Accent Reduction at Home

debbie and duncan

If you can’t access Ear & Speak’s specialist face-to-face elocution training in Melbourne, the next best thing is our unique online English accent modification course to help you anywhere.

On this page you can find out all about the program, see FAQs, the fees and make an enquiry! If you’d like to know more about why we are the only serious choice for accent and communication training in Australia, please see our main page about accent modification or start on the front page.

Expert, personal one-on-one online accent training

Over almost two decades of helping clients, we’ve resisted offering online training in most cases because it can’t deliver the quality that we pride ourselves on face-to-face.

Online pronunciation lessons are not as effective as face-to-face . This is fact, not opinion. Singing lessons, physiotherapy, or psychological counselling cannot be as effective by video. And in the same way, trying to hear and see the detail needed for effective serious accent reduction needs real face-to-face training.

Nonetheless, during the Covid-19 lockdowns we worked hard to move our existing clients to an online setting, observing the challenges and different techniques needed, and decided to develop our open-ended and highly personalised Accent Reduction at Home program.

 

You should always prioritise good face-to-face training if the opportunity exists, but if it truly isn’t possible for you then we believe it is better to get our expert help online rather than being frustrated.

Our 45-minute online lessons are still tailored, analytical and flexible, but our focus is a bit different to our face-to-face training because it takes longer to build skills when learning remotely. Everyone is different, so training lasts as long as you want.

All of your lessons are with one expert trainer (either Dr Debbie Loakes or Dr Duncan Markham). One trainer, specialist training materials, and additional web-based resources. There’s nothing better online!

How does it work?

We start with a brief video chat to check that your devices and connection are good enough for doing serious, focused online learning. You then do some short recordings for analysis purposes before your first training session, plus a detailed questionnaire to understand your background and goals.

Training then gets into some very specific problems you’re having that we know are generally easier to master online. This lays the foundation for adding more challenging elements to training, depending on your progress.

 

Insight is the first step towards improvement and confidence. As rapport and practice increase, we are able to focus more on implementation of the new skills in real-life communication situations. (In our face-to-face training we would start doing this earlier, but we need to be realistic about the effectiveness of online learning.)

Unlike other providers, we aren’t just telling you a problem and then moving on to the next issue. We’re always focused on insight, mastery and implementation of new knowledge in your everyday life.

FAQs

I live in Melbourne. Can I take the online program?

You can, but you shouldn’t. Don’t let online convenience blind you to the value of face-to-face learning of something as challenging as accent.

Who is Ear & Speak?

Ear & Speak was established in 2002 in Melbourne, Australia, by Dr Duncan Markham, an experienced lecturer and researcher in phonetics and psycholinguistics. Dr Debbie Loakes joined the team a few years later. Please see more at our profile page.

Is the Accent Reduction at Home program similar to Ear & Speak's normal face-to-face training?

To some extent, yes, but in the Accent Reduction at Home training we aren’t spending as much time on the bigger picture (elocution, fine detail, conversational skill, vocabulary development, grammar, etc).

How do you decide which issues are most important?

A number of factors are considered when we prepare to start your training:

  • Your reasons for joining the Accent Reduction at Home program
  • Your occupation and likely audience when speaking
  • Your language background and how much English you speak
  • Your answers to the language questionnaires after registration
  • The likely difficulty of making certain changes
How is Ear & Speak's online accent training different from other products on the market?
  • The level of useful, practical detail in terms of both feedback and instruction, is unmatched by any other service (to our knowledge).
  • We deliberately focus you on the most important issues, rather than giving you a checklist of every mistake and leaving you unable to work on them by yourself.
  • Our personalisation of your training is obvious in video sessions and the unique Your Sounds webpages that you will have access to.
Who is the Accent Reduction at Home program suitable for?

It is most suitable for second-language speakers of English with strong to moderate accents. It can also be useful for some other speakers of English with accent/pronunciation issues that people frequently notice, but more subtle issues can be impossible to work on successfully online.

You don’t need to know a lot about the technical details of English pronunciation, but you will need to try to understand some of the symbols used in dictionaries in order to solve some problems effectively. We try to explain things as simply as possible, but as changing your accent is difficult, some details will still be unfamiliar and perhaps challenging.

High-quality face-to-face training is always the best solution if you can access it.

Are you going to make me sound Australian?

The sessions focus on issues that cause problems for people trying to understand you, and as you’re probably living in Australia, the listeners are people who are expecting Australian English as the basic “model” of English.

However, as long as your accent/pronunciation can be easily understood by listeners, the focus is not on Australian English, but on clarity.

If you tell us that you would prefer to sound more Australian, then of course some of the issues we identify may be different for you than for someone who only wants to be clearly understood.

How can I make the most of the program?

We’ve designed the training so that each problem is described in detail with clear examples, so that you can work by yourself or with a friend between sessions. The Your Sounds webpages will provide additional material (wordlists, audio, video) for many of your issues.

To get the most benefit, you’ll need to make time for frequent practice and make sure you try to make the necessary changes in your everyday communication.

Can I achieve the same progress in the Accent Reduction at Home program as I would if I were attending face-to-face training?

Unfortunately not. But as not everyone lives in a major city or has time to attend training, the Accent Reduction at Home program is a very useful, careful designed compromise. And remember, it doesn’t matter whether you live in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart or a smaller place near or far, we’re unaware of any other service provider with our level of experience and expertise!

Can I have face-to-face training with Ear & Speak as well?

Certainly, if you’re coming to Melbourne sometime. If you would like to combine Accent Reduction at Home with infrequent more advanced training, it’s a great solution, but make sure you discuss this idea with us beforehand, as our schedule is usually full at short notice.

I am overseas. Can I use the Accent Reduction at Home service?

Certainly. Keep in mind that it’ll be harder to make significant progress if you aren’t speaking English a lot between sessions.

Fees for online training

Click here for information about our face-to-face training fees and location in Melbourne.

ONLINE TRAINING (Accent Reduction at Home)

First three 45-min lessons$426 (=$142 per lesson)
Further training: single lesson$142 per lesson
Further training: three lessons (discounted)$387 (=$129 per lesson)

We only work with clients who are committed to making progress, so the minimum cost is three sessions.

Fees effective until 2022. All fees are in Australian Dollars. We accept OSKO instant bank transfer, Visa, Mastercard and American Express. All cards attract a surcharge of 2-3%, depending on the card.

Enquiry form

This enquiry form is for online training only. Click here for information about our advanced face-to-face accent reduction training in Melbourne.

If you live in Melbourne you should not be choosing online training except in very special situations. We can’t emphasise strongly enough how much more can be learnt by attending advanced face-to-face training! We know people often want to prioritise time or convenience, but think about why you want to make changes… (Few people would seriously prefer online physiotherapy or swimming or public speaking classes… the value of physical presence, observation and feedback should never be forgotten.)

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