by Stephanie Bickel
If you are someone seeking to reduce your Indian accent, it is important to remember several important points. Reduce your rate of speech, use precise articulation, and practice consistently to accelerate your progress. This will help you feel more confident and boost your communication skills with your teams, clients, and stakeholders.
1. Slow down.
In order to speak clearly and produce each sound with ease, it is necessary to slow down and take more pauses. If you speak at a naturally rapid rate, this will be more difficult, but it is doable. In order to slow down, take a breath in-between each verbal comma or period - especially when starting a new sentence or thought. Speak at a slower rate to articulate every sound clearly when stringing words/sentences together. When you slow down, you’re able to focus more on each sound you articulate. To hold yourself accountable, ask those you trust to provide honest feedback in regards to your speech and articulation clarity. Also, record yourself and listen back so you can self-assess your speech and clarity.
2. Articulate your sounds with precision.
Common sounds that get confused by those who speak English with an Indian Accent are: V/W, TH, and R. In addition, there are several vowel variations. Also, multi-syllabic words may tend to be rushed through and parts of words can be left out or eaten up. Once again, rate of speech plays a role here, too.
/v/: upper teeth bite bottom lip gently
/w/: both lips come together then release, no teeth
Refer to word lists (at bottom) for practice
Produce /th/ with your tongue in-between your teeth
Examples: think, thought, there, those, thank
Produce /r/ stronger by bringing your lips further out, and pulling your tongue more up and back in your mouth
The /r/ is stronger in English
Take vs. Tech; Sale vs. Sell
Flash vs. Flesh, Man vs. Men, Salary vs. Celery
OH-oo and AW: Low vs. Law; Boat vs. Bought; Coat vs. Caught
Make sure to produce multi-syllabic words with stress on correct syllable (listen online if needed)
Examples: sophisticated, information, communication, combination, distribution, distributor, whenever, beginning, development, eliminate, economical, environmental
3. Practice makes progress.
In order to reduce your Indian accent, you must be committed to daily practice. The changes won’t happen overnight, so you must also be patient with yourself. Remember to warm up lips and tongue. Practice how to produce each target consonant and vowel sound in isolation, in words, and then in meaningful sentences. Enunciate each sound and syllable. Be loud and clear. For more daily practice, incorporate tongue twister exercises. Also, watch and listen to other professionals and people you admire who speak with Indian accented English. Notice what they do to sound more clear, reduce their rate of speech, and hold your attention. Create a word list of difficult words to produce, then review those lists on a daily basis for practice and to feel more comfortable with productions.
Listen to Priyanka Chopra talk about her work on her American accent for inspiration.
'V' Word List:
'W' Word List:
More words to add:
However (separate into 2 words -- how/ever)
Overview (separate into 2 words -- over/view)
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