Am I too old to reduce my accent and improve my English accent?

Jan 20, 2018 | Blog

Georgie Harding

Speech Pathologist

No! Never too old. Well, if you are over 75 years old I might say you are getting a little ‘over the hill’ or that you are a little ‘long in the tooth’ (‘over the hill’ and ‘long in the tooth’ both mean someone is getting old).

But if you are under 75 you are definitely not too old to change and improve your English pronunciation and English accent.

Changing your English accent and English pronunciation is a lot like learning a new instrument. It takes practice. The older you get, the more practice you will need to do. Similar huh!

Pronouncing English sounds in a new way means your brain and muscles needs to learn new ways of moving. With the right teaching and right practice you can achieve great improvement.

The key is regular practice and also being able to hear the things you need to change. A Star Pronunciation course gives you all of these skills.

It’s also important to realise that to speak English more clearly you might only need to improve a few areas  – improving a few sounds and the rhythm of your English might be all that’s needed to speak clearly and be easily understood.

Lots of my clients ask me – why can my son or daughter pick up the English accent so easily?

Lots of my clients ask me

Well, children acquire new accents very quickly and easily.  The parents’ accent tends to be influenced by the sound system of their native language. Because they learn English as a 2nd language in their adult years their mouth already moves like a speaker of their 1st language.

Their child’s speech however is much more able to be changed and influenced by the people around them.

Accents seem to remain relatively changeable until a person’s early twenties, after this time a person’s accent become more challenging to change.

It is never too late to improve. I have had students in their 50’s and 60’s who have achieved excellent results. They key is  – listen, listen, listen, learn and then practise, practise, practise.

We have a saying in English ‘old dogs can’t learn new tricks’. People use this saying when they want to say that people can’t change their habits. In my opinion this saying doesn’t apply for pronunciation! People CAN improve and change their pronunciation – at any age!


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