Karen Van Hook, Ph.D.

News & Articles

Learning a New Accent is Like Driving On the Other Side of the Road

When you learn a new accent, you learn new muscle habits: new ways of moving the tongue and jaw and lips, and even the muscles in the throat. But the new habits don’t become automatic right away. Speaking with our first accent is automatic. Naturally, we want the new accent to feel effortless—and it can. But we need to give the new accent a chance to get “rooted” in our muscle memory.

The first time I went to the UK, I thought that driving on the left side of the road should feel just like driving at home—except “mirror image”. But the first day of driving on the left was a nightmare. I hit a curb and burst a tire.

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.


When is a Foreign Accent an Asset?

Some speakers of English as a foreign language want to retain aspects of their own accents, and there are good reasons for them to do so. The key is knowing when and how a foreign accent becomes an advantage.

American Accent Setting: Foundation for an excellent accent.

Some accent reduction programs focus only on correcting individual sounds. Why a more comprehensive, integrated approach gets you better results.