On Standard Accent By Marc Yu


You bring up some very cogent points here, well worthy of discussion. Of course you are very right about the tendency the human has toward exclusion and hatred of others who deviate from some arbitrary norm – and you provide an excellent example list of the “objectionable” attributes which engender that sort of response.

It is indeed strange that accents as such should be the cause of such rancor. On the one hand, one is criticized for not adopting a standard accent, and on the other one may be accused of “affectation” and subjected to criticism for learning an accent, even one of the standard ones. The ignominy that accompanies deviant modes of speech is extremely unfair but, unfortunately, ubiquitous.

Marc, your spoken English is certainly above the norm when compared with that of most adult speakers of American English. This achievement in one your age (and particularly in one who is trilingual) is something to be very proud of. Unfortunately, people have trouble seeing past the accent, but, as you say, this is their problem, not yours.]

On Standard Accent

Should student be expected to speak with a standard accent? My reply is based on my personal experience. People often criticize me on the internet [“Internet” is normally capitalized.] because I give speeches at my concert. People don’t criticize my music but instead will criticize my accent. [The “will” is unnecessary, but can be used in this context to imply “insist upon” or “unrelentingly” It works well here.]

First, I am going to talk about what I feel when I hear this, then I am going to talk about the people who give me the criticisms [try: disparage, decry, belittle, derogate] and the people who read the malicious criticism but say nothing, and, [A new sentence here would be best.] finally, I am going to look at the criticism itself.

At first, I was not upset because I thought I did well playing the music and my accent was trivial[!]. After a while, my mother got upset and that got me upset. And now, I have had so much criticism, I am back to my first position – I don’t care.

People have many things they need, such as water to drink, food to eat, air to breathe, periods of sleep and someone to HATE. People who criticize are purposely trying to make you feel bad. They will attack someone for being fat, foreign, disabled, unattractive, odd, homeless, mentally slow, or poor [a superb list. This is a very useful device used well]. All of these are jeers, not suggestions meant to help you.

Besides people who criticize, there are people who stand by and listen. Some of these people are sadistic, some of them don’t care, but a lot of them know what’s right and don’t say anything.

“All it takes for evil to prevail is for the good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke. [Point well taken.]

We have been looking at the people who criticize my accent and to use that as an example of the kind of person who takes delight in tormenting others. Now let’s examine whether the commotion over my accent was all nonsense.

The question is should one speak with a standard accent? So….what is a standard accent? Boston English? Southern English? British English? BBC Engish [English]?

[Marc, you have brought up some very important points here. Good work.

Your question about spoken English standards has no definitive answer. One can as easily be shunned and rejected for using a standard accent as a non-standard one, depending on where one is. It is a highly relative thing. An ability to adapt can be very useful.]

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