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Let's Talk About Accents

Updated: Dec 27, 2020

If English is not your first language, most likely you have an accent and, to various degrees, it shows. Luckily, times have changed and now when English has grown to become everybody’s language, not only a language that the native speakers claim, now we live in times when ESL speakers wear their accents like a badge of honor instead of something to be ashamed of. If I have an accent, it means “hey, I know my native language and English on top of that!” It also means “hey, I had the courage to leave everything behind and immigrate to another country!

I started over and I made it. Look at me!”.

We live in times when immigrants can finally say: “I have an accent and that is part of my charm!”. And as long as your accent does not impede your communication, that is absolutely true. You should be proud of your accent and wear it with a smile.

Unfortunately, there are times when a strong accent can and does interfere with your ability to express yourself. You have to be honest with yourself and acknowledge that, if that is the case, you have some work to do. You need to work on the clarity of your speaking. Sometimes that means paying attention to how you pronounce some sounds or maybe you need to work on incorporating the English language’s specific emphasis, stress, tone and pitch into your own speaking. It can be something very basic that can be easily fixed but you have not focused on it before.

Here is a tip: Look up the phonetic chart of the English Language and practise every sound in front of the mirror or with a partner. If you see, or are told, that you have issues with the pronunciation of any sound, it’s time to call an ESL teacher who can help you improve. Sometimes all it takes is recognizing the issue and addressing it once and for all. When you take that out the way, then you can go about your business and carry on wearing your accent proudly and confidently!

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