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  1. #1
    waikchow is offline Newbie
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    Default can someone help me with reducing my asian accent

    hi everyone,

    my name is ka. i am a year three university student of linguistics in nz. as i want to pursue a teaching career in the future, i try really hard getting rid of my asian accent. i am currently enrolled in an online course to help speaking with a neutral accent, so-called RP accent. however, every time when my friend mocks with my accent, he makes me think i really sound like a retard. is there anyone who could help me identify my problems? i think its best to have someone point out the problems for you and u can work on the more. (the online course i am doing is only giving me exercises,and it charges me extra money for assessment)

    i will be really grateful for any help and opinions. i can record it and post it here or i can do it on skype too.
    my email address is waikachow, using gmail.

  2. #2
    raindoctor is offline Member
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    Default Re: can someone help me with reducing my asian accent

    Why don't you use the university to reduce your Asian accent, since you are in the linguistics department.

    Take these courses, if any.

    1. Articulatory phonetics course (not English phonetics) Or master JC Catford's practical phonetics. Usually, your course instructor will help you master your vocal apparatus
    2. Once you master 1), study relevant English phonetics and phonology books.
    3. Learn about the great vowel shift.
    4. Learn stress patterns and think about these problems: how native speakers predict the stress of unknown/foreign word; how they anglicize foreign words; how stress affects the vowel quality; and so on
    5. Find a course in your university, which deals with intonation. Here, you should gain some understanding of various phenomena: chunking; broad and narrow focus; or 3 T's of John Wells, since you want to master RP.
    6. Even if you don't have an instructor to pursue (1) through (5), you can study on your own, since you are a linguistics student. If you can afford, find someone who trains actors. You can find them on vastavox. Or check with the theater/drama department in your university;they usually have a couple of faculty members, who know the stuff.
    7. If you get an opportunity, always take one-on-one lessons. Also observe cheeks, teeth, lips,etc, of native speakers.
    8. If you can find a coach, who mastered Mandarin with a native-like accent, that's the best cure you can ever find. Or you can do that exercise by yourself: check how your countrymen map graphemes to sounds (orthography) and compare with native speakers mapping. This process is systematic. Most if not all L2 speakers have the list mentality; that is, compile a list of proper pronunciations of mispronounced words. This list mentality may help to an extent; after a while, it stunts the learning process. You need to study it systematically, not list-wise.

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: can someone help me with reducing my asian accent

    Quote Originally Posted by waikchow View Post
    hi everyone,

    my name is ka. i am a year three university student of linguistics in nz. as i want to pursue a teaching career in the future, i try really hard getting rid of my asian accent. i am currently enrolled in an online course to help speaking with a neutral accent, so-called RP accent. however, every time when my friend mocks with my accent, he makes me think i really sound like a retard. is there anyone who could help me identify my problems? i think its best to have someone point out the problems for you and u can work on the more. (the online course i am doing is only giving me exercises,and it charges me extra money for assessment)

    i will be really grateful for any help and opinions. i can record it and post it here or i can do it on skype too.
    my email address is waikachow, using gmail.
    It seems to be a waste of resources learning in New Zealand but trying to de-Asianize your accent by learning RP. Why not just try to copy the accents of your friends and colleagues? NZE isn't that grotesque. Where are you hoping to teach?

  4. #4
    waikchow is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: can someone help me with reducing my asian accent

    Quote Originally Posted by raindoctor View Post
    Why don't you use the university to reduce your Asian accent, since you are in the linguistics department.

    Take these courses, if any.

    1. Articulatory phonetics course (not English phonetics) Or master JC Catford's practical phonetics. Usually, your course instructor will help you master your vocal apparatus
    2. Once you master 1), study relevant English phonetics and phonology books.
    3. Learn about the great vowel shift.
    4. Learn stress patterns and think about these problems: how native speakers predict the stress of unknown/foreign word; how they anglicize foreign words; how stress affects the vowel quality; and so on
    5. Find a course in your university, which deals with intonation. Here, you should gain some understanding of various phenomena: chunking; broad and narrow focus; or 3 T's of John Wells, since you want to master RP.
    6. Even if you don't have an instructor to pursue (1) through (5), you can study on your own, since you are a linguistics student. If you can afford, find someone who trains actors. You can find them on vastavox. Or check with the theater/drama department in your university;they usually have a couple of faculty members, who know the stuff.
    7. If you get an opportunity, always take one-on-one lessons. Also observe cheeks, teeth, lips,etc, of native speakers.
    8. If you can find a coach, who mastered Mandarin with a native-like accent, that's the best cure you can ever find. Or you can do that exercise by yourself: check how your countrymen map graphemes to sounds (orthography) and compare with native speakers mapping. This process is systematic. Most if not all L2 speakers have the list mentality; that is, compile a list of proper pronunciations of mispronounced words. This list mentality may help to an extent; after a while, it stunts the learning process. You need to study it systematically, not list-wise.

    thanks for your advice, they are so clear and detailed!
    though my uni doesnt really offer much for learning to speak well, even our linguistics department. they only offer some really broad papers for linguistics students. like in our second year, we can only do three to four papers about linguistics which are not helping much to understand the english language. i feel like i am just touching the surface it, rather than knowing how to actually produce the sounds. (though i know where to produce them and how)
    i wish they could offer some course like how to increase your resonance and improve you tone,stuff like that. anyway, thank you so much for all the advice!!

  5. #5
    waikchow is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: can someone help me with reducing my asian accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It seems to be a waste of resources learning in New Zealand but trying to de-Asianize your accent by learning RP. Why not just try to copy the accents of your friends and colleagues? NZE isn't that grotesque. Where are you hoping to teach?
    its not like i think rp accent is above all the accents. i dont why but i have always enjoyed the english way of speaking since i first came to nz and started to be able to distinguish the difference between accents around the globe.

  6. #6
    waikchow is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: can someone help me with reducing my asian accent

    my lecturer of phonetics didnt even help me with tuning my vowels nor help me with my speaking, when i asked for help and places where i could do accent reduction.
    she just suggested i should pay more attention to how people speak and told me that my accent is understandable.

    but just i want more. i want to speak a language well when i like speaking the language, enjoying watching english dramas and reading english books.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: can someone help me with reducing my asian accent

    Please also try to write the language well- this is a forum and not a chatroom, so use capital letters. Thanks

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: can someone help me with reducing my asian accent

    Quote Originally Posted by raindoctor View Post
    3. Learn about the great vowel shift.
    8. If you can find a coach, who mastered Mandarin with a native-like accent, that's the best cure you can ever find.
    I don't really see how these help in the acquisition of RP

  9. #9
    raindoctor is offline Member
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    Default Re: can someone help me with reducing my asian accent

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I don't really see how these help in the acquisition of RP

    Current spelling system has not changed since Middle ages; however, the pronunciation has shifted. Great vowel shift helps predict possible pronunciations by looking at the spelling--and in this sense, it is not specific for RP. But my advice was about acquiring any native accent. Second, some dialectal differences (like between Scottish and RP) can also be traced back to GVS.

    To acquire any language, it has components: unlearning the original and learning the target. Unlearning can be systematic--some British speaker who mastered, say, the poster's native language, which I presume is Mandarin, can help to unlearn systematically.

    I deal with some French speakers. My awareness of French phonetics and phonology, and French grapheme to sound correspondences, help these French speakers who try to acquire an american accent. That's the point I was making. There is more to acquiring an accent, besides phonetics and phonology, since in many phonetics books only rounded and spread vowels are distinguished. Among languages, rounding and spreading are two extremes: many languages fall some where in between. That's the another reason to watch out for cheeks, teeth, lips, instead of trusting the good old book "phonetics of the language X".

  10. #10
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: can someone help me with reducing my asian accent

    Quote Originally Posted by raindoctor View Post
    Current spelling system has not changed since Middle ages;
    Well, actually, it has.
    however, the pronunciation has shifted. Great vowel shift helps predict possible pronunciations by looking at the spelling--and in this sense, it is not specific for RP.
    You seem to be assuming that the OP is trying to pronounce the written word. Even if that were the case, an English pronouncing dictionary such as Roach's English pronouncing Dictionary (CUP) or Wells's Longman Pronunciation Dictionary would seem to me to be of rather more use than a reading up on the great vowel shift.
    But my advice was about acquiring any native accent. Second, some dialectal differences (like between Scottish and RP) can also be traced back to GVS.
    But the OP is interested in trying to acquire current RP.
    5
    Last edited by 5jj; 25-Apr-2012 at 17:28. Reason: typo

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