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How accents are a potential challenge

As you know, I love different accents: in this country, we have so many amazing accents in this country. Add all of the accents from those overseas: either people speaking English as a Second Language or those who speak English with another accent – such as American or Australian, then we have an astonishing array of speech styles.

I should point out that we ALL have accents – yes, even readers from Surrey. We all struggle to listen to/understand specific accents, and I’m afraid to say that unconscious bias does kick in where everyone (me included) makes judgements about someone based on their accent.

George Bernard Shaw famously commented on this, in “Pygmalion”:

“It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.” George Bernard Shaw

However, I came across this interview on the BBC website, about a lady who has lived in the United Kingdom for 27 years, who is now having accent calming lessons, to speak more clearly and because she feels other people are rude about her accent.

Watch the video interview here.

Honestly, this is a difficult one: as I mentioned before, not everyone is tolerant about different speakers’ accents. And speaking English as a second language is to be commended, however, there are individuals who are busy, impatient, or, well rude, about the way other people speak.

But this is the rub: speaking English is not ONLY speaking the words clearly, but also understanding the nuances of the language: the rhythm of the language and also the tone. Whilst I don’t believe Kasha has an aggressive tone, there are occasionally people who speak English as a second language who speak in a very aggressive, confrontational way, EVEN IF they don’t mean this. It is the style from their own native language.

Here at Executive Voice, we understand that there are many incredibly talented individuals who speak English as a Second Language; who deserve to be listened to and respected. Our Accent Softening  training for individuals and teams focuses on speaking clearly, so people can understand you, but also on the subtle characteristics of the English language and delivery.

We would be delighted to discuss any Accent Calming training requirements you have, either for your self, or team member. Contact me or call +44 800 0938464

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