The Tyranny of Accent in Learning English
Jan 11, 2014 English Language Learning (ELL) 3990 Views
Many students who aspire to learn English, often concentrate on accent instead of concepts in the language. But, concentrating on accent makes it difficult to learn and follow the language. Therefore, they are either adapting the wrong ways to learn the language or moving away from learning it.
This trend of focusing on the accent rather than focusing on the language, is becoming common among young graduates. This shift in focus from language to accent is creating a wrong impression on the language (good accent means good English) and is misleading students on the way of learning English (getting right accent is enough to learn).
Good accent does not mean good English
Students aspiring to learn the language assume that having a good accent means speaking good English - even an illiterate person in an English-speaking country, who may not have the skills of the language can speak in his native accent. While, the intelligent and educated native speakers, though good at accent, will learn the concepts of like grammar, compositions, etc. at schools.
Moreover, it is a fact that even different English-speaking countries have different accents, every region has its own accent due to the influence of native language, and these accents are well accepted across the world. Accent is not at all important when the emphasis is on learning the real language.
Learn language to express your knowledge
Take the example of Dr. Abdul Kalam, his accent may seem mostly like a typical Tamil influenced English, but the message and his knowledge is passed to the people through his speech due to his command over the language. His speeches have been an inspiration for many people across the country. Even Infosys Chairman, Narayana Murthy too may not have a stylish accent, but he is a highly knowledgeable and respected person in his industry. These great people are experts in their field and they use language only as a medium to spread their knowledge and express their views and opinions.
When you have the right logic, the right grammar and the ability to communicate, never fear how about your accent, as long as you are understood. No matter what the accent may be, a well-spoken (sensibly speaking) person is admired in every part of the world.
Accent is for glamour - real or perceived
Don't use accent as a show off strategy, when you actually have no hold on the language. This is what many people tend to do. They use accent as a tool to create a positive impression.
A well-educated person can differentiate between the real knowledge in language and the show off stunt. Some people also have the tendency to put down a person who cannot have the accent on par with the native speakers. They are absolutely misleading and such people will discourage others to learn English.
One needs to improve their language skills and not the accent to get command over English. As long as one is knowledgeable in their profession and have right language skills (moderate or excellent), they are admired, no matter how unstylish his accent is.
Style cannot be a substitute for substance in the medium/long-term. One earns respect for his thoughts and subject matter expertise, not for his accent. Remember that, accent is never a barrier to communication. Accent is just for glamour - real or perceived.