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(415) 586-2944 | cell (415) 254-2019
Welcome to Contemporary Speech and Voice Services
Copyright 2012: Contemporary Speech and Voice Services |
Speech Improvement | All rights reserved. 415 586-2944
Speech Improvement Services
How My Online Speech Therapy Program All Began
Listen, View and Imitate is the result of many years of personal research and development. It started as far back as 1984 when I opened Contemporary Speech and Voice Services as a part-time private practice to help people with accented speech to become better understood. I shopped around for my clients, but very few audio-visual pronunciation programs were available.
In group and private sessions, I quickly learned that professional people with accented speech don’t have---and don’t want to spend---a lot of time to correct the way they talk. Although, generally speaking, they were fast learners, their plates were already full with the many activities of their professional careers. What they needed was a fast, efficient, client-friendly system that engaged their intelligence and delivered tangible results that made learning fun and increased their confidence but that did not waste their time.
Thanks to the wide range of clients from over fifty countries I was serving, I also noticed that, no matter what their first language may have been, people who speak English as a second language invariably make similar mistakes: they say their vowels all too briefly, they speak with no melody and they fail to pause long enough between words in a sentence. Because every word in English contains vowels---and vowels carry the melody AND the meaning of what we say---the result was that my clients were often being misunderstood even when they said words correctly. Because they were unaware that American English works best with melody and appropriate pausing, I found that if clients with accented speech corrected their vowels, made their vowels last longer, added a little melody and paused in the right places, at least half of the difficulties in being misunderstood disappeared.
I further discovered that changing intonation while reading highlighted text aloud produced immediate and positive results.
In group sessions I urged students to nod and smile in agreement when they heard a student speak with proper intonation. This created additional motivation, but like my search for audio-visual aids, a method for teaching intonation was just not available. So I began to study recordings of various people speaking to determine where and how the melody and pausing of American English happens. In 1991, while director of the Foreign Accent Reduction Program at the University of Texas Speech and Hearing Institute in Houston, I developed an easy but foolproof method for highlighting text in order for my clients to read aloud with meaningful intonation. By learning the five parts of speech where rising intonation takes place, my students easily and quickly identified where to pause while reading aloud. I found that reading aloud this way offered students a broader and more valuable learning than trying to correct their specific speech sounds.
As a result of teaching intonation, awareness of melody, vowel production and duration, my students became better understood in a shorter period of time. Changing the intonation pattern to match that of American English increased their ability to be understood even when mispronunciations occurred. It also addressed another mistake many speakers of English as a second language make: monotone speech. Monotone speech and correct pronunciation is actually harder to understand than speech with melody and incorrect pronunciation. Melody and pauses between words help the listener process what’s being said.
My job with Listen, View and Imitate is to give you the most powerful tool in your speech improvement tool box by making you the beneficiary of all these years of study with people learning to speak American English and uniting all these successful components in one learning package involving reading, writing, seeing, hearing, imitating, practicing and constantly improving. If you have any more questions about accent therapy, call me today. (415) 586-2944 |
Whatever Your Profession,
One Skill Leads to Success: Communication
You know your products, facts or figures. But if you don't communicate effectively, you face a barrier to success. Consider how you present yourself.
- Does an accent prevent people from understanding you?
- Do you often need to repeat yourself?
- Does your voice have appropriate pitch, intonation and projection?
Mr. Eugene O'Reilly, M.A. CCC SLP a Speech Therapist, specializing in communication enhancement, can help you communicate more successfully. Call today. Find out if communication is a barrier, instead of the key to your professional success.
Please call Eugene O'Reilly
at (415) 586-2944
to discuss your interest
and to schedule a session.