The internet (and the world) so full of people wanting to convince us that there is a right way to speak English or any other language and that having an accent when speaking English is something horrible.
But let me say tell something: having an accent in English is not a problem, and you should not be ashamed of it. It’s not just me alone saying that now.
In his New York Times article, Professor Roberto Rey Agudo, director of Spanish programs at Dartmouth College in the US, made it clear: Everyone has an accent.
Yes, EVERYONE. An accent in English carries with it a lot of social, cultural and economic information of those who speak and linguistically have no problem whatsoever with this.
The problem lies in our preconception with ways of speaking different from ours or (even worse) that denote sheer lack of money to take an English course (or have a quality education) at an early age.
Exactly so making fun of someone’s English (or any other language) accent is a stubborn and clueless thing to do. If you are bothering to try to speak a language other than yours, it is obvious and expected that you would make mistakes and have an accent when speaking English.
After all, practice and use the language that will help you learn better. We have this absurd craze to find any some foreigner with an accent beautiful (remember one of the handsome ones from the American ?).
In the Losing Your Accent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, the World in Words, they discuss how the accent is still one of the last frontiers of discrimination.
Today people (people who did not vote for the kiss, at least) do not accept any more discrimination based on race, sex, or sexual orientation.
However, we often do not realize that this whole requirement of accentless and perfect English is wholly rooted in purely social and economic issues.
After all, speaking English without an accent requires study, practice, and, yes, money that not everyone has. And how are you going to speak English well if you do not even have the courage to talk because everyone is right to laugh at your face?
Those who studied at a costly international school do not have an English accent, but that person is also doing no more than the obligation.
Learn a language well goes well beyond having an accent or not. To know a language is to remember to communicate, to express itself and not to speak imitating person of place x or y.
The native speakers themselves have very different accents and diverse preconceptions with accents from different places.
If you spend your whole life trying to please everyone with the English you speak … life is going to be too short to learn English.
Only with an English course abroad to lose an accent?
If you find that you need to lose your accent in English, I advise you to take an English course abroad that will not necessarily make you lose your accent.
The Abroad course alone will not make your learning experience valid nor improve the way you speak. This will depend much more on how you will seize the opportunity.
A lot of people are going outside and do not take the chance to interact with places and move out of their comfort zone.
After all, interact with people who are going through the same situation that you are always more comfortable.
So it’s no use planning an exchange, paying expensive and not speaking English during the experience.
Talking to locals will always be a little scary at first, but it’s the only way to learn. Also, most people have no problem helping when you have a hard time saying something.
Just talk and ask nicely that everyone will want to help you. Always remember: without making mistakes, we have no way to learn, and no one is obliged to be born knowing.
I, for example, have never done interchange to take an English course abroad. All the scholarships I got to study abroad were because I already knew English.
I have parents who paid me for an English course in Indonesia, but I also used this opportunity tooth and nail and practically lived in the library of my English course there.
Having fluent English and even without an accent it is possible without having exchanged, yes! Only you need to devote yourself to learning and (if you do) start as soon as possible.
And if you can not lose your English accent, be patient. Important and know how to communicate and express yourself in the language!
And you? Have you ever been joking because of an English accent? How did you handle it? What is your most considerable difficulty when studying English? Tell me in the comments.