top of page

Accent Reduction: The Process

What's the process behind accent reduction and how do I approach it? Simply put, to reduce your accent, the most important thing is to identify the sounds/phonetics that are different from your current accent and put in the practice to make them your new instinct when speaking. The goal is for you to not have to think about them because they're so ingrained.

Phonetics/Sound Adjustment for Accent Reduction

Accent Reduction is necessary for most foreign English speakers because we generally tend to have a British influenced accent. In my experience, no matter if you're from Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East or Africa, we all skew towards British (probably due to colonial history). Ultimately, we usually grow up speaking with a blend of our local accent and British. Some sounds may already be in a decent place but there are quite a few sounds we'd need to adjust, even just solely based on the British influence.

It's vital to identify those sounds. So the first step is awareness. Without it, you don't know what to fix! After that, the next step is simple (not necessarily easy). All we have to do is put in the work (through drilling/practicing) to make the correct sounds your go-to sounds when they should be used. In order for that to happen, you need a finely tuned ear (this is where an accent reduction coach comes in handy!) and the patience to practice for as long as that may take. The way we speak tends to be very instinctive. Most of us don't think about how we're pronouncing things, how we're using our tongue, teeth, jaw, lips, etc. That's why our current habits, which we've developed over the years of speaking English, are usually quite strong and take a while to break. It's important to remember that Accent Reduction is a marathon, not a sprint.

For reference, when I came to New York City and started this process, it took me about a year to a year and a half until I felt like I could audition for American parts confidently, improvise and blend in with Americans. (and that was with very consistent, focused daily practice)


It's imperative to have materials when going through the accent reduction process. You need examples of words containing the sound you're working on as well as phrases and sentences so you can practice the sound while having to focus on other things. If you decide to work with me, you'll get access to an extensive list of Google Documents as well as audio files embedded on those documents which means you'll have plenty of practice resources and you can work on your accent from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. If you're more of an old school book person or want to work on your own, the book "Classically Speaking" by Patricia Fletcher is a good resource that I learned from at acting school. Keep in mind, going through the materials on your own is possible but will be a lot slower than working with an accent reduction coach.

Advanced Accent Reduction

Yes, adjusting just sounds/phonetics is the biggest and most important part of sounding like an American. However, that's not all. You need to work on rhythm, intonation, emphasis and linking in order to sound as natural as possible. It's a common pitfall to get all the sounds "correct" but sometimes you may sound kind of like a robot.

Think of it as listening to Google Translate reading a sentence. Sure, it sounds kind of right, but you can tell something is off. That's because (as of now) Google Translate can't get the fine nuances of our speech right.

Again, this is quite hard to master on your own. Having an accent reduction coach by your side will be extremely beneficial. Additionally, I'd highly recommend listening to podcasts, watching movies and TV shows and just immersing yourself in the language. Part of this must be learned through immersion and observation as well as the sheer time spent on this endeavor. And, unfortunately, some things can only be learned by going for it, making mistakes and getting corrected and then logging that mistake so that hopefully next time we remember the proper pronunciation.

Working with an Accent Reduction Coach

Ultimately, this is the best and most time-efficient option to go for. For me, even though I'd say I have an affinity for languages, it would have taken significantly longer to reach the level that I am at now without the help of an Accent Reduction coach. I was very lucky to be provided with accent reduction teachers at my acting school and I highly recommend hiring a coach to anybody who asks for advice.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page