The Quest for an English Accent
Once you know what you are supposed to know and your grammar and pronunciation is accurate, you start dreaming about this idea of an American, British or Australian accent.
Some teachers and learners give that dream a thought or two and abandon that quest meanwhile others want to get one but what’s accent? why are some people so obsessed with the idea of getting one? and what accent do you want?
Well, accent is defined by Wikipedia Collaborators as “a manner of pronunciation peculiar to a particular individual, location, or nation” If that definition is accurate, why would you like to sound British if you lived in Brazil? That’s like living in Costa Rica and using a hack to catch Pokemons in California.
This is not over yet, Wikipedia continues and states that “An accent may identify the locality in which its speakers reside, the socio-economic status of its speakers, their ethnicity, or social class or influence from their first language”
Did you read that last part? If you are a non-native speaker, people might identify the country that you are from because of your accent.
Let’s move on, this is far from over.
Wikipedia states “The most important factor in predicting the degree to which the accent will be noticeable is the age at which the non-native language was learned”
Sorry if I shot your hopes down and if you think that your age is just a number. Age is a factor.
There is more, here comes another nail in the casket, Wikipedia states:
“The critical period theory states that if learning takes place after the critical period (usually considered around puberty) for acquiring native-like pronunciation, an individual is unlikely to acquire a native-like accent, Most researchers agree that for adults, acquiring a native-like accent in a non-native language is nearly impossible”
Nearly Impossible? Tom Cruise wouldn’t take that mission, I am sure.
Do you want one more quote? it is not about age, I promise, Here it comes:
“Getting an accent depends on factors other than age, such as length of residence, similarity of the non-native language to the native language and the frequency with which both languages are used”
That hurts, so if you wan to get that accent, you have to move, right now to that place. Have you ever wondered what professional in the field recommend?
Listen to what Jack C. Richards has to say.
What should be the focus then?
Focus on getting an accurate pronunciation, good fluency and try to speak how a native speaker would speak, I mean learn what phrases they usually use for certain activities. Don’t get obsessed over something that it is very unlikely that you get.
If you think that you can get an accent without leaving your home country, be reasonable and ask yourself if that’s something way out of your reach. If you have an accent, who can certify that? You might not sound like you think you sound like.
If you are reading this and you don’ t know me, don’t get mad at me for being reasonable, I am a not native speaker and I do my best to have accurate pronunciation and I am proficients, that’s all that matters.
Sorry because this was all Wikipedia, I should have relied more on old books, if this post delivers, there might be a version 2