As a voice specialist, I have known for many years that a good voice improvement course can be an excellent means of accent reduction. Yesterday, I received an email from a Taiwanese man studying in Boston. His 1st language is Mandarin Chinese; and, he has been enrolled in an accent reduction course for the past 4 months. He noticed, however, that something was still missing:
1. his inability to increase his volume without his accent returning; and,
2. his inability to improve his vowel sounds.
2 weeks ago, Chihhung started voice training and his improvement was so noticeable for both him and his listeners that he wrote to tell me what had happened.
He said, “I started taking your lessons and found the greatest progress I have ever made after I learned to speak in my optimum pitch by using my chest cavity to power my voice. I notice how easily I can make any sounds I want!” He further stated that he can control his vowel quality as well, again because he is using his chest as his primary sounding board.
The best result for Chihhung, however, is that others now understand him better and he tells me he can even do the Boston accent. “Guess what, I just had a meeting, and I could make myself very clear, I could even joke around,” he added.
While the primary goal of voice training is to help you discover your ‘real’ voice, one of its greatest benefits is that you will speak more clearly whether you have an accent, a dialect, or not. And, although voice training is not intended to eliminate accents, it helped this Boston student produce his vowel sounds with much greater ease because he is now powering his sound by means of his chest cavity instead of just by means of his throat and voice box. It is this change in phonation (production of voiced sound) that has made a tremendous improvement in helping him reduce his accent.
Another benefit for Chihhung is that he can now increase his volume without shouting: in doing so, his accent does not return. What this young man learned was how to use his chest to speak with a larger voice which does not hurt his throat nor his listeners’ ears. By learning how to project his voice instead of shouting or yelling, he discovered that he is able to retain control over his voice, his vowel sounds, and his volume.
I am delighted for Chihhung because he has not only gained a number of benefits that he was not expecting, but he now speaks with a deeper, richer, warmer voice to boot! And that, in itself, is a tremendous asset indeed!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic and watch Nancy as she describes The Power of Your Speaking Voice.