I tell potential clients that there are three important factors that determine the length of time it will take them to change their pronunciation, intonation and stress patterns in order to reach their goals:
- How strong is their accent? - Some people with mild accents only need to learn how to pronounce 2-3 new sounds. Other people have strong accents that are very difficult to understand. These people may need to learn 11 or more new sounds, which will require much more time.
- How easily can they imitate and follow instruction? - Some clients can hear the difference between two similar sounds and are able to imitate an instructor after a few repetitions, but many need additional help to learn how to say that sound. It may take them a few weeks. Don’t worry if you are one of those students who needs a little more help. That is why you have a teacher!
- How much do they practice? - Some clients only practice when we meet and the pace of their progress is not as important to them as to other commitments they have in their lives. Maybe their work is extremely demanding or they have children that require a lot of attention. Other students consistently practice, actively listening to other people pronounce the sounds they are working on and self-monitoring their speech at work and when they are out in social situations. The more they practice, the more easily they will be able to generalize what they learn have learned in sessions into their everyday conversations.