session. You will also not have to pay for a full course upfront, meaning you can choose how many classes you want to commit to.
At Superprof, your first lesson is offered for free so you can try out a session and see how it suits your style of learning and if more lessons could allow you to achieve your goals. Working with a tutor is a fantastic way to get a professional to support you through your work accent reduction.
How Much Can You Expect to Pay For Lessons?
As with any education, the price of courses varies greatly depending on; Your level of skill, the institute you study with, the frequency and length of your classes.
From a quick search on the Superprof website, you could choose from private speech tutors for anywhere from 20 dollars to 50 dollars per hour.
A bulk course might incur a one-time fee for a bunch of classes, but others (usually online) might charge a monthly fee for access to self-learnt videos and resources.
The average price of this seems to be around $40+ dollars a month, whereas an instructor lead course could be thousands of dollars in total.
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