Accent Training

Shoreline Speech Therapy provides services for accent training for those who have learned English as an additional language. 

Services are available with Jennika Soles, M.Sc., SLP-Reg, SLP(C). Learn more about Jennika here.

What is an ‘Accent’?

Each language has regional differences in how it’s spoken. How sounds and words are pronounced differs depending on where you grew up, where or from whom you learned the language, and other factors. For example, if you have a group of people – one from Toronto, Halifax, and St. John’s – each will speak slightly differently. These differences are perceived as ‘accent’ by people from other regions.

When an individual’s first or other languages influence how they pronounce the sounds and words of English, we also call it ‘accent’. For those learning English as a second language (or any additional language), how they pronounce the sounds and words of English is affected by the characteristics of their native language, where they learned it (e.g., in Canada, America, or their native country), who they learned it from (e.g., an Australian, New Zealand, English, American, or Canadian teacher), what age they started learning it, and many other factors.   

 

The differences in pronunciation perceived as accent include:

  • vowels and consonants: influenced by the sounds used in one’s native language (e.g., if there is a ‘t’ but no ‘th’ in the person’s language native language, a person may substitute ‘th’ with ‘t’ when speaking English (e.g., ‘three’ > “tree”)

  • prosody: intonation and stress patterns (e.g., ‘contract’ can be a verb or a noun with very different meanings depending on which syllable has the primary stress)

 

Improving intelligibility through accent training involves learning how to perceive and make these distinctions between languages. It’s important to understand that an accent is not a speech disorder; rather, it is a difference. However, the presence of a strong accent can create barriers in employment, education, and social situations if it reduces a person’s intelligibility. ‘Intelligibility’ is how much others understand our speech.

Accent Training

Accent training involves creating an inventory of an individual’s speech sounds and patterns, comparing them to the regional dialect (e.g., Maritime English), identifying where the mismatches occur, determining what is most reducing intelligibility, and then working on those targets. The goal is always to increase intelligibility and confidence and to reduce barriers that accent may be causing for the individual.

Accent training is NOT the same as instruction for English as an additional/second language (EAL/ESL) (e.g., grammar, vocabulary, conversational English) – it is specific training for pronunciation.

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) often provide accent training services because of their knowledge of speech sound production, their skills in analyzing differences in speech, and ability to develop programs and select procedures to achieve speech sound targets.

Services

 

Services begin with an initial evaluation and consultation. This must be done in person. Training can then be done in person and/or by telepractice (learn about telepractice here). Training also includes daily home practice. Sessions with the SLP may be once a week or every other week. Sessions for adults are typically one hour long.

Training sessions can be individual or held in small groups (2-3 people maximum). Shoreline does not organize such groups, but if a group of persons with the same first language (e.g., couples, friends, colleagues, families) would like to seek services together, they may request a group program. If a group of persons with different first languages would like to request a group program, please contact us to discuss whether it would be feasible. Evaluations are always one-on-one.

 

Professional Fees

 

Evaluation:

  • one-hour session

  • $160 inclusive

  • includes all analysis and a written report

 

Training:

  • 1-hour individual session: $110/hr 

  • 1-hour group session (2 people): $160 ($80/person) 

  • 1-hour group session (3 people): $210 ($70/person) 

  • 1.5-hour group session (3 people): $315 ($105/person)                    

 

We accept payment by credit card or etransfer. If you need to pay by cash or cheque, please let us know. Cash and cheque are not preferred during the COVID-19 pandemic and must be handled differently.

If an individual is considering using insurance coverage for SLP services, they are responsible for first speaking with their insurance provider to learn if accent training is included. If using Blue Cross or Green Shield (Shoreline can direct bill), the client must provide written evidence from their insurance provider that the service has been approved (by email or letter).

For more information, please contact us.

Resources and Information

"Scope of Practice for Speech-Language Pathology"

Speech-Language and Audiology Canada

https://www.sac-oac.ca/sites/default/files/resources/scope_of_practice_speech-language_pathology_en.pdf

"Accent Modification"

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

https://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/accent-modification/

Other Local Service Options

Dalhousie Accent Clinic

Halifax, NS

https://www.dal.ca/faculty/health/scsd/accent-clinic.html

© Shoreline Speech Therapy, 2018-2020