Why do so many ESL learners worry about the difference between British pronunciation and American pronunciation?
I didn't choose how I pronounce my English words. Actually, I didn't realize that I had a Canadian accent until I went to England and discovered I was a minority over there.
Watch the video below and listen to Emma Watson's Accent:
For me, a British accent sounds official, intelligent and educated. Do you get that impression from Emma? Maybe that comes from the movies I have seen but that is the impression I have.
Even as I say that though I realize that I am making an assumption...that all British people speak with the same accent. This of course is entirely incorrect. If you travel throughout England you will notice a big difference in the way that people speak, from village to village even.
This is true in Canada and in the United States as well, so why do ESL learners focus on this general British pronunciation issue?
In my experience, with my students, it seems that ESL learners want to adopt an accent that will allow them to become accepted and communicate freely.
If you live in England then it would make sense to want to adopt a more British way of speaking and the same would be true in Canada.
But does it really matter?
For me the answer is clear, but for some ESL learners having a British accent is just as important as speaking clearly.
In fact, one of my previous students requested to have a different teacher because I was Canadian and he wanted to have a British teacher so that he could improve his pronunciation.
I would argue that it doesn't matter where your teacher is from, as long as you learn to speak and pronounce English words clearly so you can communicate successfully.
In a BBC forum Leonardo Dalbosco, from Brazil, expressed his views on the subject regarding teaching British pronunciation:
I do believe our concern should be on the clearness of our students' speech. However, we should, as far as possible, show students both variants of American and British English, not in order for them to choose one, but to help them develop a sense of how these two kinds of pronunciation usually work.
I completely agree with Leonardo and believe that there should be a balance between the forms of pronunciations promoted in classes.
Would you like to improve your pronunciation right now? Take a look at this video I discovered on YouTube which has some great spoken exercises.
So, in conclusion, I don't think that a British accent is any better or any worse than any other accent. It just depends on the speaker and how clearly they communicate.
Also, pretty much everyone has an accent and is would be silly to assume that only British people speak properly.
If you are ever feeling down about your accent and want to feel a bit better, check out Beyonce trying to speak with a British accent.
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