Self-monitoring is your ability to regulate your behavior. What does this mean in terms of improving your accent? Self-monitoring is one of the most important strategies you will learn to help you decide when you need to code switch. It means being an active listener and constantly paying attention to what you say and how you articulate it. After you begin working on certain sounds, you will need to monitor your pronunciation of those sounds and sometimes correct them during conversation. Your listeners will sometimes help you monitor. Look for cues from them (a question mark on their faces, a comment that they did not understand you or a request to ask you to repeat what you said). These cues will indicate your need to code switch and speak with a more Standard American English accent. The more you are able to self-monitor, the more you will be able to generalize and apply what you have learned to your everyday speech.
I am frequently asked how I started out in International Business and Marketing and ended up working with people who want to improve their accents. After obtaining my Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology, I decided I wanted to work with people from all over the world. Like many of you, I have a passion for traveling, and for learning about people that come from different cultural backgrounds. I also have a love of learning other languages and trying other cuisines. I wanted to be able to celebrate the diversity we have in the Washington, D.C. area. For me, sitting on the metro or walking down the street and being able to hear multiple languages and many wonderful accents always brings a smile to my face.
My goal in working with people with accents is not to eliminate them (That would make the world such a boring place!), but to allow people to use two forms of speech, to code switch. NPR provides an excellent explanation about code switching and why people do it.
this is an invaluable resource for those seeking to obtain a more Standard American English accent. The website is called: Phonetics: The sounds of American English.
As you know, my name is Ellen and I work with non-native English speakers. You can read about my general background on my About page, but I wanted to start this blog in order to share more with you.
I will try to write about things you will hopefully find useful, such as how to’s, useful resources in learning to obtain a more Standard American English accent (such as recommend books and websites), strategies to help you communicate more independently, student success stories, evidence-based research done about accents, frequent questions (FAQs) students ask and learning to live in the Washington, D.C. area in general. I may even share a bit about myself as an Accent Improvement specialist and a person.