Speech: A symbol of accomplishment versus a harsh reality.
Amongst gender, race, social class and appearance, dialect plays a large role in differentiating groups of individuals in society. A strong Italian accent may distinguish our cultural roots and display our European origin. If we were to “Americanize” our speech, would it change who we really are?.
Although accents and dialects identify many types of people, some may find it as a sign of ignorance. Others, however, find this as a pure symbol of intelligence. To learn a second language is a difficult task, and this in itself is worthy of praise. To communicate with multiple types of people is a privilege, and to criticize the native tongue of such a person is ludicrous. Many of the individuals who are learning the second language become frustrated with this “sub-standard” that they believe are condemning them; their accents. Although these people should be accepted for learning the language of the nation, and have the irregularities of their speech ignored, this is not the case.
This is where people turn to speech therapy, to reverse their native dialect, and to “Americanize” their tongues. As stated in Beeman’s article, “After the age of 15 or so, the plasticity of speech diminishes greatly. It is nearly impossible to learn a foreign tongue without an accent-. Speech therapy is a long and agonizing process that is merely torturous to the individual who gives in to it. These criticized and under praised people feel that the only way they can be accepted in to modern American culture is to “look, feel and sound” like the .
modern-day American. Anything less than this is “sub-standard”. This is where the question arises: Does changing your speech change who you really are?.
Although it should not be this way, the unfortunate truth is that foreign accents and dialects are frowned upon in our society today. People too rarely appreciate the accomplishments of others, and too often condemn their flaws.