Get Rid of Your Accent — Good Idea?

In these politically correct times in which we live, the ‘experts’ out there on YouTube say that you should not get rid of your accent. These teachers are the same ones who make their lessons for the mass global audience: it’s all very low level, easy stuff. Moron level. The most you ever get with them is ‘4 Amazing Phrasal Verbs You Need to Know’.

These teachers are being politically correct when they talk about accent. I’m not sure if they actually believe what they say, but that’s what they say because it’s the ‘acceptable’ opinion to have. It’s all very friendly and smiley and appeals to their low level mass audience who only want to feel good about themselves. When their teacher tells them comforting words like this, it gives them an excuse not to bother.

YouTube didn’t work out very well for me. Might be because I’m POLITICALLY INCORRECT. I didn’t have ‘the right’ opinions about things. It caused a lot of backlash.

Here’s what I think about your accent:

When it comes to YOUR accent, it’s necessary to separate yourself from the herd.

Most non-native speakers are never going to get rid of their accent because they are too lazy and have no focus. Even if they wanted to improve their accent, it won’t happen for them.

Most non-native speakers don’t NEED to get rid of their accent. This is because they rarely use English. What’s the point of having a native speaker level accent if you have no contact with native speakers? None, really.

But for those people who live and work in the UK, telling them not to bother about their accent is plain bad advice. Okay, if you pick fruit in a field and only work with other foreigners, you can struggle on without having a decent accent. But that is where you will stay: in minimum wage, temporary work for the rest of your life. With a dodgy accent.

Even professionals with high level skills are not immune to the problems caused by having a dodgy accent. The main one being that it seriously undermines you at work. No matter how great the standard of your work is, you’ll be undermined on a daily basis by the way that you speak. Again, like the fruit pickers, you can probably get by here in the UK; you can struggle on speaking badly. Everyone’s politically correct here, so don’t worry, the weakness of your accent will never be directly pointed out to you by your managers or even brought up at job interviews.

This can allow you to go on living in the illusion that the way you speak isn’t important. It’s a comfortable illusion, but it’s also one that’s hard to maintain. If/when you ever have a problem at work — you will remember once again about the weakness of your accent. That’s because you know, deep down, that the way you speak isn’t yet good enough for the work that you do. It’s only natural to feel vulnerable when you know that you’re the weak link. If you don’t do something about it, this vulnerability will haunt you forever.

I don’t advise the mass global audience to get rid of their accent; like I said it’s impossible and not worth it for them anyhow. But for professionals, another, much higher standard is required of them. This standard is to speak clearly and naturally.

 

 

 

About Jade Joddle Jade Joddle is a speech and voice teacher who gives her non-native speaker clients back the confidence they had in their native language. She teaches high-level professionals to Speak Well in English so that they thrive and succeed.