Sure, many people might say that Southern accents are charming, interesting, and unique. Unfortunately, however, Southern accents can also sometimes cause a person to be perceived as uneducated, poor, or even a person who is weak and ineffectual. In the business world and in many other arenas, a Southern accent can hold you back more often than it can push you ahead.
For those who wish to lose their southern accent, it might initially seem like a daunting task, but in fact it can be quite simple when the proper steps are taken. Here are five simple steps which will help you to lose your Southern accent and exchange it for a less distinctive way of speaking.
Step one in losing a Southern accent should be deciding upon exactly which sort of accent you would prefer. To make the most natural transition, it is best to choose another accent from within your own country of origin. Within the United States there are many different accents to choose from, including Midwestern, New England, and West Coast accents. Select the accent which you admire the most, and try to also choose one which you hear in your daily life if possible.
Step two is to start listening! This is the study phase of losing your Southern accent. There are many excellent resources which will allow you to listen to your accent of choice, with the most helpful often being DVDs, internet courses, and television programs and movies set in the region whose accent you are trying to adopt. Listen to the accent you seek to duplicate on a regular basis, even as you drive to work or prepare for bed: it will help acclimatize you, and get you to think of this as the natural way of speaking.
Step three - after about a week of listening to everything you can find with your new accent, you will be ready to start imitating it. You don't have to get it perfect or repeat everything you hear: just repeat a few words each day, until you begin to think of those words in a whole new way. Every day, add a few new words until you gradually are repeating sentences without your Southern accent.
Step four: Make a recording of yourself speaking with the new accent. Don't try to overthink it, simply read a few paragraphs aloud from a book. You can then play the recording, listening carefully to any mistakes that might have slipped in. This will help you to pick the "Southernisms" from your speaking voice.
The final step is when you finally debut your new accent. The best way to do this is with people who don't actually know you. Try out your new accent on the grocery store clerk or the gas station attendant: they will probably think you have no Southern accent at all and are visiting from out of town!