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US company Accent Reduction Institute has highlighted the training side of this year’s Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Florida, with their training programme for speakers of English as a second language.

ARI president Judy Ravin told the company’s training systems help individuals to reduce their own accent and understand others’ accented English by retraining their auditory systems.

Ravin says globalisation means countries are increasingly cooperating in military taskforces, where the importance of understanding is “kicked up a few notches”.

“In these types of urgent situations there is absolutely no time to say to somebody ‘what, what did you say?'”

ARI also offers a programme called “tuning your ear to accents” to assist native English speakers to understand those who speak heavily accented English.

Ravin says ARI uses the proprietary Ravin Method, and teaches students online via interactive video and interactive software.

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She says learning to change speech habits is not just a matter of “listen and repeat”, but there is also a visual process.

“There’s a visual process that people need to go through to learn how to pronounce sounds that don’t occur in their own language,” she says.

“Whether working with American or foreign nationals, our mission is to help people maintain their unique cultural identity while removing language barriers.”

By staff writer