Accent Reduction Modification Speech Therapy
We travel to North Shore, Mid Island, & the South Shore

These issues may create a negative impact on a person’s career and academic goals, self-esteem, social interactions, and daily activities (Brady, Duewer, & King, 2016; Carlson & McHenry, 2006). As such, the help of a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or other specialists (such as linguists or ESL instructors) may be sought.

However, since an accent is not a speech or language disorder, the SLP’s goal is not to treat or remediate. Instead, SLPs design an accent modification program or accent reduction training to help improve speech patterns, neutralize their regional accent, and bolster communication skills.

Goals of Accent Reduction Modification Speech Therapy

Improving communication skills is the primary goal of accent modification. In many instances, this involves working on an individual’s intelligibility so that their speech is easier to understand and does not cause distraction. Accented speech can be measured using a scale that rates accentedness, intelligibility, and comprehensibility.

When setting goals with a client, it is important to set realistic expectations. Instead of trying to completely neutralize an accent or sound like a native speaker, a more achievable goal is improving intelligibility and efficiency of communication. This can be done through a program designed to develop pronunciation, syntactic, and intonation skills.

Training and Strategies

A non-native speaker may choose to do accent modification training on their own with the help of apps, books, or language software. This is particularly common for individuals who wish to learn English as a second language. However, working with speech-language pathologists provide significant advantages, including a more individualized program and instruction, immediate feedback, and timelier progress. Instructor-led training may either be one-on-one or as part of a small group, seminars, or workshops. The sessions can be done in-person or online.

At the start of accent modification training, the SLP will conduct a comprehensive check on the individual’s language history. This will include:

  • where the individual has lived and how long they have lived in that area;
  • all languages spoken by the individual;
  • the age of acquisition or when target language was first learned;
  • the context in which the target language was learned (whether in school or community);
  • length and age of exposure to each language spoken;
  • the languages used at home, at work, and in social settings.

During accent modification training, the speech-language pathologist will focus on the following key areas:

Segmentals – Refers to a language’s individual sounds. Each language contains a unique set of vowels and consonants that are used and combined in distinct ways to form words.

Suprasegmentals – These are the prosodic or rhythmic features of speech, which may significantly impact one’s intelligibility when modified.

  • Stress or putting emphasis on particular parts of a syllable
  • Intonation or the vocal pitch contour or patterns that affect a word’s meaning
  • Pitch or how high or low someone’s voice is perceived
  • Timing or rhythm, which refers to the duration of sounds and pauses
  • Loudness or the speaker’s vocal intensity

Language – Pertains to an individual’s proficiency in the target language, including syntax, morphology, vocabulary, and social use.

To achieve the goals set by both the client and the SLP, the following accent modification strategies are recommended by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:

  • Listen and imitate – repeating modeled sounds or speech
  • Phonetic training – teaching phonemes explicitly through descriptions and articulation
  • Minimal pair drill – differentiating similar sounds using listening discrimination and verbal production
  • Contextualized minimal pairs – differentiating similar sounds in a meaningful context
  • Visual aids – using visual cues to assist sound production
  • Tongue twisters – practicing phrases and sentences that use successive consonant sounds
  • Developmental approximation drills – using a developmental sequence in learning sounds of the target language
  • Practice vowel production and altering stress patterns
  • Reading aloud
  • Recording speech for progress monitoring, assessment, and feedback purposes
  • Auditory discrimination training


Staten Letter’s multilingual speech-language therapists provide other bilingual speech therapy for both children and adults. Find out more about our bilingual speech evaluation and therapy.

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Phone: (347) -394-3485

Text: (917) 426-8880


Our speech-language pathologists are ready to help you!