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An accent is a distinctive way to pronounce words in a language. What's so interesting about accents is that they can sound different even if you don't travel very far. As you grow up speaking your mother tongue, you develop whatever accent your birthplace has.
Take Spanish for example, the accents from Mexico all the way to Argentina are vastly different. That's why it's important that when you are learning another language to familiarize yourself with the countries or regions that speak the language.
There are seven English-speaking countries in the world. They are the United States, Australia, Ireland, England, Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand. Where you learn English will define how you speak it. That doesn't just apply to pronunciation, it also applies to the vocabulary and other expressions. The further question is, can you change your accent to American English?
So, you want to learn to sound like an American? Let's start out by saying that the American accent is oversimplified. The United States is a large country with regions that sounds vastly different from one another. You have a whole menu of accents to choose from. Do you want to sounds like someone from the East coast? Examples of this would be the classic New Yorker or Bostonian. You could also have a neutral, Mid-Atlantic accent, which are people from places like Maryland and Virginia. You can also take your pick at the southern regions of the United States that have the twang. If you choose to take the Mid-West you might sound more Canadian. Finally, there is the California surfer accent of the West coast. See? I told you there's a lot to choose from.
You are probably wondering if it is even possible to get rid of your native accent when you speak English. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an accent when you speak another language, that's inevitable. However, if you are trying to reduce your accent for personal reasons know that it is possible. It's not easy and can take some time. You can take classes in-person or online. Not everyone has time or money for that, here are some tips to try out on your own:
Some people say that Americans talk way too fast. Believe it or not that English is one of the slowest spoken languages. When you have an accent, trying to keep your pace of speech at a native speaker level can bring out your accent more. I know it's annoying, but enunciating every word is necessary so people understand you the first time.
We already know that English has hard sounds that don't exist in other languages. This will be especially hard as a language learner. There are sounds like the "th" and "r" that can sound different depending on the word. In American English, the "r" is harder than if you hear it pronounced in England. It's important to nail these if you want to sound like an American. If you practice this, there will be a noticeable difference in your speech.
Having the correct syllable stress can make you sound clearer to others. The way that an American stresses a word is different than how a British person would. Therefore, learning the stress of the American accent can help you sound like a native speaker. You can do this by learning what consonant and vowel sounds to focus on in a word.
One way you can learn to speak a language is by watching content in that language. Who says that you can't do the same thing with accents? Exposing yourself to enough American TV shows, movies, or music can train your ear. This will help you practice those specific sounds.
Talk to yourself when you want to learn another language, it seriously helps. You can also do this to practice the American accent. You can listen and repeat from shows or sing along to the music. The more you do this, the better you will get overtime.
Let's remember that these are all ways to reduce your accent, not eliminate it. There is no reason to be ashamed of how you sound when speaking English. It represents your culture and heritage when you have a slight accent. That should always be celebrated.
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