What's the best way to learn Cultivated Australian Accent ?
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Getting a local accent as an adult will not be easy. Adult learners are unable to mimic sounds of their second language effectively, so the odds are not really in your favour if you use this basic method.
In my work as a speech pathologist at Voice Science, I help my clients to build their analytical skills around sound. Sounds don’t happen accurately if you try to copy what you hear. Instead, you have to produce the specific mouth positions of the sound, so that your body is tuned and vibrating with the frequency of the native speaker’s sounds.
There’s no mystery why we call this speech science.
It’s easy to make simple assumptions that improving your pronunciation doesn’t take much of a method. But please don’t sell yourself short.
If you’re feeling like you’re going around and around in circles and seeing no progress with your pronunciation, chances are you’ve not changed it much at all.
There is a lot of research out there about how adults can learn to pronounce the sounds of their second language better and our team at Voice Science are across this.
Here are some core factors you need to take into account if you want to learn Cultivated Australian Accent or any target accent for that matter.
Be mindful of who is qualified to help you
Did you know there is an actual career that works in this space? If you want to learn to pronounce the sounds of a language more accurately you need to work with someone who has the right qualification. I wouldn’t build my house with a self-taught builder, so make sure you check the qualifications of anyone offering to assist you, before you pass them your hard-earned cash.
Speech Pathologists are the only individuals who are trained to understand both the anatomy and physiology of human speech. We have thorough training in phonetics, soundwaves (spectrograms), neuroscience, motor learning and therapeutic principles that assist our clients to learn, practise and implement new speech behaviours.
We will train so many things with you, if you work with a speech pathologist to learn cultivated Australian English, General Australian English or even British accent or American Accent.
Not limited to:
- How to identify and use your articulators (mouth, teeth, tongue, jaw, palate, lips, voice) precisely to pronounce the core sounds of the accent
- The features of vowels and consonants in fine detail so you can be completely precise in creating the sounds of English
- How to practise your pronunciation using research based methods
- How to move our sound from reading accuracy to increased every day speaking accuracy
- The hierarchies of sound acquisition
- How to read, write and practise your pronunciation using phonetics
- How to interpret soundwaves (spectrograms) to monitor your pronunciation practise accuracy by yourself (advanced level training)
- How to boost linking, intonation, word stress, tone, voice resonance to move your speech closer to your target
- How to care for your voice health when speaking
- How to boost your social communication success in your target language
… and so much more!
Important note: Make sure you book a speech pathologist with extensive experience in pronunciation and accent training. No one wants to be a test dummy, so it’s important you work with someone who really knows what they are doing!
Someone with a Linguistics Degree
Speech coaches with a linguistics degree are trained to understand the vibrations of sounds and analyse speech sounds usually within a research framework. I have so much respect for individuals with this qualification however it’s important to note, they are not trained in the therapeutic principles of motor learning, behavioural intervention and have limited anatomy knowledge and have barely touched on neuroscience for language. These topics are essential for anyone who is partnering with you to give you science based strategies to modify your speech in daily life.
English as a foreigh language teachers
English as a foreign language teachers are so vital to your language learning journey, but a note of caution, very few engage with phonetics in their study and most will have limited knowledge of the physiological and anatomical factors influencing your pronunciation accuracy.
Voice coaches tend to come from the performing arts area.
If you choose to head in this direction, you’re working with an individual who implements an accent for a specific role on stage or film that is scripted and memorised by the actor. I’d recommend avoiding self-professed voice coaches who don’t have a post-graduate qualification from an esteemed acting school. There are a lot of “voice coaches” out there without any formalised studies about the voice.
Voice coaches are wonderful in their ability to train actors to represent the sounds of their target character however remember, they are training a “Russian accent” in spoken English within a specific script, so the target is quite different from daily life.
While some voice coaches have phonetics knowledge, many don’t.
Likewise, there is limited exposure to anatomy and physiology for speech vibrations with voice coaches often relying on imagery and poetic descriptions for sound, rather than concrete theory and practise.
It’s typical for a voice coach to instruct you to “make the sound darker” where a speech pathologist would ask you to “pull the tip of your tongue away from your bottom teeth and feel the tension of the tongue under your chin to check you’ve done it.”
Your learning method matters, because if you work hard towards a speaking goal with the wrong approach, you’ll find out the hard way- after money spent and effort wasted.
While your ability to progress is not your instructors responsibility- it will always be the outcome of your practise, motivation and overall ability to apply the information given- your ability to choose well will determine how far you can get. If a pronunciation service sounds too good to be true or even very cheap, chances are it’s a reflection of someone with lower expertise trying to make a buck.
Just like there is no shortcut to improving your pronunciation skill, there’s also no cheap shortcut to running a science based service that employs a team with advanced expertise and exceptional qualifications.
I always recommend doing due diligence with any service you choose related to your English communication. Don’t cut corners, ask the hard questions but also be mindful that each different service discipline in this space is usually priced with reference to the qualification. Speech pathologists are the only professionals with medical training at post graduate level operating in this space, so naturally you can expect your sessions to be billed in line with most health care services like psychology, physiotherapy, dietetics.
On that note, let's dive into this weekend's tutorial!
Melbourne is in a total lockdown (still) at the time of creating this vlog.
I wanted to move away from our solid science-based tutorials (you can find a load of those in the links below) to have a little bit of fun on the weekend with you all! So, with my husband and little yorky terrier, Seppe, we kicked off in our neighbourhood, enjoyed ourselves with the best that Melbourne spring has to offer and on top of that, you can hear me pronounce springtime flowers with a cultivated Australian accent. You’ll also get a few fun tips around how to make a start with writing phonetics. Simple, inspiring and fresh, just what we need in these difficult days. I hope you love it as much as I loved my day out!
How to Pronounce Spring Flower Names with a Cultivated Australian English AccentPut a Face to Voice Science
Both video & transcript will be published at 8pm AEST on the 2oth of September, 2020, so if you get to this page earlier than then, don’t forget to turn on the YouTube Premiere reminder button.
In wrapping up, you might also like to subscribe to our channel, make sure you turn notifications on for our posts to stay up to date with all the bonus content we pump out weekly and head to our Facebook and Instagram for daily communication tips.
Don’t forget, ever that your voice and your message matter enormously.
Share your thoughts and insights without fear, no matter how clear you are.
Thank you so much for watching. I hope this vlog has given you some new insights things to think about if you want to learn cultivated Australian English or any other accent for that matter. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Ciao for now,
The Aussie Accent is not the only way to speak English.
In fact, in Australia, we have numerous different forms of English pronunciation, and I’d argue that all of them are as legitimate and official as each other.
Your speaking is not inferior if you live in Australia but don’t have an Aussie accent.
Currently, there are more non-native speakers of English than native, so no one can tell you that using a mainstream Aussie accent is the only correct way to speak if you live in Australia.
get your pronunciation assessed by our teamA Complete Audit that you Can Start in 5 minutes from now!
If you want to get some feedback on your English pronunciation, you’ve got to see Your Personalised Pronunciation Audit.
When you enrol you’ll score yourself a total audit into every single sound of English so that you learn which sounds need more work. We’ll also do a fun vocal health survey and spot check aspects of your social communication to make sure you are speaking as comfortably and as confidently as you can.
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