At the beginning of every new accent reduction group I go around the class and ask everyone what is motivating them to push their English skills to the ultimate level. Here is Mary’s answer.
“My name is Mary, I work as an executive assistant for a large multinational company. The reason why I am doing accent reduction is because I feel that over the years I feel that my English pronunciation hasn’t improved. I feel my pronunciation is clear and people understand me. It’s just accent is quite strong and sometimes it’s just not really advantageous. especially in my job I feel i haven’t progressed professionally because of the accent and that people perceive me as someone who is not competent. I think sometimes it happens that if you speak with an accent people perceive you as less competent or that you don’t understand or that you can’t speak properly. And I think I tired different things to improve but I got stuck. I can’t really do it myself. I need someone else to tell me what I am doing wrong.”
What do you feel about this kind of prejudice?
“I don’t like it but I accept it because it’s the whole familiarity because people want to be surrounded by people like them and they want to be surrounded by people who sound like them and behave like them so it’s the whole comfort. And they subconsciously always make a judgement if you are different than them and they always try to find an excuse why they don’t like you or give someone else preference when it comes to a job or professional situations. I don’t necessarily like the Australian accent. I think it’s a bit lazy. But it is what it is. I live here so I need to kind of move my accent towards that but the pronunciation is difficult because they don’t pronounce a lot of things. A lot of things are silent. You are kind of unlearning a lot of things that you learnt as proper pronunciation, so it’s hard because it took me years to get my pronunciation like this. My mother tongue has very different sounds so I had to learn everything from zero when I learnt English. it sounds very unnatural. People say when I speak my mother tongue my voice is much higher than when I speak English. So it’s a completely different voice level, because English is much lower.”
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