While some cannot escape the strong influence of their native language on their accents, there are some who put up an accent to sound sophisticated. And it is difficult to tell which is worse. The hazards of a thick accent are not known to many.
The Accent Bias
Many people still believe that speaking with an accent shows a certain savoir-faire, but they are sadly mistaken. Accent play a vital role in describing where you come from, which in turn can make or break an impression. Most recruiters cannot escape the accent bias and tend to pigeon hole candidates on the basis of their accents, which is completely irrational but can be avoided. Accent neutralization is the only key to not let your accent speak about your origins. You may be from any part of the world but if you neutralize your accent, you can let people pay more attention to your work than your accent.
During an interview it is crucial to not let your accent be recruiter’s focus of attention, it may trigger an emotional response which may or may not be desirable. According to a study conducted University of North Texas, it was noticed that recruiters are predisposed to hiring candidates of a certain accent and favouring them with prestigious jobs.
A truck driver in Utah was fired by his boss at FedEx for speaking with a thick Russian accent, the driver even requested for a re-evaluation to show his literary prowess in English, but he was denied. This is one of the many examples which bring forth the evil of stereotyping with an accent. People with a heavy French accent are believed to exhibit a certain class which is usually looked up to. The stereotyped beliefs about these places show up in judgement of an individual’s character, which is completely uncalled for. To avoid falling prey to this accent discrimination one has must pay a lot of attention to the way one speaks. A few tips mentioned below will definitely help you to neutralize your accent and put your best foot forward.
•Identify your accent
You may have an accent problem that you do not know about, so it is important to identify your accent and only then can you come up with solution to tone it down or augment it. A feedback from your peers usually helps to identify your accent, but if you feel that your peers are incompetent then you have all the liberty to consult a linguistics expert.
•Try to escape the influence of your native language
You native language may be culturally rich and very influential but if you don’t not cut your ties with it while speaking some other language you may end up using the intonations and connotations of your native language. Which is not good! Try to steer clear of your mother tongue while speaking any other language.
•Carefully observe the language that you intend to master
When you are practising a particular language make sure that you spend some time with the native speakers of that language. This activity will help you to neutralize the effect of your own mother tongue and improve your proficiency in that language.
•Phonetics is equally important as grammar
While learning a language, most of us pay little attention to phonetics and we end up speaking with incorrect pronunciation. A good pronunciation only comes from a sound knowledge on phonetics. Every language has its own set of phonetics, most of which may be common, but there are few differences which should be understood. Moreover, human resource recruitment process requires that an individual is first of all understandable and coherent, before looking at other skills.
•They don’t call it gift of gab for nothing
The above construction may not abide to the rules of grammar, but it fairly conveys a certain accent. Such is the influence of certain sentences, try not falling prey to such constructions. We usually pick the colloquial terms used in the environment that we live in and start using it in our language, which is incorrect and must be avoided, even if it earns you the reputation of being a grammar police.