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There's No Such Thing As A Strong Accent

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There's No Such Thing As A Strong Accent

We need to talk.
 
If English is your second language, you are in the global majority.
 
So why are people asking you about your strong accent?
 
Why exactly?
 
Especially since, there is NO such thing as a strong accent.
 
strong accent
 
The native English speaker is actually the minority globally. Yep, there are more non-native speakers of English than natives. So don’t let the monolinguals boss you around too much. Promise?
 
I hope that this phrase : “You’ve got a strong accent” gets deleted. Period.
In today’s vlog, ahem, debate, I’m going to debunk the concept of strong accents. I hope you find it refreshing but better still, I hope it changes the way you see the world.
 
Take some ownership.
Speak up and advocate for multi-lingualism. It’s the modern and ethical way to do things as a communicator.
 
Not many people are going to sound me in 20 years time, here in Australia.
 
I know, I hear you feeling worried about your English pronunciation.
But can I just advocate for you a bit?
 
We know from research that CLARITY is what matters.
 
Everyone meets those listeners that are just bad at their job of listening.
 
Listening requires tolerance, ethics, good values and genuine interest.
 
Not everyone brings that to the table.
 
No matter how clear your speaking is.
 
So don’t forget that.
 
Be encouraged, focus on clarity. Try not to panic so much about how you sound. Forget about this stress around “strong accent” because this concept is one big myth and instead, focus in on transferring your message as a solid communicator because that’s worthwhile.
We ALL can do that better.
 
And if you have questions- just let me know! I hope by now, you realise I’m here to help and support you. No matter where you are. No matter WHO you are.

Voice Science TV

Both video & transcript will be published at 8pm AEST on the 7th of June, so if you get to this page earlier than then, don’t forget to turn on the YouTube Premiere reminder button.

READ TRANSCRIPT

There is no one way to speak English

Our worldview over the past 100 years has expanded astronomically.

But old fashioned ideas still linger, among some of us (not me!).

Ideas about the “right” or “proper” way to speak English.

What this is really referring to is the notion that one set of “English sounds” is better than another.

But if you stop and think for a second and consider the variation of native English accents, let alone non-native accents in English, who is right?

We have Scouse and Scottish, Cockney and Texan, Indian English (and YES that is just as official as Australian English) and South African pronunciation?

Hopefully by now you get the gist.

No one is “right.”

But do all speakers have a right to speak and be respected? 

Of course!

So how much respect are you showing someone when you make reference to their “strong accent” #nosuchthingaasthat

 

Not a lot, if you ask me.

 

And not a lot if you ask researchers in the field too.

This week has been a big chance for me to re-evaluate the language we use at Voice Science. I’ve always seen us as forward and modern in our inclusive mindset but I promise to challenge our team even further to advocate for you. On Monday morning I wrote our Position Statement on Racism. But I’m not stopping there.

We are in the process of moving our terminology across our whole site & services to better affirm you.

Remember, no accent is superior to another.

If people make reference to your “strong accent” see it as a chance to educate someone who is not as linguistically enlightened as you.

Take care & remember, your voice and message matter immensely. So speak.

Make a difference.

Empower others.

Fight for your rights at the table.

But more importantly, fight for anyone being sidelined.

 

Ciao for now,

XO

 

 

 

 

P.S.I encourage you to add something in the comments below. I’ve opened comments, because I think our little space on the internet is starting to feel more like a community, so it would delight me to see you engage in the conversation continuing below. 

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