Your accent can be an incredible accent – and yet many English learners are focused on reducing or changing their accent.
Is this necessary?
Find out in this week’s episode:
Here is the full transcript:
Your accent is awesome. Hi there. I’m Paul Urwin, and welcome to the Business English Community podcast, where the world of business meets the English language. We discuss culture, strategies, techniques, vocabulary, grammar, and much, much more. Find out more at businessenglishcommunity.com.
Hi there. Paul here, and welcome to episode 17 of the Business English Community podcast. Two things today before we get cracking. The first one is please, if you do like the podcast, take one minute out of your day to go to iTunes and give us a review on iTunes. That’s something that is really, really, really, really, really helpful for us because it helps us to share our message around the globe. It allows us to help more and more and more people with their business English. So, please, if you do have a minute, please just go and give us a review on iTunes.
The second thing I wanted to ask or say to you is that I really want to hear your story. What’s your story? What’s your story with learning English, and what’s your story with business English? Where do you live? What challenges do you face right now? Are you looking for a job? Are you trying to get a promotion? Are you trying to improve your business English so that you can get a position in another country?
Whatever it might be, please let me know your story. I’m waiting to hear from you, so you can contact me via the website, which is businessenglishcommunity.com. There’s a contact form on the website, which makes it really easy to submit something. Or, you can send me an email if you prefer. You can email me at info, I-N-F-O, @businessenglishcommunity.com. Let me know your story. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Okay, well let’s get on with today’s main topic, and that is your accent is awesome. I really wanted to talk about this because I get a lot of questions about accent reduction. How do I change my accent? How do I get an American accent? How can I speak with a British accent? And so on. I can understand where those questions come from. Maybe you’ve seen an actress with a really attractive American, British, Canadian, or some other accent. They’re successful. They’re successful people, and they are completely confident in their use of the English language. So, why wouldn’t you want to copy them or imitate them?
It makes sense that you might want to imitate them, and actually, imitating is a really good technique for improving your pronunciation. It’s something I talk about back in episode 15, so that’s episode 15, How to Improve Your Pronunciation in English. But, and here’s the issue. Your accent is amazing. Your accent is awesome, and for me, it’s part of your identity. It reflects who you are, it reflects your experiences, and it reflects your culture.
Many people don’t like their own accents, but it’s strange because for every person who doesn’t like their own accent, there seem to be thousands of people out there who love that person’s particular accent and the way that they pronounce things in English. So, is it just you that doesn’t like your accent, or do other people say that they don’t like your accent? Because that would be something completely different. But I’m willing to bet that many, many, many people absolutely love your accent.
Over the years, I’ve spoken to people from Mexico, Iran, Brazil, France, Germany, Holland, Korea, Egypt, China, Japan, Israel, Columbia, Peru, Argentina, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, and many others, people who have awesome accents. So, why would you want to change your amazing accent? If it’s to communicate effectively or to communicate more effectively, then I completely understand. Because unfortunately, some people’s accents or part of their accent … Some people’s accents … It’s really more pronunciation rather than their accent, but some people’s accents can get in the way of clear communication.
The way that they say certain or pronounce certain words makes it difficult to understand what they are saying. If that’s the case with your accent, then I think that you would need to work on certain parts, not your whole accent. You don’t need to change your whole accent, but I would advise you to work on those parts of pronunciation in order to make sure that you are getting your messages across effectively. For me, this is what this is all about. It’s about effective communication, but effective communication can definitely take place without changing your accent completely.
You don’t need to sound completely British or completely American. I don’t think that should be your goal, really. After all, we’re not robots. We don’t want to all sound exactly the same. Wouldn’t that be a bit boring? Isn’t your accent part of your identity, part of who you are? Therefore, keep that amazing accent. Let’s not try and reduce or eliminate your accent completely.
While I’m saying all of this, I really do fully understand that it’s not a clear-cut topic in the sense that you may need to make some adjustments to your accent, and your accent may change naturally over time. If you go and live in an English-speaking country, for example, then your accent is … For sure, your accent is going to change. There’s nothing wrong with that, either, and there’s nothing wrong with your accent becoming more British or Australian or Canadian or American or some other accent.
There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but what I’m trying to say is if you are looking at the top five goals, let’s say, for learning or improving your English, then reducing or eliminating your accent should not be one of those main goals. One of the main goals should be absolutely to communicate more clearly and more effectively, so that’s what I wanted to say today. Effective communication can normally be achieved by making a series of adjustments rather than by changing your accent completely, which means that you can keep your amazing accent and communicate effectively at the same time.
So, that’s what I think about this, but what do you think? What do you think about your accent? Would you like to change your accent? Would you like to communicate more effectively? Let me know, businessenglishcommunity.com. As always, thanks so much for listening. It’s great to have you here. If you would like more personalized feedback on your pronunciation and your accent, then come on over and join us at businessenglishcommunity.com. We have amazing resources on that website, and by joining the members-only area, you get this personalized feedback. I will give you feedback on your pronunciation, on your accent, on your writing, on your presentations and so on.
Apart from that, there is an extensive audio and video library and an active forum where you can have all of your business English questions answered. So, what are you waiting for? Come over and join us at the businessenglishcommunity.com. Thanks again. Have a fantastic week. I’ll see you next Tuesday. All the best, and bye for now.