Your Questions on Accent Modification, Elocution & Accent Change Answered


Does Accent Coaching work? Can I really change my accent?

If you have the same tongue, lips, teeth, palate and ears as other people, you can physically speak like them. You can speak like anybody else, with any accent. Actors do this frequently when they act different roles.  Speaking, or pronunciation, is a motor act which requires learning.  If you know what to do, you will be able to do it. Accent Coaching works by showing you what to do and what not to do. Then you need to practice and take on board, the feedback received, so you can master the pronunciation skills you want.

How easy or difficult is it to change my accent?

Some people have a gift or talent for languages and speaking, others find it more difficult. If you can tune your ears in to what is being demonstrated, you will find it easy. If you are ‘deaf’ to the subtle features  being compared, then you will find it more difficult.


Furthermore, people who practice consistently every day and adapt according to the feedback received, will find they fare better than those who don’t practice.


Thirdly, people who create frequent opportunities to chat to native English speakers will find it easier than people who seldom speak to native English speakers.

How long does it take to change my accent?

Time taken is affected by your original accent and how different it is from Standard English, by your diligence in practicing as required, by your opportunities to talk to native English speakers, and by your own talent for speaking.  On average, it takes 20 hours of weekly coaching to see a marked improvement although improvements can be seen after just 5 hours.

Am I too old to change my way of speaking?

Older people tend to have more insight into what’s required, they often have more patience, and they often show great diligence and perseverance in their practicing, compared with younger people.  Younger people on the other hand, tend to have more energy, may be more familiar with technology, and they tend to have more opportunities to talk with native English speakers. Often, younger people do find it easier to learn a new accent, but young and old alike can succeed with practice.

Do you work with children?

We work with people who have already developed some competence in English language. If children are already familiar with English, they can benefit from accent coaching. 

I can speak English well, but I can’t understand Kiwis when they speak - can Accent Coaching help me?

Yes, we can help in two ways:  Face-to-face coaching can help you identify, analyse and understand the classes of sounds, words, morphemes, syntax forms and idioms that are used by native speakers around you.

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My accent is fine, but I talk too fast - can Accent Coaching help me?

Accent Coaching offers an optional module on ‘Speed Control’. The number of syllables per second is used as a measure of speed, and people learn to pace their speech at the appropriate rate through practice, feedback and adaptation.

I can speak English well in face-to-face situations but over the phone I have difficulty in making myself understood - can Accent Coaching help me with this?

On the phone, we don’t have the luxury of facial expression and gestures to help us be understood. Accent Coaching offers an optional module on ‘Talking on the Phone’, which includes tactics for you to use to counteract the limitations of the phone.

I’m fine when I’m relaxed, but as soon as I’m in a stressful situation, like an interview, I can’t make myself understood. Can Accent Coaching help me with this?

Accent Coaching offers an optional module on ‘Communicating with presence'. This covers tactics for you use before the event as part of your preparation and during the event while you are experiencing stress. You will learn to stay 'in control' in these stressful situations.

Will Accent Coaching help me get a job?

Most employers are keen to support and hire people from other countries and cultures, as diversity in the workplace has many advantages. However, having speech which is difficult to understand may be seen as a business risk by some employers. Improving your ability to be understood makes good sense if you are seeking employment.

What is elocution and how does it differ from Accent Coaching?

Elocution is a little-used term for ‘proper pronunciation and expression’. At Accent Solutions, we go beyond this. We focus on real everyday communication to enable you to express your thoughts clearly and to participate in all types of social interaction. We show you the short-cuts and the casual slang as well as the more formal styles of self-expression.

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