Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hold your tongue...

...your jaw, and your lips, to reduce your accent, say the big bucks accent reducers:

...Jennifer Pawlitschek, said that from her experience in New York, the field is growing. "Here it's hot, and I think it's because it's an international crossroads," she said, both because the United Nations is in the city and because of New York's role in global financial markets.

Pawlitschek, who has a Master of Fine Arts degree in drama from the University of California, Irvine, said "the posture of the mouth" affects accent. She teaches how to change "the way you hold your jaw, lips and tongue," along with stress and intonation.

....Another coach, Brian Loxley, has a doctorate in speech from Southern Illinois University as well as degrees in theater. He began helping foreign-born students in 1983, when he headed the speech and theater program at Pace University in White Plains, New York.

Loxley said speaking English correctly allows "people to look at you like you're a leader and your ideas count." His clients, he explained, are "educated and brilliant people but they're having trouble making themselves understood."

....Judy Ravin, who runs the Accent Reduction Institute, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said the institute works with clients directly and offers books, CDs and other teaching tools. Ravin developed her program, which is called the Ravin Method, in 1998 while teaching English pronunciation at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.

....Training fees and duration vary. At the Accent Reduction Institute, group training begins at about $40 an hour per person, and individual training at $100 an hour, with additional fees for materials. What Ravin calls "Webinars" can cost as little as $20 an hour, and clients "can dial in from anywhere in the world and have a live presentation." She believes "people should expect results quickly, after 10 to 15 hours."

Pawlitschek charges from $75 an hour for semiprivate lessons and $100 to $125 an hour for private ones.

Loxley coaches individually at a fee of $150 an hour, or $210 for a 90-minute session, plus material and travel time, though most clients visit him.

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