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Be proud of your accent

April 3, 2017

On my way home from school one day, I read an article about the Chinese accent that piqued my interest. The more I read, the more I realized some of our strange hypocrisies. No matter how well someone may speak English, if it is accompanied by an accent – Hispanic, Chinese, Korean, anything – that person is looked down upon. An accent shouldn’t matter, rather than content of their message.

As a student who has moved from China, I know how self-conscious individuals can get in regards to their accents. I, too, am self-conscious of mine, though I have at least been able to convince myself that what matters is not how something is pronounced, but how clearly they can express their mind and ideas. In speeches, we care not about the pronunciation, but the message. That’s what we are left discussing. Everyday society should be no different.

But, sadly, it isn’t. I have witnessed a number of Asian students shaming their native countries because their accents are shamed in America. Perhaps this is because the accent is new or strange, but I think not. I think it’s simply a strange stigma. There should be no “accent-shaming,” and those who are ashamed of their own accents only accentuate the problem. Be proud that you are bilingual! Be proud of your accent, which lets people know where you are from, your background, your heritage. Don’t push too hard. Don’t shed your accent. There are accents all over the United States, too – southern accents, northern accents, West Coast accents and country accents. Certain accents are even seen as attractive!

All you can ask is that you learn the language and try your best. Language is a tool, not who you are.

<Cindy Wang Cornelia Connelly HS 10th Grade>

3 Comments

  1. Lia

    April 6, 2017 at 1:45 AM

    Hi Cindy,

    I think you are absolutely right, nobody should ever be ashamed of their accent. As long as the message is clear, like you say, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with accents. In fact, they are what make us who we are, individuals. However, like you say, it may also knock people’s confidence. Therefore, we have developed a programme to improve accents in English, French and German. If you’re interested, let me know on Twitter (@accent_portal) and we will give you a discount code.

    All the best,

    Lia from Accentportal.com

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