What is an “accent”? Is it restricted to a particular group of persons? Or is it only for those whose mother tongue is something other than English? What do people actually mean when they say, “I knew you were from there. You have an accent.” !!!
In linguistics, an accent is a manner of pronunciation of a language. It can often be confused with dialects which are a variety of languages differing in vocabulary, pronunciation, syntax as well as morphology. An accent is the peculiar style and rhythm of speaking a particular language. It can also be called “SPEECH MUSIC”.
An accent can change over time, adapting accordingly to their geographical location. It is factors like mother tongue, socio-economic background and medium of education that influence one’ accent.
Now, I personally feel every single person in this world has an English that is accented and influenced by his/her mother tongue. Let’ call it MTI (Mother Tongue Influence). You tell me. What is wrong with it? When it is heavily accented, yes. It does become a problem. Else, why make it a big deal? Coz’ some people try to make it so pronounced and when it is pointed out in front of a crowd, all it does is bring down one’ self-confidence drastically! The person withdraws into a self-formed shell which becomes very hard to break down. The funniest part being that the one who criticizes does not find fault in himself!
If you ask me whether talking in one’ own mother tongue is a crime, well, it is not. But when it infuences the other language we may speak other people often find it amusing and one more thing to criticize about especially if they do not like you much. They just do not realize how much the one who is being criticized suffers from it.
For instance take a Malayalee. EVERYONE criticizes a Keralite! It is hard for some of them to find jobs and they are made fun of even by the media. All for what? Because the MTI is very pronounced when they speak. The “critics” make it sound as though they have a disease! MTI!
Keralites are generally a very laid back, peace loving, calm set of people. So, just because they take all the teasings in good spirit, people think they can say or do anything to them or with them and the way they speak. But just imagine the case if a Bihari or a Tamilian or a Telugu-ite or a Kannadiga or the most stuck up of all, the North Indians are teased by the media! Now THAT would be the ultimate! What a hue and cry would happen! Just imagine that scenario!!
Unimaginable right! Well, that is how this world is. Those who take it lying down will forever be stomped upon. The others will retaliate and noone would raise a finger to point at them ever again!
Even non-Indians have different accents. But Indians feel that everything the Westerners do is just Perrfect!
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