You may have heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning or Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. When we talk about a hierarchy in terms of learning a reduced accent, however, the word takes on a different meaning. Hierarchy, in this case, refers to starting to learn in easy situations (saying a sound that you could not pronounce in a word), mastering that ability and then working in increasingly difficult contexts, such as saying sentences or giving a presentation.
- Practicing during an easier task allows you to succeed early, showing you that you can actually say that sound, and providing a foundation for you to use it in more difficult situations.
- Increasing task difficulty while learning makes you focus on your message more than the sound you are producing, which allows you to pronounce that sound with less effort during increasingly difficult tasks. This helps you learn to generalize your speech.
By the time you reach your end goal of using your more Standard American English accent in everyday, meaningful conversations, your speech should require less effort and be more automatic.