Speaking a language that has no regional influence, restrictions or involvement is called a neutral accent. A neutral accent is an accent that can be understood universally. We can also call this neutral accent “Neutral English” and “Neutral English Accent”. This accent gives you a strong and clear way of communication. Neutral accent considered and give a thought that language is accent-free. This thought helps people who are not natives of that particular language to communicate with ease.
A neutral accent means that the speaker cannot be restricted to any region because it has no regional features. In an easy way, we can say that a person who is speaking in a neutral accent cannot identify his region or country from where he belongs. So, we should speak in a neutral accent so that everyone can understand us in a better way. Some shows and telecasts of big channels like BBC, National Geographic Channel, CNN, and Discovery Channel also use this neutral English accent.
Importance of Neutral Accent
Following are some benefits of neutral accent:
With the help of a neutral accent, we can excel and grow healthy in many areas. It also helps to avoid mother tongue influence and regional accent. Ensure a clear and understandable mode of communication. Neutral accent Training helps the language trainers, ESL students, business, job holder people, and also new accent learning enthusiasts to speak universally accepted neutral accents. Neutral accent helps us to speak well and be confident in our workplaces, job interviews, and public forums. With this accent, we can interact with society smoothly. To develop voice recognition software language specialists and programmers work side by side. This software mostly has neutral accent recognition so that most people can be recognized by the computer. So try to speak neutral accent with people as well as with machines.
Overview of English Accent Neutralization
One should understand what other person is saying is the basic criteria of accent or communication. Now business is growing and spreading globally so customers and clients have to speak in that language accent which is more acceptable universally. For this purpose neutral accent has come in spotlight.
Before the introduction of neutral accent, people used to pay more attention only to the American accent. Because major clients and handlers were American, they focused more on the American accent for the purpose of cost, quality, and resources. And those people who were not Americans or from the USA didn’t understand the American accent. So when the concept of neutral accent came it solved or demolished the communication barrier for all people.
Steps to speak in Neutral Accent
Following are some steps to learn so that you can speak neutral accent:
- Listen carefully to native speakers how they speak the language.
- A fun way to improve your communication skills is to watch some good movies.
- Your rate of speech should be under control and is better that you are not speaking too fast.
- Before using any new word in your communication you should consult a dictionary and learn the meaning and pronunciation of the word.
- To enhance or uplift your confidence while speaking try to listen to some audio clips and videos.
- Practice and record your own speech. This will help to understand the problem areas which immediately have to be corrected by you.
- Enhance your reading skill. Reading newspapers and magazines will help you with it.
- Get familiar with the sounds of the language. In English, you should be familiar with vowels and consonants.
- Improve and increase your clarity of speech by listening to newsreaders daily.
- Practice some jaw exercises. These exercises will help to modify your voice and accent according to your desire language accent.
If anyone asks us to repeat what we have said to them, we should not feel inferior or have any nervousness, demotivation.
Mother tongue accent of people is an actually native accent. English people have following native accents:
- BA –British Accent
- AA –American Accent
- CA –Cockney Accent
- RP –Received Pronunciation (it is the standard native accent)
Things which make accent different are:
- Sound and sound selection
- Mouth positions
- Structure of language
Things which affect the accent are:
- Lips, tongue, and jaw positions
- Choice of vowels and consonants
- Word stress
- Length and quality of sounds
- Joining of syllables
Non-natives’ problems in understanding Native accent
Non-natives find native accent difficult because:
- The influence of the mother tongue is the first difficulty.
- The second difficulty is the lack of vocabulary
- The third difficulty is the hesitation or struggle in understanding rhythm, intonation and stress pattern of native accent.
- Connected speech and suprasegmental features are another important factors that are problematic for non-natives.
Kachru English Model
There are different uses of English around the world. Braj Kachru (coined the term World English) who was a linguistics professor in 1985 constructed a model of having three circles. Three circles Model of World Englishes is one of the most influential models for grouping the English varieties worldwide. But this circle model does not tell about the growth of English around the world. Before going towards the model take a look at speakers:
- ENL -English as a native language. ENL used by native speakers who have the English language as their Mother tongue.
- ESL –English as a second language. ESL used by non-native speakers who learned the English language along with their mother tongue language.
- EFL –English as a foreign language. EFL used by non-native speakers who learned the English language in a country where English is not spoken.
Three circles Model of World Englishes are following:
- Inner circle
- Outer circle
- Expanding circle
Varieties of spoken English in countries where people use English as their native language is called Inner Circle Englishes. UK, USA, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Ireland are native English language countries. These countries are norm providing.
Countries, where people speak English not as a native language but still considered as an important language for communication, are called an outer circle, and that English is called Outer Circle Englishes. India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Philippines, Tanzania and Kenya countries are outer circle. In these countries, English is considered as the official second language or official language for business and also it is the mean of communication in the education system, newspapers and courts. One of the main reasons that these countries have English as a second language is because they have some English colonial history. These countries are norm developing.
Expanding Circle means countries where English used as a foreign language, not as a native or second language. There English has no governmental or historical importance. We call it like this that except inner and outer circle, rest of the world is expanding circle which uses English as foreign lingua franca. This English is called expanding circle Englishness. Expanding circle follows the rules which are made by the inner and outer circle. China, Russia, Japan, Korea, most of Europe, Indonesia, Egypt, Poland and Brazil are expanding circle countries. These countries are Norm dependent.
Language shift variety
One of the recent language shift variety is Southern Ireland English. Basically, Southern Ireland had Irish Gaelic, a Celtic language. So now when people of this area speak English we can see and hear some left traces of Gaelic language in modern English.
Varieties of English
- The standard variety of English is the British language. Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia and Africa’s educated people with some differences used this variety of English for speaking and writing purposes.
- RP is a much more restricted standard pronunciation that is being used by BBC, England schools and upper classes.
- USA and Canada people used Northern American English which is another standard variety of English. It includes Canadian English and US English.
Neutral Accent Training
Neutral accent or neutral English is a classy accent that ensures that there should be clear and smooth interactions and make international communication easy for everyone. There is training for neutral accent speaking which helps to remove the influence of your mother tongue from your English. This training gives you a certain rhythm that neither sounds bad nor difficult to understand.
Eight modules of Neutral English Accent Training:
There are following eight modules of neutral English accent training:
- Jaw exercises
- Vowels and consonant sounds
- Syllable and word stress
- Sentence formation
- Speech therapy
- Working on thought process
- Articulation exercises
It also focuses on fluency, clarity, word power and active listening. Generally, accent training assists you in improving and polishing language skills which bring clear pronunciation and easy understanding. Whereas neutral accent training helps you to have less regional accent impact on your language and you speak in elegant style. NA training deals with accent neutralization practice of sound movement and jaw movements.
People who show much interest to get NA Training are:
- BPO (business process outsourcing) workers
- Information cells of educational institutions
- Administrators of Call center
- Voice overs
- Businesses people
NA training helps you to communicate in a standard universally accepted way. No one will able to communicate and understand if you speak in a very heavily accented way.
Globally Understandable Neutral Accents
Now in training centers, trainers teach you about following neutral accents which globally understandable:
- British Neutral accent
- Neutral pronunciation
- American Neutral accent
- Neutral English
- Spanish Neutral accent
NA trainers demonstrate and explain some modern techniques and software which help in reducing the regional accent of the pupil so he’ll be able to speak perfect English.
USA, Philippines, India, Australia and England have many neutral accent training institutes. More eager learners come from California, New York and Chennai to learn this neutral accent.
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