As a teacher of English pronunciation and accent reduction, I must confess that it can be an exhausting task. In my years of experience working in various language-related jobs, including translation and proofreading, I have found that helping individuals improve their accents requires a significant amount of effort and attention. But why is this so?
When working with students, I have to listen carefully and pay close attention to their speech patterns. Simply telling someone that their rhythm or intonation is off doesn't help them to improve. Instead, I need to explain why their speech sounds different from that of a native English speaker and provide them with specific solutions to correct it. This process begins by rapidly processing the sounds they are making, deciphering what sets their speech apart from the target accent. It's not enough to just point out a few incorrect vowel sounds; I also need to evaluate their articulation of sounds, such as the physical movements of their mouth, lips, tongue, and other articulators, as well as their breathing patterns and the correct aspiration of sounds.
Once I have processed this information, I can show students in a clear and understandable manner how to adjust their articulators' positioning. To do so, we take a few steps back and focus on simple articulation exercises for the specific sounds they are struggling with. This process requires careful attention to detail and must be delivered in a way that doesn't confuse or overwhelm the student.
In conclusion, teaching accent reduction is a challenging task that requires a lot of focus and attention to detail. However, with the right approach and techniques, it is possible to help students improve their pronunciation and achieve a more natural-sounding accent in English.