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Do I have an Accent?

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Hello! Welcome to my first blog!

Everyone has an accent. We all have a unique way to speak, and we should feel proud of it. Accents are normal. You may sound pretty similar to someone who grew up in your same town, but you might sound quite different!

I grew up on Long Island, NY. For whatever reason, I do not sound like someone from Long Island. I remember ordering a bagel in my teen years at a Long Island bagel shop. I asked for a “salt bagel, and a cup of coffee.” I remember the guy not understanding me. He said, “What do you want?” I tried to repeat it several times. I tend to have a soft, calm voice. I also studied theater and foreign languages. My sister, who did sound more “Long Island” intervened, and said in a louder voice “She’ll have a SAULT bagel and a cup of CAUFFEE.” The man at the bagel shop immediately understood.

If we learn a second, third, fourth language in the tween, teen, or adult years we will most likely hold on to the sound system, rhythm, and intonation patterns from what we are used to. I hold the greatest level of respect for anyone learning another language! When learning a new language, our brain will hear the new sound, and try to find a sound that is the same, or most similar to what it knows already in the native language. When a sound like “TH” is heard in American English, most other languages don’t have that sound. So we will make the most similar approximation, such as “d” for the voiced “th” sound, or “t” for the unvoiced “th” sound.

Do we have to change an accent? No, we don’t. However, we want to be understood. I think it is fair to say that we all want to be understood the first time. It is possible to learn some new sounds, and a different intonation pattern to make us more understood. We also have control over when we will use it. For example, I can order a cup of “cauffee” or a cup of “coffee.”

In my opinion, one accent is not better than another. We do want to be understood, so our thoughts and ideas can be shared. Don’t let yourself be passed over for that promotion, don’t hide away from doing that public speaking event, don’t avoid auditioning for that part because you fear your way of talking will get in the way. Please reach out to if you have any questions. I would be so grateful to help you achieve your speaking goals!

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