Language Essay

709 words - 3 pages

"...accent is used to refer to the breakthrough of native language phonology into the target language."
While I agree that accent is generally used to refer to how a person sounds like relative to other speakers with regards to intonation and pronunciation of specific words, I cannot help but notice that the author has neglected choice of words in his definition of an accent. Language is a construct that is heavily influenced and, is in turn influenced, by culture; there is an intimate relationship between language and culture. Examination of various languages will reveal that some words or phrases in a particular language just cannot be translated perfectly into another language; the ...view middle of the document...

When people talk about accent, it should be important to consider also the choice of words. A man born and bred in England might acquire a near perfect imitation of the way words are pronounced in American English, but he might still refer to his friends as his mates instead of his buddies, instantly betraying his otherwise perfect American accent. If accent is used to distinguish a local from a non-local and is thus mostly geographically-based, then choice of words, in addition to intonation and pronunciation, should be included in the definition.
Also, I agree with the author that “it is not possible for an adult to substitute his native phonology (one accent) for another, consistently and in a permanent way.” More specifically, I believe that we never lose our original way of speech, our accent. I have many friends who have gone overseas (mostly to the US or the UK) to study for long periods of time, sometimes up to six years. Whenever they come back to visit, we all expect them to acquire a US or a UK accent, which is vastly dissimilar from the Singapore accent. However, it is never so. When we speak to...

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