Why do some people choose "accent modification"? I used quotation marks because what I help people achieve is more than just clear pronunciation and that's what most people think "accent modification" is. It's more than that. It's really about connecting with people and the first way to do that is for you to feel comfortable approaching and speaking to them and for you to make them feel comfortable listening to you.
In general, people don't like to work hard at listening. If your speech is so different than the group you want to talk to, they won't have much patience to listen to you because it requires effort on their part. When you can speak in the same style and manner as the group you want to talk to, it will be easy for them and they'll want to hear more and learn more about you. By learning how to modify your speech so you can be understood more easily by different groups, you have more options of people to talk to, friends to meet, jobs to apply for, colleagues to work with.
Spoken English and written English are very different. When people try to speak English the same way they write it, speech can sound too correct and unnatural. To sound more natural, you can learn the rules of casual speech. Casual speech isn't slang. It's the style of speaking that native speakers use that involves short-cuts, connections, and sound changes. By learning these short-cuts, you can start with practice of common expressions and phrases that native speakers are used to and that could open the door to a new conversation, a new friend, or a new world.
For example- try saying these out loud:
What it looks like: "How is it going?"
What it sounds like: "howzitgowin?" ("how's it goin'?")
What it looks like: "What are you going to do tonight?"
What it sounds like: "whutchuh gonnuh do duhnite?"
Multiple changes happen from the written to spoken English, and I can teach you the rules, but more importantly, I can help you feel more comfortable speaking in this way so it feels and sounds natural for you and your listener (American English listener). People choose accent modification for many different reasons, but the goal isn't about sounding perfect, it's about connecting with people and sharing meaningful moments. Knowing how to open that door is the first step.
Dr. Christi Barb's Blog:
Thinking About Speaking