The truth is that learning a new accent is by itself a life-changing experience. But of course, in this article wherein we will talk about the five ways that learning an American Accent can make a difference in your life, we will be talking about actual positive changes that having an American Accent can have in your life. First of all, before reading any further, you should know that this article is intended for English language learners or for people who learned English as a second language. You are probably already aware of this, but if you learned English as your second language and you learned it only in school or as a teenager or adult, then you probably speak English a bit differently from native speakers.
Depending on the nuances of your native language, the amount of exposure that you have had to American English in your daily life as well factors such as your own innate ability for acquiring a new accent, the way you speak American English might be just a little bit different from an actual American Accent or it could be totally different. Unfortunately, this is true no matter what your level of education is. This is why you should not feel ashamed of yourself if you cannot speak with an authentic American Accent if English is your second language. There is really nothing wrong with speaking English with an accent.
There are in fact only two instances wherein having a foreign accent can be a problem and these are:
1. You feel uncomfortable with the way you speak in English.
2. You are having trouble being understood as well as understanding how native speakers speak in English.
Naturally, these problems arise if you are a foreigner who has chosen to live in an English-speaking territory such as the U.S. and Canada or are in a similar situation.
That aside, there are certainly a lot of benefits that you can derive from being able to speak English with an American Accent. We will now take a close look at some of the most prominent of these benefits one by one:
1. Social Acceptance
For most people, this is one of the most important benefits of learning how to speak with an American Accent. It is simply so much easier to fit into English-speaking social circles and find acceptance among your peers in your community if you are able to speak the “same language” that they are speaking. What this means is that having the ability to speak with more or less the same rhythm, intonation, and timing in American English as native speakers. It can be hard to find acceptance in an English-speaking community if you are unable to effectively communicate your thoughts into English.
Without the benefit of the American Accent, you will not be able to effectively tell other people how you really feel about certain issues. It is quite easy to be misunderstood simply because of your intonation pattern or your diction when you attempt to speak in American English; however, if you know how to use the American Accent, you will be able to avoid any misunderstandings caused by the language barrier.
2. Job Opportunities
This is not meant to imply that American employers are biased against foreigners; because oftentimes, they are not – they are simply doing their jobs. It is no secret among foreigners living in the U.S. and Canada who cannot speak with an American Accent and are unable to adequately reply to interview questions in a timely and somewhat understandable manner that you can be denied of a good job opportunity for which you are actually well-qualified for because of your accent. Is this an example of discrimination due to being a foreigner? Not really. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. As you may be well-aware of, the job market is always a ruthless arena wherein only the most qualified applicants are chosen for particular positions.
This is especially true the higher you ascend the corporate ladder. While entry-level jobs are a dime-a-dozen, it is very important for persons in managerial as well as administrative positions to choose their subordinates well because as a manager, the work of the people under you is a direct reflection of the quality of your own service to the company. Now, simply put yourself in the manager/interviewer’s shoes and pretend that you are the one asking the questions. You may come upon a candidate who has impeccable credentials and apparently good ideas, but when it comes to the job interview, there is a communication gap between you and said candidate. The star candidate seems to be speaking in a language that is similar to your own, but just different enough as to be almost impossible to understand. Would you really want to hire someone like this whom you cannot even communicate with effectively?
Gaining self-confidence might seem like a particularly selfish reason to start learning the American Accent, but think about it this way: if you cannot be confident in yourself simply because of the way you speak in English, how can you ever expect others to have confidence in you? To put it another way: are you really willing to let your foreign accent get in the way of your capacity to enjoy life in your new community? If you came to the U.S. or Canada to seek greener pastures or get a second chance at life, then isn’t it best to start your new life with your sense of self-worth and confidence intact? This is why gaining self-confidence is one of the most positive life-changing effects of learning the American Accent. With the ability to speak like a native speaker, you will be able to freely communicate your thoughts and let your opinions be heard even if you have to do it on radio, TV or even if you have to talk to the president of the United States with no reservations about your accent.
4. Smoother Interpersonal Relations
You might be thinking, “Oh, but I’m not a very social person so I’ll be just fine with my foreign accent.” Well, you may be right, but it all depends on how well other people can understand you when you speak in English. Are you confident that you will be understood whenever you have to speak to someone in English? No matter how antisocial you might be, you cannot avoid interacting with other people and if you are living in the U.S. or Canada, you need to speak English. Some Americans can actually understand people with foreign accents very easily while others simply cannot. It all depends on individual differences as well as age. Since hearing acuity tends to diminish with age, as people grow older, their tolerance for foreign accents starts to thin out. If you have ever experienced talking to an older American individual and having had to repeat yourself quite a few times before you could be understood, then it might have been caused by your foreign accent. With an American Accent, however, any native speaker should be able to understand you clearly whenever you need to speak in English.
5. Better Understanding of English
Finally, this is one of the benefits of learning the American Accent that can really have a positive effect on your life even though it is often understated. Most people are not aware of this, but being able to speak with an American accent fluently and effortlessly can also help you to understand English a whole lot better than you could before you learned the American Accent. The reason for this is because before you are able to learn how to speak in the American Accent, you must first learn how to listen to the unique sounds of American English and learn the subtle nuances of the language such as the use of intonation, rhythm, and timing in conjunction with proper pronunciation as well as diction and vocabulary. As soon as you are able to speak fluent American English, you will be able to discover some hidden depths to the way the language is spoken that you were probably unaware of before.