Voices of the World Speech Therapy

Accent-reduction service finds central location



A graduate of The University of Texas set out to utilize her linguistics degree and ended up opening her own business that helps individuals improve language skills.



Jane Rupp, owner of Voices of the World Speech Therapy, spends her days helping Austin-area residents with accents better communicate with other English speakers.



"I've always been interested in accent reduction because of my background in linguistics. You learn a lot about languages in general, and speech therapy was the practical application of my linguistics background," Rupp said. "In the Austin area there wasn't much [therapy] in accent reduction, so it's really kind of an untapped area of need for a lot of second-language learners."



One misconception Rupp said she is quick to dispel is the notion that she is somehow taking away part of someone's culture by coaching them to lose their accent.



"Many think that people are going to lose their culture if they do accent reduction, but really the way that I think of it and the way that my clients think of it is it's more of a pronunciation teaching that you never got in school," Rupp said.



Many people come to Rupp not to distance themselves from their culture but to be better understood among new friends in the community and in the workplace, she said.



Rupp's programs also help those who wish to enter show business without a distinctive accent as well as students who struggle to communicate during school because of their strong accent—basically anyone whose speech issues are language-based and not a result of a disorder, Rupp said.



Many classes for non-native English speakers focus more on teaching vocabulary words or grammatical rules instead of the proper pronunciation, and that is where Rupp said her help comes in handy.



"One of the main things that I hear is that they're frustrated they didn't learn this 20 years ago when they started learning English," Rupp said. "I love to see the light bulbs go off with people when you tell them about a word that has a different pronunciation than they thought, and they go, 'Wow that's why no one's been understanding me when I say that word for the past decade.'"



For a typical client who meets with Rupp once per week, she said the accent-reduction program lasts between five to six months, and others who meet with her twice per week can complete the program in about two to three months.



Sessions last 75 minutes each, and the entire program costs about $2,500, Rupp said.



Why is accent reduction important?



Accent reduction speech therapy allows non-native English speakers to learn unfamiliar sounds that are required when speaking English. For example, native French speakers do not typically incorporate the "th" sound in their language, so while speaking English that same "th" sound may unintentionally have more of a hard "t" or "-ze" sound.



Spanish-accented English



  • Vowel changes: "sit" sounds like "seat," "cup" sounds like "cop"

  • Consonant changes: "they" sounds like "day," "yell" sounds like "gel"

  • Devoicing of final consonants: "card" sounds like "cart"

  • Word stress errors such as "re-a-LIZE" for "RE-a-lize"

Vietnamese-accented English



  • Vowel and diphthong changes: "pain" sounds like "pen," "bad" sounds like "bed"

  • Final consonant deletion: "can't" sounds like "can"

  • Deletion of "n": "signed" sounds like "sighed"

  • Deletion of "r" after vowels: "cart" sounds like "caught"

  • Pronunciation of each word separately rather than attempting to link words together

Indian-accented English



  • Vowel changes: "last" sounds like "lost"

  • Consonant changes: "thin" sounds like "tin," "wet" sounds like "vet"

  • Retroflex tongue position (i.e. tongue curled back) for many consonant sounds such as "d" and "t"

  • Unstressed syllables not reduced: "today" sounds like "tuh-day" in American English but may sound like "too-day" in Indian-accented English

Source: Jane Rupp, Voices of the World Speech Therapy owner



Relocation from Round Rock



Rupp said she decided to move Voices of the World Speech Therapy from the Round Rock area to a Central Austin location because she received feedback from clients that they could meet more often if she was located in Austin. Meeting more often can help Rupp's clients graduate from the training and see desired results faster, she said. The move also comes at a time when Rupp said she hopes to get her name out in the community to those who have not heard of her previously because of her former location. She said she hopes to receive more new clients with the large and diverse population that Austin offers.



Voices of the World Speech Therapy, 5818 Balcones Drive, Ste. 200 ,512-431-7331, www.accentreductionaustin.com

By Jennifer Curington
Jennifer covers Austin City Council, its various committees and local business news. After covering Florida's 2013 legislative session she graduated from Georgia Southern University and joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2014.


MOST RECENT

Mercury Hall will close in 2021. (Courtesy Mercury Hall)
Mercury Hall property cleared for 5-story apartment development

Mercury Hall will close after 2021, and a dense multifamily development is set to arrive in its wake.

Buddy's Burger is open in Northeast Austin off of Cameron Road. (Courtesy Buddy's Burger)
Now open in Austin: Party Barn is back, drive-in movies downtown, burgers in North Austin and more

Blue Starlite began showing drive-in movies downtown in September. Buddy's Burger is open off Cameron Road and planning to expand to more locations, and new bar High Noon is open on the east side.

City Post is located at 113 E. Eighth St., Georgetown. (Courtesy City Post)
Georgetown to get steakhouse, speakeasy plus more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Easy Tiger announced Sept. 18 it had closed its downtown Austin location on Sixth Street. (Courtesy Easy Tiger)
Easy Tiger announces permanent closure of original Sixth Street location

The local bakery and restaurant remains open at the Linc and still plans to open in South Austin.

A photo of a "sold" sign
Central Austin August housing market numbers show high dollar-volume sales

While housing inventory remains low, home prices continue to rise.

Pflugerville's testing location is operated from 8 a.m.-noon Monday through Saturday where a maximum of 300 people can be tested each day at the site. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Coronavirus testing site in Pflugerville to move and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Lions Municipal Golf Course clubhouse (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
State-created Save Muny Historic District to take over concession responsibilities at historic golf course

Negotiations over the fate of the Lions Municipal Golf Course remain ongoing between the city and The University of Texas board of regents.

Central Health administrative building in Austin
Central Health finalizes budget with increased tax rate, more health care services for low-income residents

Local health care district Central Health is budgeting a nearly $20 million increase in health care delivery services for Austin’s low-income residents.

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Baylor Scott & White Health to host 9 Austin-area drive-thru flu shot clinics

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock.

A band performs at the Mohawk on Red River Street. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Six months into pandemic, Austin officials scrambling to save music venues, child care facilities and restaurants

City Council is set to begin making choices on which businesses to try to save on Oct. 1.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.