What’s Wrong with Having an Accent?

I’ve heard many people say, “What’s wrong with having an Accent?” or “I don’t everyone to speak the same way, I like being different.”

My answer to these kinds of statements is this: Each person has a unique way of speaking, even if they are a native English speaker called an idiolect.  Everyone speaks using an idiolect – it’s natural and there is nothing wrong with it.  Additionally, there are strong differences in the way people speak that is unique to their geographic location, called a regional dialect.  Some individuals choose to seek out accent reduction services to change their regional dialect to a more standard American pronunciation.  For individuals, who have learned English as a second language, reducing or modifying their accent can be extremely useful in the following circumstances:

  • When an accent prevents someone from being understood
  • When the speaker is self-conscious and it causes them embarrassment
  • When people aren’t listening as much to what is being said and paying more attention to how it’s being said
  • When it creates an obstacle to a person’s career or social life