Sometimes different accents are so difficult to understand, they sometimes sound like a different language all together. Originally in Beijing, many American friends couldn’t understand my Australian English accent. But after hanging out with so many for so long, my accent has become a blend where sometimes even Americans think I am American.
Since communication is such an important part of life, a new app called ‘ICANSIA American Accent for Chinese Speakers’, available on the Apple App Store, has been released to help people understand each other better. The app teaches you how to speak with a more natural American accent using speech training techniques and exercises. The accent coaching market is not very widely known, but apparently it is in demand from business people, people that want to adapt to a new country and of course actors. Perhaps it would suit Chinese students who are preparing to study in America and want to assimilate faster.
The surprising thing is that this app wasn’t even developed by a native American. It was developed by Claudette Roche, an English born accent coach who now lives in Los Angeles. Roche says her unique talent for accents was amplified by her constant surrounding of different accents including English (Cockney, London, Manchester etc), Irish, Jamaican, Indian, Scottish, Italian, French (France, Morocco, Québec), Greek, Russian, Chinese, Polish, Canadian, New Yorkese, Lebanese. Roche is also an award winning actress and a veteran of stage and screen. She has appeared in TV shows such as The Game, Cold Case and Without a Trace.
I played around with the app a bit and it seems more like an instructional video than an interactive app. She (Roche) first explains a word like “or”, and tells you how you would probably say it then tells you how an American would say it. Then you practice by repeating how she said it.
The first release is aimed at native Chinese speakers to learn the American accent but, there are other languages in the pipeline too, namely Japanese, Korean, Indian, Spanish and Russian.
So if you have a real need to learn to speak like an American; or just want to be better understood by your American friends, try it out.