American Accent On!

September 12, 2014
September 12, 2014 Rochel deOliveira

“What sets worlds in motion is the interplay of differences, their attractions and repulsions. Life is plurality, death is uniformity. By suppressing differences and peculiarities, by eliminating different civilizations and cultures, progress weakens life and favors death”.

– Octavio Paz, Mexican poet, writer and diplomat; 1914-1998

I love this quote. So why would I start a business helping people change their accent?

Here’s how people search for our services: “Accent Reduction”. “Accent Modification”. “Accent Elimination”. “Accent Correction”.

“AccentsOff Speech and Voice Improvement”. Accents OFF. Not accents on.

With a name like that, it might look like I wish NO ONE would have an accent. Maybe I want EVERYONE IN THE WORLD to speak the same so they could all get hired by ABC News.

American accent ON

No way. I ADORE accents.

I can imitate a mean British English and a full-on-twang Southern American accent, and do so with zest. I’m about to start French classes and I can’t wait to try out the lovely French resonance.

My mother and father were both German immigrants and I remember how neat I thought that was compared to the Hudson Valley accent I was hearing all around me. Here are my mother and me celebrating a German-style Christmas:

Me and my mother at Christmas

I got interested in accent work as I was applying for graduate studies.

It was the hook to get me to sign my life over to Speech-Language Pathology. Before that I spent thousands of hours in the music profession, as a performing and teaching classical pianist. Loved it, but came to the conclusion that I wanted to learn a new skill. Something that would intrigue me for at least the next 60 years of life. Something related, but different.

For me, accent modification was the perfect way to continue exploring and playing with sound, in a new medium, and sharing that experience.

I got lucky after graduation because I was hired by Sam Chwat. He was known as the “Speech Therapist to the Stars” and worked with many celebrity actors including Robert De Niro, Julia Roberts, and Kathleen Turner.

This was the waiting area at New York Speech Improvement…always a conversation-starter.

Office of Sam Chwat accent coach to the stars

Sam coached actors and top executives, and taught me the ropes.

Working with him was an honor and a pleasure – he was a brilliant speech pathologist with a penetrating knowledge of accents, linguistics, and culture. Sam passed away in 2011 and it was time to open my own business.

Learn more about 1:1 accent reduction training

Since then I’ve hired Lisa and Andrea, two super-talented speech pathologist coaches, and we’ve opened our doors to hundreds of clients — wonderful people from diverse language and professional backgrounds: executives, students, actors.

American accentMany people complain that people aren’t understanding them.

Especially in noisy restaurants. Or on the phone. And how they’re getting a bit tired of “Oh, nice to meet you! Where are you from?”

One guy walked in and said “Kill my accent!” (Apparently had had some bad experiences). I told him I didn’t want to kill anything or anybody. So we just did some exercises together for awhile and he started to relax and understand it is all about speaking clearly.

Some people don’t want to lose their accent at all.

They are rising in their careers and just want to communicate as clearly as possible. Some people want to sound a little more “American”. So we work on the Standard American English accent. I say American Accent On!

Which is really what “accent reduction” is. We’re adding, not subtracting.

Yes, we want to help you turn your American Accent On!

Speak with confidence! Ciao!

When you want the confidence of clear and powerful speech,
contact AccentsOff today.