Tag Archives: world english

Do You Have an Accent?

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That’s the question asked by Professor Joseph L. Mbele, who is from Tanzania but teaches English at St. Olaf College in Minnesota (USA).

The answer is yes. Everyone has an accent. I have an accent when I speak Chinese or Japanese, but I also have an accent when I speak English. The way you speak even your native language is determined by your family, where you grow up, your education, etc. I speak American English, of course, but my speaking is affected by my Californian parents, my Midwestern relatives, being raised in the South, and so forth.

Professor Mbele also asks this:

Why should someone with a proper Nigerian or Ugandan accent be pressured to speak like an American? Why should someone with a proper Jamaican or British accent be pressured to speak like an American? In Africa, no one asks foreigners to speak English like Africans: the British speak with their own accent; so do the Indians, the Australians and others.

You can read “Do You Have an Accent?” at The African News Journal. I highly recommend reading it yourself.

Anyway, happy New Year!