By the end of this program we hope that you will:
- Feel more confident expressing yourself in the English language
- That you have to repeat yourself less frequently
- Improve your ability to pronounce difficult sounds
- Have improved your local vocabulary acquisition
- Be able to mimic local rhythms and stresses
- That more people understand you on the first attempt
- Have strategies to continue your improvement
Like any other field of study, you get what you put in. If you just do the exercises and turn up each week, you will improve, but not nearly as well as if you do that plus put in plenty of regular practice.
Regularity is the trick twenty minutes a day is far more effective than three hours a week even though three hours equates to more time than twenty minutes a day.
Try and find a regular time to fit in your practice. For example, I practice my Welsh language skills just after my breakfast five or six times a week. Notice that I allow myself a couple of days off.
Image of Age on Accent
That provides me with a neat segue to talk about language acquisition skills and age. Sadly, these decline with age (Cambridge University Press),. I am now well past the age where learning a new language is easy. Over two years, I have managed to understand a fair bit but would hesitate to say that I could hold anything but a basic conversation. Of course this isn’t helped by the fact that opportunities to speak Welsh in Australia are very few and far between.
This decline is particularly noticeable after the age of 25, typically the age after which people come to seek our help. When you get into your forties, the task of learning new language skills becomes significantly harder. When you’re in your fifties it is very hard to lose all vestiges of a strong accent. This is not to say that it’s impossible, just that you need to work harder to achieve the same result as someone in their early thirties.
If it’s so hard, is it worthwhile?
Yes! Definitely. The key about our approach is that we aim to reduce an accent to the point where it is easier to understand. We don’t try to eliminate it. Reduction is a far easier and more realistic target than elimination.
There is another important point here. We strongly believe that accent is a part of your identity, something which you should cherish and not despise. Accent