Accent Dialect Modification Sample Syllabi

Course Description

This course uses a lecture discussion format to survey current methods in and approaches to accent/dialect modification. The purpose of the course is to prepare the student to modify the oral communication skills of the adult non-native speaker of English and/or speakers of a dialectal variety of American English.

Course Objectives

Following this course, the student will be able to-

  • describe the characteristics of at least four English dialects in use in the United States;
  • describe/discuss psychosocial factors involved in the loss or manipulation of one's dialect;
  • design an appropriate case history questionnaire for non-native speakers seeking to modify their accents;
  • elicit appropriate data on which to base analysis and training;
  • analyze the phonology of a given dialect and compare/contrast it with standard English including-
    • presence/absence of English consonants,
    • allophonic changes in consonants shared by both languages,
    • substitutions for sounds not in the primary language,
    • presence/absence of English vowels,
    • substitutions for vowels not in the primary language;
  • analyze vocal dynamics including-
    • pitch,
    • volume,
    • quality,
    • intonation,
    • resonance;
  • analyze the prosodic features of a dialect (stress, intonation, phrasing, linking, and rate);
  • identify/describe the primary characteristics of American English phonology and intonation;
  • plan, develop, and execute a dialect modification program for an individual and/or group of 2-10 people.

Required Texts

Cheng, L.L. (1991). Assessing Asian language performance: Guidelines for evaluating limited English proficient students (2nd ed.). Oceanside, CA: Academic Communication Associates.

Grate, H. G. (1974). English pronunciation exercises for Japanese students . New York: Regents Publication Co.

Recommended Reading

Hargrove, P.M., & McGarr, N.S. (1933). Prosody management of communication disorders

Womack, M.M., & Bernstein, E. (1990). Speech for foreign students . Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publishers.

Class Outline

Class 1: Course introduction/Organization

  • Video/audio tape baseline analysis of Hmong speakers
  • Language as reflection of culture
  • Culture versus ethnicity
  • Dominant features of American culture
  • Scope of accent/dialect issues in U.S.
  • Client perspectives
  • Dialect assessment and distribution of tapes
  • Cheng-Chapters 1 & 2

Class 2: Psychosocial Issues in Loss/Modification of Dialect

  • Role-playing exercise
  • Characteristics of selected dialects
  • Basic elements/principles of assessment
  • Overview design of case history/background questionnaire
  • Summary of published assessment procedures with taped segments played in class
  • Womack & Bernstein - chapter 3
  • Cheng-Chapters 1 & 2
  • Dialect handout

Class 3: Elements of Clinical Analysis

  • Phonological
  • Presence/absence of English consonants
  • Allophonic changes in consonants shared by both languages
  • Substitutions for sounds not in the primary language
  • Presence/absence of English vowels
  • Typical substitutions
  • Voice components
  • Intonation patterns
  • Word and sentence
  • Prosodic factors
  • Computer speech
  • Lab analysis of various intonation contours
  • Cheng-Chapter 3
  • Transcription assignment
  • Grate, overview of vowel/consonant lessons
  • Grate, lessons 17, 27, 34, 42, 45, 56, and 87
  • Intonation assignment

Class 4: The therapy process

  • Approaches and techniques
  • Speechworks: The accent reduction program
  • Specific published therapy programs
  • Cheng-Chapter 4
  • Dialect assignment due

Class 5: Discussion

  • Dialect assessment assignment
  • Video/audio tape analysis repeated, "post test"
  • Components of an accent reduction course
  • Planning, developing and executing a dialect modification program for an individual or small group (2-10 people, e.g., Compton, Stern, Sikorski)
  • Cheng-Chapters 5 & 6
  • Training program assignment due

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