What some English people feel when there hear foreign accents

We conducted research among native English people who work with non-native English speakers. We asked them what they thought about colleagues with a foreign accent that is difficult to understand. These were their replies:

·       Frustration;

·       Anxiety;

·       Doubt if they are being understood;

·       Accent distracting them from what is being said.

We run courses for diplomats and professionals in London. We have had people on our courses who have been living in England for many years, but because they never learned how to pronounce English sounds correctly, they sounded as if they had only just arrived in this country. They told us they felt inadequate because they were being asked to repeat themselves because of their bad pronunciation. In fact only a few days ago, on 24 September 2017 there was a BBC program about a Polish lady who decided to get rid of her accent. Here is the link:


Get Rid of your Accent: Motivations



You probably heard how sometimes English people call foreign accents sexy and charming. Why do you think people want to get rid of them? I will tell you why in this article.


We have been running accent reduction courses for diplomats and professionals for the last 12 years. We help people make their English clear and precise and they are no longer being asked to repeat themselves.


Moreover, if you speak with the right accent, namely Received Pronunciation (RP) it also open doors to high societyrespect associated with it, and last but not least much more money. Let me present a few examples given to us by our students:


"I work as an IT consultant, but because I speak with a strong Spanish accent and not all what I say is being understood, I am not invited to meetings. I know if I don't start speak more clearly, I will be starring at the PC screen and have the same salary for many years to come..."


"After your accent reduction course I got promoted to an area manager, and now I want to master my speech even more as it became absolutely clear to me that communication is power."


"I am a dietician in Chelsea and all my clients have posh accent (RP). In order to be trusted by my clients I need to improve my accent".


Our Turkish student working as Stock Exchange trader in London told us what her manager said to her: "If you don't lose you accent you lose your job". On the trading floor people are so stressed and have no time to understand thick foreign accents.


My business partner from Silicon valley told me that there are many Chinese and Indian IT specialists working there earning peanuts because it's difficult to understand their English. He further specified: they are making $100k now, but if they changed their accent they would make $400.


All I can say the choice is yours - you are either stay sexy and charming earning peanuts, or you sort out your speech and make serious money.


We start our next Accent Reduction course on 22 May, all details are on www.batcsglobal.com


I wish you all prosperity!


Don't learn it, just speak it!

For the last two months I have been travelling to Thailand, Spain and Israel. I tried to speak with local people in English and realised that the conversation didn't go beyond twenty words of a very basic vocabulary. People told me that they learned English for five to seven years in schools, but according to their level of speech it felt they learned it for two days maximum. How come? It turned out they learned spelling and grammar for those seven years, but rarely spoke .

Also, I met many people who have been living in the UK for thirty years and they still speak in pidgin English. Some of them were PhDs and they complained to me that people treated them like morons because of their primitive English. Well, the reason for their poor English was that they made a choice to stick to their native community (Iranian, Russian, Spanish etc.) and to not pursue English. Interestingly enough, their passive vocabulary was often very good as they could write well, read books and papers, but they didn't dare to use this vocabulary in their speech, because they were not sure how to pronounce it and it made them shy to use it.

One of my friends is a Chinese lady who has been living in London for seven years and has an English boyfriend. She is still hesitant to speak English , she constantly repeats: "I learn English, but it's very difficult... I am not good, it's very hard". No wonder, she learns English for an hour twice a week, but then she speaks in Chinese for the rest of the time.

I decided to do a little experiment with my Chinese friend. Firstly, I told her to say to herself and others that English is easy and that she speaks good English, because when she was constantly repeating that her English was bad, to me it sounded like a self-programming for having bad English. Secondly, I gave her three new short phrases a day and asked her to repeat them five times several times a day. Thirdly, I asked her to reduce the time she speaks in Chinese and gradually increased the time she speaks in English and use the new phrases. After just a week her confidence to speak was so much higher and she felt powerful as a person.

For all who learn English I want to recommend three things:

1. Stop learning English, and start speaking it by repeating three new useful phrases several times a day. Your speech organ muscles will get used to English, you will enlarge your vocabulary and gain confidence to speak. Repeating, repeating and repeating, like parrots!

2. Reduce the time of speaking in your native language and increase the time you speak in English.

3. Listen to English TV and Radio channels, make a note of phrases you hear and repeat them five times several times a day. In the past I met Greeks, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and their English was advanced. Guess what these countries have in common: English TV channels that are not translated into their native language.

If you have been struggling with your English and want to improve it write to oriana_r@hotmail.com to get a free guidance, get our paper-back books with CDs from Amazon, audio books in series Get Rid of your Accent from Audible, or download our apps: get rid of your accent uk1 from Google Play and AppStore , and fluent English speech from the AppStore.


All our products have audio tracks recorded by trained actors, just listen and repeat after them.

I wish you to be empowered by your outstanding English!


Fluency in English

Today I would to talk about how to achieve fluency in English.

Once you have sorted out your English sounds, yournext step would be to work on fluency.

What does this work involve:

1. Using schwa, or neutral vowel in prepositions (for, from, to, etc) and articles (a, an, the), thus "throwing away unimportant words", an expression used by actors.

2. Liaise prepositions with words (eg: in common, at home, etc.) , do not make pauses between words and prepositions they belong to.

3. Speak in phrases or "word blocks", rather than in separate words, connecting words in a phrase.

For example in a phrase "I'd like a cup of tea", we have two blocks: 1. I'd like , and 2. a cup of tea.

In our book Get Rid of your Accent, Advanced level, ISBN 09553300017 we give you many practice for your fluency.

More on our web site: www.batcsglobal.com

Elocution Tips

Very often many of our clients ask us:

How many lessons do they need with a teacher?

How often and for how long do they need to do exercises from our elocution books and apps to neutralise their foreign or regional accent?

Our answer is this:


  1. Have elocution lessons once or twice a week with a qualified speech tutor. Many of our students told us that when they practice on their own they do not always know their starting point, what exactly they are doing wrong and what is the best way to improve. The teacher with save you time to achieve your goal.
  2. Practice daily. 15 min in the morning, 15 min after lunch and 15 min in the evening. Incremental progress is the key to success. It’s better to do it regularly for a short period of time, rather than once a week for a couple of hours.
  3. Focus on one sound for 3 days. It is believed that to eliminate a mistake you have to repeat it in the correct way for 292 times.

Speech workshop at the residence of the Russian Ambassador in London


Ambassador of the Russian Federation

to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 


"I was very surprised to attend so interesting class which as I’ve noticed everybody enjoyed. I’ve spoken to my colleagues and all of them have found it very productive.

As I learned French phonetics I could say that your method is very useful because you start from the base matters (how to move a tongue in a right way). From my point of view it is quite difficult to learn any matter and especially phonetics with no attending any classes. Because the teacher gives much more than a book. And your proved it 100%."

Thank you once again for your course.

 Stanislav Suprunenko

Head of the Ambassador’s Office 

Get Rid of your Accent Workshop

During their visit to the Bell Language School in London Iraqi teachers had the opportunity to receive a workshop from Olga Smith, centered around the series of best-selling pronunciation books "Get Rid of Your Accent". They are visiting London to improve their English teaching skills and the workshop was great fun for them.  The part they liked the most were the short tips that are easy to follow, so we want to share them with you here.

Tips to master pronunciation rapidly

Teachers can give the following tips to their students:

1.    Avoid speaking in your native language. Speaking in your native language will prevent you from memorising the correct placement of the speech organs and developing the speech organ muscles for the English sounds.

2.    Avoid speaking too fast, pronounce every syllable. Many people are not able to make clear sounds when speaking rapidly and these lead to indistinct or ‘woolly’ speech”.

3.    Read newspapers, magazines and books out loud. Audio books are fantastic to listen to and to imitate the correct pronunciation.

4.    Do regular weekly recording exercises:
•    Record yourself reading, 
•    Listen to your tape, 
•    Make a note of sounds where you made a mistake in pronunciation,
•    Practice the sounds where you made a mistake with this book.

5.    Learn poems and read them expressively; modulate your voice; go to the theatre and join Toastmaster club in your area.

Lose your accent or your will lose your job!

A few weeks ago I had a Turkish client who works in London Stock Exchange. She said that her boss told her that if she doesn't lose her accent she will lose her job. Asides from the obvious Human Resource issues this statement creates, there is an underlying theme here that I have seen again and again. She told that her working environment is so fast and demanding, people simply don't have patience to try and comprehend accents that are unfamiliar to them.
This experience is typical for the multiple foreign workers who have been fortunate enough to land work in the UK. Many other struggle to even get past the interview stage due to inherent prejudices against accents by hiring managers.

Yes, we should be promoting equal rights opportunities for all workers and yes, we should be stamping out prejudices like the one experienced by my client in the workplace. However, the reality is that these prejudices or opinions are not something that will disappear. They have been part of society since we began and will continue to be so.

What can be done therefore to address this challenge?
The choices unfortunately are limited. The only person who can really affect change is the person with the accent! I have seen and worked with many people who have struggled in their professional life and who have been held back because of an accent. It is surprisingly easy to overcome and to change one's accent but stay tuned to this blog to read more stories of how accents have affected people's career progression and professional (and sometimes personal) success!

X Factor Judge Cheryl Cole Dropped From Show Because Of Accent

Author: Kelly West published: 2011-05-25 20:47:53

If the real reason Cheryl Cole was dropped as a judge from Fox’s upcoming U.S. remake of the popular U.K. talent competition The X Factor is to be believed, the producers are underestimating the American public’s intelligence, or at the very least, our ability to understand a British accent, to an almost insulting degree. 

TMZ is reporting that Cheryl Cole has been dropped from the upcoming Fox talent competition The X Factor because producers were “concerned her English accent would be too difficult for an American audience to understand.” Just for some frame of reference, below is a video featuring Cole on the British X Factor. Watch it and see if you can figure out what she’s saying. Sure, she has an accent but would that really be an issue for American viewers? Simon’s been speaking with a British accent for an American audience for over a decade and somehow we’ve all managed to figure out what he’s talking about. Interpreting Paula Abdul’s commentary, on the other hand, was sometimes a challenge. 

Speaking of Abdul, TMZ adds that they were told that there is a “lack of chemistry” between Abdul and Cole. Whether that’s vague, insider-speak for “they don’t like each other,” or there’s simply something off in the dynamic between the two, it’s likely that it played at least some part in Cole being dropped and reportedly replaced by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, who was originally set to co-host the show. If one of the two had to go, it’s logical that the producers would keep the more familiar face around. 

Accents can be toned down. This is just speculation, but I’m calling drama on this one.