Saar, K.W., Harn, M., Manchaiah, V. & Danielle, E.
International Journal of Speech & Language Pathology and Audiology, 4(2), 74-85.
Publication year: 2016

Abstract

While a foreign or regional accent may preserve ties to cultural and ethnic identities, some individuals choose to seek accent management services to improve employment prospects or because of a personal desire to sound more like native speakers. English is a dominant language within the global economy and speech intelligibility plays a role in successful professional communications. Although an accent is a language difference and not a disorder, speech-language pathologists are uniquely suited to provide such services due to their training in segmental and prosodic aspects of speech. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a 14-session program targeting segmental and prosodic aspects of American English resulted in increased intelligibility on both scripted and spontaneous speech tasks. A pre-post-test small group design as well as individual performance of seven speakers of various native languages was used to examine outcomes. Statistically significant pre-post differences were noted on intelligibility measures of spontaneous and scripted speech tasks. Large effect sizes were observed. These preliminary findings suggest that accent management instruction designed to target both segmental and prosodic aspects of American English has promise.