When you were in your mother’s womb , you heard her and everyone around her speaking. That early exposure to language helped lay the foundation for you to learn your native language, literally your mother tongue. After you were born, and for the first two years of your life, you continued to build on that foundation and you started mimicking the people around you, and how they spoke. You got a lot of positive reinforcement when you tried to speak, so you continued to speak more and more and more.
You were also corrected when you pronounced something that was outside of the norms of your native language, and in this way learned also learned how to make the sounds of your native language, and those sounds became habits. Of course you also learned vocabulary, grammar, sentence structures, all that fun stuff, as you grew older.
Then, at some point, you started to learn English. Maybe it was because of school. Maybe it was because you were interested in the language. Perhaps you wanted to move to an English-speaking country. Or maybe your job required it. Whatever the reason, you started learning English. However, in the majority of cases, unlike when you learned your first language, you started with vocabulary, then sentence structures, and probably the last thing you learned was pronunciation.
So now you have the habits that you built when you were learning to pronounce your mother tongue, and you’re using those habits to pronounce this new language. Sometimes the habits of one are exactly the same as the habits that you need to pronounce American English, there’s complete overlap with the two. Other times, the overlap is incomplete, or there’s no overlap at all, and that’s what creates accented English.
You did nothing wrong. You are doing nothing wrong. You didn’t misunderstand what your teachers said. Your teachers didn’t teach you poorly. You just took the skills that you learned when you were learning your native language, and now you’re applying them to American English. Totally normal.
Our goal at Parker Accentuation, is to help you form new skills. We don’t want to replace your old ones – in fact, we can’t! We want you to learn the skills that will make it easier to pronounce English with the standard American accent – the one that you hear on American radio and on American news programs.
Some skills can be predicted based on your native language, but you’re an individual, and the speech skills and habits you’ve learned will be different than someone else from your country, even from your city! That’s why we do an individual assessment to find out exactly how you are pronouncing the individual sounds in the Standard American English dialect, so we can work on those specific habits and skills.
You won’t lose your accent. You’ll always be able to speak your mother tongue, and you’ll always be able to speak English with as heavy – or as little – accent as you choose! Lay it on heavy when you want, and make it light as a feather when you need to.
We’ll help you get control of your accent.