Accent Modification

[en Español]

Everyone has an accent. People sometimes want to change the way they speak. Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, can help.

On this page:

The Way We Speak

Have you ever stopped and listened to people around you? They probably all sound a little bit different, even if they speak the same language. People may sound different because they come from different parts of the country. Some people sound like they are from another country. They all sound different because of their accent.

Everyone speaks with an accent. Today, people move from state to state and from country to country. One thing that we take with us no matter where we move is our accent.

About Accents

An accent is the unique way that groups of people who speak the same language sound. A person’s accent depends on many things. The most common groupings are:

  • Regional Accents. These are common among people who come from different parts of the country. People who are from Texas often sound different than people who are from New York.
  • National Origin Accents. These are sometimes heard in people who learned English as an adult. Someone who speaks only English may sound different than someone from France who speaks English as a second language.

Accents are a natural part of spoken languages. No one accent is better than another. It is important to know that accents are NOT a speech or language disorder.

Accents and Communication

Your accent can say a lot about your background and where you are from. You may be very proud of your accent.

However, accents can sometimes make it hard for you to talk with other people. People may not understand your accent. You may get frustrated because you have to repeat yourself a lot. People may focus more on your accent than on what you say.

These problems can make work, school, or other activities harder. You may feel that if you had a different accent, you would be able to talk to people more easily. You may decide that you want to change your accent, a little bit or a lot.

Changing Your Accent

With hard work and practice, you can learn how to change the way you say words. Changing your accent is also known as accent modification. It can be hard to change your accent on your own. A speech-language pathologist, or SLP, can help. SLPs work with:

  • People who speak English as a second language.
  • People who want to change their regional accent.
  • Professionals who want to communicate better at work.
  • Actors who need to learn a new accent for a role.

Working With an SLP

To help you with your accent, the SLP needs to understand the way you speak. The SLP will learn more about:

  • How you say different sounds.
  • The way you sound when you talk. This includes the rhythm of your speech and how you put stress on some sounds.

The SLP will ask you to read words and sentences. The SLP will also listen to how you speak in conversation. It is also important for the SLP to know what communication problems you have and what your goals are.

The SLP will use this information to help you change your accent. You will set goals with the SLP, based on what is most useful to you. You may work with the SLP alone or in a small group.

Insurance companies will not pay for services to change your accent. This is because an accent is not a speech or language disorder. You will need to speak with your SLP about how you can pay for services.

To find a speech-language pathologist near you, visit ProFind.

See ASHA information for professionals on the Practice Portal's Accent Modification page.