Center for Speech and Language Disorders

Center for Speech and Language Disorders
Therapy That Makes A Difference

820 North Orleans Street Suite 217
Chicago, IL 60610

630-652-0200 310-D South Main Street
Lombard, IL 60148

Helping Individuals Reach Their Full Potential

Accent Modification

An accent is the unique way of speaking typical among a group of people that speak the same language. Accents differ in the pronunciation of speech sounds (both consonants and vowels) as well as the melody, or prosody, of speech (i.e., rhythm, rate, stress, intonation). They may be characteristic of different parts of the same country (e.g., Americans from the deep South do not speak like people from New Jersey) or they may be due to learning a second language (e.g., an English speaker who learns French later in life does not sound like a native French speaker).

Speaking with an accent is NOT a speech or language disorder, but sometimes a person may want to reduce or change his or her accent. This is especially the case if it causes communication problems and affects others' understanding of their speech, limits job options or school achievement, or affects self-confidence.

Accent Modification Assessment and Services

Accent modification, also called accent reduction, is an elective service, meaning it is not medically necessary and will not be covered by health insurance. Services are provided by our specially trained staff. The SLP will first assess pronunciation, rhythm, stress, and intonation patterns during different speech tasks such as repeating, reading aloud, and conversation.

The SLP then creates a treatment program to change the speech sounds that are most influenced by the accent. The client may also work on prosody by repeating sentences modeled by the SLP. The program requires a great deal of home practice; typically the client records himself or herself speaking or reading practice materials and then compares it to audio examples. The client may also have customized therapy tasks to practice real-life activities like job interviews, phone conversations, or presentations.