Monday, April 08, 2013

Comprenez-vous les mots qui sortent de ma bouche?

Accents are a problem when they are not understood. Accents come about because of the influence of another language on the language used.  The influencing language is usually the primary language and the influenced language is the secondary one that was subsequently gained.  I was very amused to know that there are so many accents and variations of English in England itself.

When I was younger I used to get amused by the heavily accented English spoken by some people here but over the years it has been acceptable. I suspect that call centres contributed to this because the abhorrent Americanized drawl that it unleashed on many neutral English speakers made the other accents seem that much better because at least these accents were not faked. Also the understanding that a speaker with an accent could speak one more language in addition to English showed me that I could be prejudiced.

One question about language or dialects or accents that has persisted with me over the years without an answer is how to react when people choose to use an accent or a dialect in a common forum when others do not use it. I do not know whether it is a sign of exclusivity, personally it appears racial to the outsider.  The moment this starts it becomes a simple case of us against them. Will it not be cacophony if different groups of people start speaking in their native tongues in one common forum? Many conversations and interactions in the online and offline world have been interrupted for me personally because a neutral interaction suddenly becomes racial. 

I learnt through some experiences that communication works best when the sender & receiver are on the same page and if they are not there will always be a loss in the transmission. 

It may be difficult to change old habits but when the going gets tough the tough get going. 

P.S. Just because I learnt  French in school I do not post here in French


Ganesh Puttu said...

hallelujah to authentic Indian accent- i have had just about enough of fake American accents that whenever someone starts that way- i make it a point to always reply in Tamil...btw, that pic of yours? one of the funniest convos ever is in the first Rush Hour movie when Chris rock goes "twenty twenties, ten tens" stuff like that...i never miss that particular scene whenever that movie shows on tv

Susan Deborah said...

Tell me about it. I always prefer an accent where people can easily understand what is being communicated and I loathe the American accent esp if spoken by non-Americans who want to show off. All said and done, I love listening to the English accent of the Londoners. Beautiful.

Joy always,

Clement Williams said...

@ Ganesh Puttu: Fake accents are so hilarious!

@ Susan Deborah: This post was not intended for accents actually but I agree with you.