Accent Training Programme: “APROPOS”

In Posh Accent Training, we don’t even need to bother differentiating us from the crowd as we are the only purveyor of genuinely posh British Accent Training in Trivandrum City (and probably, Kerala too). Our target market recognises that and hence the demand from firms based at Technopark and also companies from as far away as Mumbai.

Everyone speaks with an accent of sorts, but many a times it is imperative and even desirable to reduce the strength of that accent in favour of a more refined and a standard pronunciation. English speakers with foreign language influence often are unable to create the standard phonemes (sounds) of English or speak with English-standard stress, intonation or rhythm. This is because those sounds, stresses and intonation patterns may differ in their native language, leading to a “strong” accent or an accent heavily affected by the first language.

Accent training (sometimes called Accent Neutralization) is the process of reducing the affect of regional or first-language influence on the pronunciation of English. This involves three steps: Recognition, Reproduction and Repetition. The proposed accent training programme “APROPOS” will help students build this recognition. First, sound awareness must be built. Oftentimes speakers don’t even realize that they have an accent and are unable to hear the difference between their pronunciation and standard pronunciation. Once a person is able to recognize the different sounds, stress & intonation patterns and rhythms of English, he or she is able to move to the next step, reproduction. Learners must be trained to move the muscles in their face and mouth in a different manner in order to reproduce the new sounds. Finally, learners will only retain the new patterns through large amounts of repetition, training themselves (and their mouths!) through constant drilling.

Accent Training Course Overview

The classes are tailored to meet the specific pronunciation and accent reduction goals of the students. The course “APROPOS” includes three sections in general:

  • Section 1 aims to cover the sounds of English and their main spellings, while highlighting the sound-spelling regularities in English. In our view, this is an area where students need extensive guidance.
  • Section 2 focuses on pronunciation units which are bigger than individual sounds. This section shall deal in turn with syllables, word stress and sentence stress. The features of this section will be more or less in isolation from a communicative context.
  • Section 3 attends to pronunciation features which emerge in the context of conversation. These include discourse organisation, prominence and tone.

All of the above shall be taught with a keen eye on rhythm and stress as well as using intonation for attitude and emotion.

Approach

The training would primarily be through face-to-face instruction and interactive sessions. As research studies have pointed out, the old school face-to face instruction is yet to meet a meaningful alternative vis-à-vis the classroom setting. The studies also indicate that in spite of the advances in technology (e-learning, virtual learning platforms), the training based on them remains inherently flawed due to the absence of essential ingredients like the motivation of human contact in the classroom and also since the individual needs may not be catered to as effectively. Accordingly, this programme would lay substantial emphasis on established training methods.

Having said that, it is not to mean that there is little scope for eclecticism in the training process. The use of CD’s shall indeed be a part of the programme but to a rather small measure. The focus will be on correcting the biggest speaking errors first. Just after the first couple of lessons, the students will feel more confident about their speech. Every session is very intensive and information filled. The students shall be taught to hear their own pronunciation errors and will be shown how to continue to self-correct even after they have completed their lessons.

Objectives:

Rightly or wrongly, the way that one speaks is one of the first things that people notice about that person. People tend to judge a speaker’s background, education and social standing just by the way they speak. Even if a person can already communicate in English, if they don’t speak clearly, people won’t understand and they wouldn’t want to talk to that person, because it’s just too tiring. The impact of First Language Influence (FLI) on a person’s accent can not be underestimated.

“Apropos” will aim to minimise the influence of their first language while maximising their communication with the outside world, be it employers, colleagues clients et al. It shall also help to:-

  • Enhance how they experience and perceive the world due to having obtained the right speaking techniques.
  • Develop their full potential and make the maximum use of their ability and professional skills.
  • Build rapport and empathy and strengthen relationships with peers, colleagues, employers, customers and the outside world in general through more successful communication.

Classroom numbers:

The lesser the number of students, more the individual attention they are likely to get. For purposes of practicality and feasibility, We shall observe that a batch shall contain no more than 8 students.

Duration:

The duration of the course is 30 hours. The normal proposition for training of this sort is around three hours per week, for about 2 and a half months. There are short-term and long-term programmes and the duration shall depend upon the wishes and needs of the students/institution concerned. However, the recommended (which is also the standard) duration would be about 30 hours.

Timings:

To harmonize the timings of this course with your schedule, convenient weekend batches are conducted.

However, any other time outside of these hours can also be considered depending on the convenience of everyone involved (The group as a whole as well as the trainer).

Simplicity is how we define ourselves. Simplicity in everything we do. Simplicity is all that matters.

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