Tips to neutralize your vernacular Indian English accent
Few weeks ago, we had discussed here on our blog how many Indians make a beeline to soften or neutralise their English accents when they enrol to our online English speaking course. The reasons for this maybe several- personal embarrassment of their “heavy accents”, career demands, “expat roles” in a different job market etc (Refer article linked below)
Many online spoken English courses in India may be helpful when the need is more on the “career front”. At Speechify, we daily tackle queries for online spoken English tutors in India majorly for “accent polishing”. However, we have said this before and will repeat it, English fluency should not be confused for English accent softening.
Many southern Asian communities have varied ethnic English accents. We as Indians are socially conditioned to mimic and perceive the western societies as more superior when it comes to the English language. Indians are obsessed with the English language also on account of our history of “British Raj”
English language is undoubtedly the language of the world. It is spoken universally across the globe as either the primary or as a second language in the form of Business English amongst working professionals. But so many countries across the world also speak Spanish which is another important language for working professionals if they want to improve their career prospects on the global front.
So, before we dive deep into English accent softening tricks, understand that your cultural heritage is what makes you unique. Indians on an average know at least 1 other language other than their mother tongue, this makes us multilingual. In simple words - Own your accents! Be proud of your ethnicity since the primary goal of any language is as a communication tool.
Now, lets look at simple daily habits that you can inculcate to neutralise your accent- for speaking up in those corporate meetings or improving your chances of working in different countries or a career in the communications field-
- Mind your company: Our direct company influences our habits on a daily basis. Hence it will be a great idea to have people around you who converse with you in “British English or American English” accents. Or you can simply watch news like BBC or television series in these accents and practice daily!
- Practice tongue twisters: Observe how native English speakers pronounce “high pitched” tongue twisters. Make it a point to learn at least one unique tongue twister a day and observe your pronunciations. Also learn the basics of homophones and phonetics, a tedious ground work initially but will help you immensely in the long run. Here is where you can begin for now: https://parade.com/1056235/marynliles/tongue-twisters/
- Audiobooks: Listen to your favourite audiobooks and set the accent to “British or American English” This is a fun way to learn accent softening while enjoying your book! Or just speak to virtual assistants and mimic their word delivery. You can start listening to a few ones here : https://www.audiobooks.com/
- Record your progress- An important aspect of learning to speak fluent English is the ability to listen to others as well as yourself when speaking. We encourage all our students to read a minimum 500 worded essay or article aloud and record the same. Students must then re-listen to this recording, observe errors and practice individual words
- Slow progress is still great! Go easy on yourself. Remember while learning any new skill, small incremental progress on a daily basis is significant. Reward your milestones however small they may seem to you and embrace your mistakes as improvement areas. An interesting book we recommend our students is “Atomic habits- Tiny changes, Remarkable Results by James Clear” It a comprehensive and practical guide to create good habits and get 1 % better daily at your skill.
- Join an accent reduction class: If all this seems too much work for you, join an online English speaking course for practicing spoken English. Instead of group tuitions go for private one on one lessons with an online English tutor for more customised pace of lessons.
Any learning journey may seem challenging and lonely at times. We thus recommend that you have a learning buddy or simply confide in a friend about your learning goals. This will help you two ways- keep your motivated and on track in your learning assignments.
What are the other ways that you practice for neutralising your accent? Let us know about these tricks in the comments below!
Related article: https://www.speechify.in/en/blog/why-should-you-be-proud-of-your-accent