Accent Freedom® is an in-depth accent modification (sometimes called accent reduction) software package. It was designed for individuals who speak English as their second language who wish to speak more efficiently and effectively in English by reducing their accents. Please note that this is not an ESL (English as a Second Language) curriculum that teaches vocabulary and grammar; it was written for professionals who already speak English at a moderate to advanced conversational level to improve their Standard American English pronunciation. The platform can be used as Self-Study, Guided Self-Study with instructor input, or Instructor Led. It can also be used by other speech professionals as training materials with their personal clients. LEARN MORE
The answer to this question is BOTH! We frequently work with corporations but we also welcome individuals.
Definitely not! Some accents are even professionally beneficial. Accents are only a problem when the speaker is frustrated by frequently being asked to repeat, the accent interferes with communication in the workplace, or if more attention is paid to HOW something is said versus WHAT is said.
No, not at all! We greatly embrace cultural differences and certainly agree that not all ESL speakers need to modify their accent. However, there are times when communication breakdowns occur or when the flow of conversation is frequently interrupted due to thick accents. Our goal is not to make everyone sound like a native English speaker (which is an unrealistic expectation); our goal is to enhance communication to make conversations more effective and efficient.
From a corporation’s perspective, what is the best way to approach an employee about communication training?
Frequently we are asked how to approach an employee who is in need of improving their communication skills. Most often we recommend bringing up the topic during the employee’s annual review when new goals are being discussed. In our experience, most employees are grateful to be offered the opportunity to improve their communication and readily agree to participate. They realize that enhanced communication skills can lead to being a stronger contender for corporate advancement.
For individuals, sessions with your instructor typically take place online through Skype or WebEx. Webcams, audio, instant messaging, and screen sharing features are utilized. Our clients frequently tell us they feel no difference between in person vs online training and enjoy the time and money saved by not having to travel! Additionally, our research has shown no significant difference in performance outcomes of in person vs online training. For corporations interested in providing accent modification training to multiple employees, we may be able to provide onsite training. (Please contact us as some restrictions apply.)
All sessions are scheduled between the participant and the instructor. Sessions are typically scheduled once a week for two hour sessions. Longer sessions are available should intensive training be desired. Most sessions are scheduled during normal business hours; however, a limited number of evening/weekend hours are available.
Yes, in addition to our 1:1 training, we offer small group training for up to 5 participants. Only five participants are allowed per group in order to provide a more personalized training experience. Even though these are group sessions, after an initial speech analysis, each participant is assigned lessons that address their unique communication needs. We typically use an intensive training model with our groups, meaning half or full day training. Group configurations can include people from the same language background or from differing language backgrounds. We also offer large group training. Contact us for details about group training.
Yes, with some restrictions. If your company has 4 or more employees who are interested in accent modification training, please contact us to discuss your specific needs.
For the Instructor-Led options, each participant submits an online recording prior to beginning the program. After this recording is meticulously analyzed by a speech professional, a customized lesson plan is devised for that individual. The Self-Study and Guided Self-Study options receive a language specific lesson plan – focusing upon trouble spots where individuals from that particular language typically struggle.
As with learning anything new, “practice makes perfect!” The more you practice, the more benefits you will receive. We recommend that you practice for one hour per day. Practicing can be broken into smaller time frames such as 30 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes over lunch, and 15 minutes in the evening. Remember, you will get out of the program what you put into it!
Performance outcomes vary from person to person depending upon many factors such as dedication to attendance and outside practice time, specific speech features being addressed, level of English competency, etc. Although there are no guarantees, anticipated improvement from pre to post testing with the Gold Instructor Led program is 50% with many of our past participants experiencing 60%, 70%, or even 80% improvement scores! Please note that it is unrealistic to expect a 100% change in this relatively short time period.
We use Accent Freedom®, an accent reduction software program that was authored by Speech Advantage’s® founder, Barbara Christensen. Released in 2013, Accent Freedom® was developed after years of working with non-native English speakers and then devising a systematic and easy to follow program. Accent Freedom® enhances the users’ understanding of their own problem areas and then teaches what needs to be done to address these problem areas in order to obtain speech clarity. We are very proud of the software and are thrilled with the excellent feedback from our users. In fact, as of June 2017, 82% of our users rated Accent Freedom® as “extremely useful” and 18% rated it as “very useful.”
A high speed internet connection is required as well as a microphone. A web camera is highly recommended for Instructor Led options. A headset or earbuds help with hearing minute differences between very similar sounds but are not required. Important: Please see “System Requirements” to learn if your microphone is working and if your web browser supports usage of the Accent Freedom® system. If you will be accessing Accent Freedom and/or using Skype or WebEx from your corporate computer, please note that corporations sometimes restrict usage of new programs and require special permission to allow access on company computers. Please ask your IT department to determine the best way to allow access to Accent Freedom®, Skype and/or WebEx. (Skype and/or WebEx are only used for Instructor Led options.)
Absolutely! We offer a free 20 minute consultation to answer any questions prior to signing up. We are confident in our program but also want you to be confident and comfortable in your decision to invest your time and money in our program. Contact us to set up a time to discuss your needs!
I am a speech professional who would like to use the Accent Freedom® software with my own clients. How do I get started?
We would be happy to assist you! Please contact us for more information!
I am interested in licensing the Accent Freedom® software for my company’s use. How do I get started?
We would be happy to discuss your company’s needs! Please contact us for more information!
Lessons are specific to each individual but all of them include 1) lessons about intonation (the melody of American English which includes stress and pitch rules) and 2) lessons to perfect specific consonant and vowel sounds that are addressed in easy to follow sequences. Each sound has five to six sections to help you learn. If you purchase the Instructor-Led programs, you will also receive access to several supplemental activities as well as participate in discussions with your instructor that help you to carry-over these newly learned skills into your everyday conversations.
These three terms are used interchangeably and are all used to describe the same thing – accent training. A word of caution…. be suspicious of companies or individuals who claim to teach “accent elimination.” Fully eliminating an accent is extremely difficult to master and could take years to accomplish. It is unrealistic to expect total accent elimination in a short period of time.