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ACCENT- An Introduction



Whether English is your first or second language, you've probably asked, "Do I speak with an accent, and how much does it matter?"

Because English speakers, like speakers of every other language, are not born in a vacuum, are they?

They are formed in diverse locations with distinct cultures, histories, and identities, all of which play an important influence on a person's spoken dialect.

If English is your second language, you may have an accent reflecting your cultural background.

But how important is your accent, especially if you have to utilize English on a regular basis in your career or personal life?


The quick answer is that it makes no difference.

The origin of your accent has little bearing on the "quality" of your English.

There are no such things as "excellent" or "poor" accents.

However, recognizing clarity in English and how your pronunciation affects communication is important, and it is something you can work on.

Our English-speaking world is changing in wonderful ways, but there are still many people who endure prejudice and discrimination because they speak with a certain accent.

So, if you're ready for some real talk regarding "accent bias," keep reading. Get to know about what is accent and more about it in this blog.


Meaning of accent



An accent is a stress or emphasis on a particular part of something, usually a word. Pronounce the word "doofus" with the accent on the first syllable: DOO-fuss.

Accent comes from the Latin accentus, which means "the intonation of singing." We use accents for different kinds of emphasis in speech. In some foreign languages, the mark above a letter is an accent that signals how to pronounce it. If you accent something, like the "t" on the end of your name, you highlight it. In music, an emphasized note is accented. A regional accent is a particular way that people from that place speak.

Accent has various domains: the word, the phrase, and the sentence. Word accent (also called word stress, or lexical stress) is part of the characteristic way in which a language is pronounced. Given a particular language system, word accent may be fixed, or predictable (e.g., in French, where it occurs regularly at the end of words, or in Czech, where it occurs initially), or it may be movable, as in English, which then leaves accent free to function to distinguish one word from another that is identical segmentally (e.g., the noun permit versus the verb permit).

Similarly, accent can be used at the phrasal level to distinguish sequences identical at the segmental level (e.g., “light housekeeping” versus “lighthouse keeping,” or “blackboard” versus “blackboard”). Finally, the accent may be used at the sentence level to draw attention to one part of the sentence rather than another (e.g., “What did you sign?” “I signed a contract to do some light housekeeping.” versus “Who signed a contract?” “I signed a contract to do some light housekeeping.”).


What is the distinction between "pronunciation" and "accent"?



What's the difference between pronunciation and accent, after all this discussion?

To avoid confusion, they are the same thing.

They are both features of a person's dialect, which is a subset of a language that is specific to a country or place.

Your dialect may influence the words you say and how you say them, resulting in your accent.

As a result, your accent refers to how you sound specific words, such as how British and American English speakers say "water" differently. It's not a case of British speakers being correct and Americans being incorrect; it's simply an issue of location.

If you're learning English, you can choose what dialect and accent you wish to acquire, which will likely influence who you choose as a teacher and what materials you use to study.


Moreover, despite the fact that it is synonymous with "accent," the concept of "pronunciation" has evolved to be associated with straightforward communication rather than dialect. As a result, as you study and develop, you should prioritize pronunciation - particularly clear pronunciation - over accent.

What about the term "accent bias"?



Have you seen the film "My Fair Lady?"

It's a musical about a snobbish British phonetics scholar who teaches "correct English" to a little flower girl with a Cockney accent.

He succeeds, but only by tormenting her to the point that she flees.

And, in the end, he (kind of) learns his lesson when he discovers he loves her.

It may not sound like it, but it's a comedy.

Unfortunately, I believe this film may be a little tricky. Nonetheless, it enables me to throw light on a more important issue: the very real phenomenon of "accent bias."

"Accent bias" is a type of prejudice in which a person makes incorrect judgments about another person based on their accent.


It occurs all the time, all around the world, and it is not acceptable. Indeed, it appears to be the last acceptable and most concealed type of bias. Sadly, it only takes around 30 milliseconds for someone to hear you speak and establish this judgment.

This was some of the information about the term "ACCENT", you can check another blog on the topic IMPORTANCE OF ACCENT", which will clarify you more about how to develop and need of accent while speaking the language.




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