Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Online Accent Training

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According to research by Dean R. Hoge, PhD, and Aniedi Okure, OP*, the most common feedback given by U.S. parishioners about their international priest pastors is the difficulty they have in understanding their accents.

*International Priests in America: Challenges and Opportunities; Liturgical Press, 2006, p. 51

The Institute for Priests and Presbyterates' accent acquisition trainers offer a 13-week accent acquisition program using web-based audio and video technology. For curriculum, trainers use either web-based course materials, or the Speaking Pastoral English in America Course (S.P.E.A.C.) with its accompanying audio CD. Both methods provide individual, personalized training.

The Institute's trainers are certified in the Compton P-ESL accent acquisition method, which has been used successfully by thousands of clients in areas such as film, customer service and international business. Our instructors have helped priests in dioceses across the United States.

How it works

The training course is conducted in 13 weekly hour-long face-to-face sessions over the Internet. Your computer will need a high-speed Internet connection, webcam, microphone and speakers. Scheduling is flexible and can begin at any time convenient to both the student and the instructor.

At the conclusion of training, you (and your sponsoring diocese or religious community, if applicable) will receive a comprehensive report with the percent of improvement on your individualized target sounds and recommendations for specific target sounds requiring continued practice. See a sample final report below.

Depending on the trainer, curriculum for the IPP's accent acquisition training comes from either the Speaking Pastoral English in America Course (S.P.E.A.C.) workbook with accompanying audio CD, or from web-based materials associated with the Compton P-ESL method. Targeted sounds are assigned each week for daily practice between sessions.

Sample reports and curriculum  

Typical results

If the method is practiced one hour daily for the span of the training, typical results of at least 50 percent better clarity and accuracy in North American speech can be expected.

Assessing Your Accent

If you're unsure whether you could benefit from accent training, start by taking this short initial screening online. After our trainer reviews the screening, you will be contacted by email with the trainer's recommendation regarding your need for accent training.


The cost of accent modification training is $1,200 per participant.

Included in the cost of the training:

  • 13 one-hour weekly classes, flexible scheduling

  • Speaking Pastoral English in America Course (SPEAC) workbook with audio CD or lifetime online access to Compton-PESL training materials

  • Weekly assignments from the SPEAC workbook or online Compton-PESL materials

  • Program results summary highlighting both areas of improvement and areas needing further practice.

Prior to Registration

We recommend that you first complete and submit the free initial screening to determine your accent training needs located under the tab labeled "Accent Assessment."


After receiving the results from your initial screening, if you decide to register for training, download, complete and return the registration form below. On the registration form, you must check the box stating that you agree to the terms of the learning agreement below. You will be contacted by our trainer to set up a schedule for training.

For more information

Contact the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates: