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Overcoming a Foreign Accent in English: Fareed Zakaria & Shakira

Many people have worked through the seemingly insurmountable hurdle of a foreign accent in English. Non-native English speakers are part of every field from medicine to politics, and acting to academia.


For some, accent reduction therapy becomes a non-option—they begin to understand that a foreign accent is the only thing holding them back. They hold Ph.Ds., are high-level executives, and are pillars of their communities. But the glass ceiling many have in common is a thick accent in a world where knowing how to speak English like an American is a skill that no price tag can measure.
Fareed Zakaria proved his leadership, intelligence, and aptitude as a scholar and journalist after coming to the US from India. His accent didn’t hold him back. After graduating from Yale and Harvard, Zakaria experienced enormous success in writing and delivering English language speeches, articles, books, and broadcasts. While he does have the classic Indian intonation, his English is perfect, and his delivery is decidedly that of someone who has practiced spoken English as a lifestyle, not as an exercise. In his multiple-award winning book, The Post-American World, Zakaria writes, “Choose priorities rather than trying to have it all.” Learning to speak English better than most natives has given him the opportunity to achieve anything.
On the polar end of the spectrum: musician Shakira. The Latina pop queen has countless awards and millions of albums sold. After her debut on The Voice, social networks lit up with the question: Where did Shakira’s accent go? After years of public ridicule for her accent, it’s clear Shakira underwent a transformation before entering the spotlight where speaking—rather than singing—would be the emphasis. The accent reduction is unmistakable, but no one can say how she learned to speak English like an American, or how she did it so fast.
English pronunciation classes are not just for the wealthy and famous. Everyone who works hard to educate themselves and create their own success is entitled to all that comes with it, and in the US, being able to speak accent-free English is as important as any other part of an educational curriculum.
For more information on how to reduce your accent and improve your spoken English, visit Speaking confidently and clearly in English is the difference between what’s possible and what is real for many outstanding professionals and career-minded individuals who speak English as a second language.


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 Shakira The Voice
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