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Ep. 18: “Is there such a thing as a ‘natural’ accent?”

“There are so many different ways that that transition into a new color of your accent can happen. It can be learned, or it can be something that you don’t even realize is happening.” – Kevin Clayette

In this episode, I’m joined by my longtime client and friend, Kevin Clayette. Kevin is an actor originally from the French-speaking island of New Caledonia. He’s also lived in Australia, England, and now the US and he asked the question, “Is there such a thing as a natural accent?” Like many people who have moved around the world, Kevin’s accent has changed over the years and while he can consciously change his accent to be “American” or “Australian” or “French,” he’s not quite sure how to describe his “natural” accent…that is, his accent when he’s not conscious of being in an accent.

Interview Highlights: 

  • Why there’s no such a thing as a natural accent.

  • Why there’s no such thing as losing or “reducing” or “neutralizing” your accent.

  • Why it’s usually more difficult for L2 speakers (people for whom English is their second language) to learn the So-Called-General-American Accent than it is for people whose first language is English.

  • Why it’s important to sense your oral posture (aka posture aka vocal tract posture) in your own accent and knowing what to shift in order to sound authentic in a different accent.

  • The benefits and drawbacks of using mimicry as a tool for embodying an accent.

  • The importance of rooting your accent exploration in play.

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