Learning a different way of speaking is not easy, especially if you are an adult. As a younger person, our brains are more neuroplastic and we are able to learn faster and make changes faster.
However, all is not lost. Using principles of motor learning, we can certainly learn how to rewire our brain and learn new systems.
In my previous blog, I mentioned how you can adopt a different posture, UP – DOWN, when learning the neutral accent. In this blog, I will talk about how you can use yourself pay attention to differences in accents.
First the eyes. As babies, all of us learnt how to speak by observing our care givers. We intently observed the way they moved they mouths and mirrored them, and viola! Speech imitation begun.
So, in that very same manner, you have to train yourself to observe someone’s oral articulators. You have to pay attention to their tongue, jaw and lips, and how they move. Apart from looking at someone’s mouth, you have to be aware of your resonators too.
You have to observe yourself in the mirror and tune into yourself, as to what you do, when you say a /t/ sound or any sound.
The next thing you have to do is train your ears! Train your ears to listen to someone with SNE. If you are unsure who to follow in the media, you can always follow me, or anyone else who speaks using Standard Neutral English. Listen to the way they make sounds, and how they say their vowels, consonants and speech melody.
Identifying the different speech sounds between you and the native speaker is ESSENTIAL in working out what sounds to work on for yourself.
If you are unsure where to start, here are a few things you can do:
- Write a list of words that you do not like to say or get misunderstood on.
- Get a trusted friend to say those words, or maybe google those words.
- And record yourself saying those words and see if you can point out the difference.
Being aware of the difference in speech sounds is essential! So start tuning in to someone’s speech! I will be posting another section where you can record and analyse your speech, stay tuned!