Karen Van Hook, Ph.D.

Accent and Voice Coaching
For both Native Speakers and
Speakers of English as a Foreign Language

Yes, you can.

You can change your accent. If you speak English as a foreign language, you already know the pronunciation isn’t easy. The good news is that no matter how long you’ve been speaking English, you can learn more native-like pronunciation. You can learn to pronounce even the most difficult sounds of American English correctly. And you can learn to use more of the rhythm and “music” of the native sound, including the voice qualities, if you want.

If you’re a native speaker of British or Australian English and you want a convincing American accent, you can learn to change the way you use your throat, to capture the American voice qualities. And if you’re a native speaker of North American English and you just want to make a change in your sound—to sound louder, deeper, more confident, etc.—that’s usually do-able as well.

What are your goals?

Do you want to sound much more fluent and native-like? Maybe you’re an advanced speaker—everyone understands you without a problem, but you’d like to sound more fluent, natural and confident. Or maybe you still have people asking you to repeat yourself—you’d like everyone to understand you easily.

Or maybe you’re a British actor trying to make it in American television. Whatever your background and whatever level you’re at, you can acquire a more native-like American accent and learn new voice qualities, if that is your goal. The idea of “Chosen Voice” is that it’s not one-size-fits-all: different people want different things for their voices. You choose what goals you want to reach.

Learning a New Accent is Like Driving on the Other Side of the Road (except less dangerous)

When you learn a new accent, you learn new muscle habits: new ways of moving the tongue and jaw and lips, new ways of using the muscles in the throat. Of course, the habits of our first accent are very deeply rooted. It’s very important to understand: we can’t expect the new habits to become automatic instantly. Speaking with our first accent is so automatic that it feels as if we’re not doing anything at all. Naturally, we want the new accent to feel effortless as well—and it can. But we need to take a step back and give the new accent a chance to get established.

The first time I went to the United Kingdom, I thought that driving on the left side of the road should feel just like driving on the right—except, of course, that it would be “mirror image”. I actually studied before our trip: I learned UK traffic signs and road markings, and I watched youtube videos of “dash cam” footage from the UK, to get used to how things would look on the left. I thought I was very well prepared. But the first few days of driving on the left were a nightmare.

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Online Workshops for Japanese Speakers

I’m now doing online intensive workshops for small groups of native Japanese speakers. Information in Japanese is available at this link.  Information in English continues below.


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Schedule a Free Consultation Now

Schedule a free half-hour meeting online or in my office. We will evaluate your pronunciation and talk about your goals. No obligation.

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689 Somerville Ave, Suite D
Somerville MA 02143