Do you think accent is important?
Hi everyone :)
So I've posed the question in the subject heading;
Do you think accent is important?
Obviously it is important to be understood when you are communicating. I've been living in France for approximately 30 days and what has occurred whilst discovering the lifestyle, culture, etc. is that one's accent is very important to the French communities. Whether it is it is a regional accent in France or speaking English or other foreign languages. The teachers are very attentive to their accent whilst speaking English (not necessarily pronunciation even although it is important as well).
So out of curiosity...
Are you very conscious of your accent when you speak another language?
Do you aim to speak perfectly with the perfect accent?
If you have a teacher, would their native accent in their native language be important to you?
Personally, when I speak French, I focus on my pronunciation so that I am understood rather than my accent. I really want to pronounce everything correctly. At the moment, I know my accent sounds rather English in French. Also, I have friends from different countries and I love their accent when they speak English (and they are awesome).
I am from the UK and I have a BBC voice in my native language. I was born and raised in the North.
There are two levels to aim for. The first is simply being understood. That one's clear enough, so no need to dwell on it. The second is not distracting from what you are saying. That's one I haven't reached in French, and it's important. You want people to focus on what you are saying rather than how you are saying it. You don't need to sound 100% native to achieve that, but a thick foreign accent will definitely get in the way.
With that said, I would love to develop a proper accent but I won't stress myself.
I don't really pay attention to my accent when speaking a foreign language (or writing it - I know I mix American and British English together very often). I tend to copy the accent of whoever I'm speaking with, so that usually works out fine.
In some situations, accent marks are important, especially if they are used to change the meaning of words that have the same spelling. Like, in French, "ou" (without grave) means "or", while "ou" (with grave) means "where". Also, in French. diereses are used to seperate vowel sounds, so I think that accent marks are important.
Well, yes because some languages have the same words, but don't aim for the PERFECT accent. Just try the best you could.For example: French and Spanish: Tu and Tú
Accents are important in some settings, no doubt about it.
Especially if you're planning on making it your work language.
However, if you end up letting your less-than-perfect accent hold you back from actually practising the language, then you're doing yourself a great disservice. I know I do this at times, as I get very self-concious about my pronunciation, so I've kept this quote:
"Do you know what a foreign accent is? It's a sign of bravery" - Amy Chua
That's why I feel so much respect for the people who tries to speak my language: I love their accents, too. Communication is the goal of any language, isn't it?
A lingot for you for that great quote and another one for the author of this post.
Although I haven't lived in this region for at least 25 years, strangers can identify the region where I come from just by listening to me speak. I am certain that this is also influenced by the fact that many TV and radio programs are either broadcast from these major cities or are about life in these cities. People are very familiar with this accent from the media. Total strangers will usually identify me with New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania even though I'm from a small town between Philadelphia and New York City. One doesn't think about one's accent until one moves to a different region. The media definitely has an effect, especially with access to the internet. This is also true for movies, musicals, plays, concerts, and even opera. In conclusion, it's a regional identification. For example, the southern accent is most often used with country western music in the United States of America.
Well, once I've mastered the language, i start focusing on the accent. That doesn't mean that i completely ignore it in the beginning :)
I personally think it depends what language you're speaking. French is an important one for accents, as I have learned because my mother speaks French and it's pretty hard to understand what she says with the accent, but I think it's much harder to understand French without a spoken accent. I am thinking Canada may help you out with that. But a language like Irish, it's pretty easy to speak with the accent and understand what is being said, so it all just depends.
My husband and I were watching an episode called Mouthing Off which is part of the TV series, How States Got Their Shapes. It covers regional accents spoken in the United States as well as which words are used in different parts of the country. You can find the TV series on Netflix. It's quite interesting. I've watched several episodes. It contains a lot of history too. People are influenced most by those who live near them as well as TV, telephone, radio, and now even the internet..