The way we speak is a part of who we are. Our accent and speech patterns reflect our heritage and where we come from. The way we speak, our voice, is like a fingerprint: it may be similar to someone else’s, but it is still unique.
Many people feel that their language is part of their identity. But language is also a tool we use to communicate, and we can use that tool effectively while still being true to ourselves.
Language vs. Dialect
A language is a distinct system of communication used by a large group of people. There are over 6,000 different languages in the world!
It’s important to recognize that no language in the world is more important than another. Humans like to categorize each other, but there is no basis for saying that one language is better than another.
Dialects are variations within a language, like British English and American English. Speakers of these dialects can understand each other, but there are significant differences in words, sounds, and style. For example, the American English word “cookie” and the British English word “biscuit” both refer to the same kind of delicious baked treats.
What Is an Accent?
When we talk about accents, we are talking about sounds. This includes individual letter sounds, combined letter sounds, intonation, loudness, and speed. In all languages and dialects, there are many different accents.
In American English, there are different regional accents. Some are very distinctive, like in the South, Boston, or New York. There is also an accent that is considered “standard.” This means that it is generally the most respected, even though all accents and dialects are equal.
The Standard American English accent is what is commonly expected in business and the professional workforce. It’s the accent you usually hear news anchors speak in on TV.
Just like no language is “better” or “worse” than another, accents are not inherently “bad.” However, accents may sometimes impede your ability to communicate effectively with speakers of a different dialect or native language. In such cases, it may be beneficial to improve your accent in a certain dialect to facilitate better communication.
The Importance of Communication Skills
No matter what language we speak, we all need communication skills. We learn these skills naturally as we grow up, like how to be polite. Each culture has different expectations for what is polite communication.
These expectations also depend on the situation. You probably talk to your dog very differently than you do to a grocery store cashier. In different situations, we use different words, pitch, and intonation. We also may speak more slowly, quickly, loudly, or softly.
If your language culture is different from the culture you are living or working in, it may be stressful to communicate with others. You may be nervous or frustrated because people have a hard time understanding you. That’s where accent coaching can help.
An accent coach’s goal is to help you communicate with confidence. An accent coach will help you pronounce sounds in the more expected way.
This is especially important in professional settings, as communication skills are crucial for successful networking, customer service, and interpersonal relationships with coworkers. Difficulty communicating may have an economic impact, such as not getting a promotion you deserve.
Join Communicato Today!
Accent coaching is not meant to erase native cultures. Its purpose is to help people learn the communication skills they need to speak with confidence and be easily understood. This will help them to be more successful in the American economy.
If you feel that you could benefit from this kind of support, try a free trial of our American Accent Course! We have several different membership options, so you can find the perfect fit for your situation.