Million dollar question! It takes a long time to learn a language, but how long does it take to learn the accent ?
Apps like Duolingo, which my clients have introduced to me, are great in helping someone learn a language fast and easy manner. Visual modality is always easier to change and implement, than the auditory modality.
For starters, your English needs to be FLUENT if you are thinking of improving your pronunciation. You cannot learn grammar, syntax and pronunciation and get good at all three at the same time. It just does not happen. So, if you are just learning English, my advice is to focus on mastering the grammar and semantics first, and worry about pronunciation later.
If your English is fluent, and you grew up speaking it, or learnt to become fluent in it, keep on reading. If you engage in accent reduction classes, your accent will start changing in 3-4 weeks. In about 6 months, you will notice a huge difference in clarity and speech.When you continue in that pathway, in a few years time, your entire speech system will sound different. Watch my video here.
That sounds like a long long path, doesn’t it? There are factors which help to reduce or increase the speed of accent training. You can read more about them here.
In a summary, your accent will sound different in 6 months, if you:
- Engage in direct/indirect ( online) speech therapy focusing on your speech.
- Practice, practice, practice
- Find opportunities to speak with those who speak in a native English accent
- Carry on auditory bombardment
- Start speaking clearly, and loudly
I personally took 6 months and more, when working on my accent. I sounded different when I was a university student and my speech now sounds different. It has been a gradual, but consistent change.
How long did you take to change your accent? Share your thoughts below!