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American or British Accent? (Day 88)


When people know I am a teacher of English I've noticed that they have a common reaction towards me. For instance when they sing in English they look at me kind of looking for the approval or anything like that, and then they say stuff like "I don't want to make mistakes, because we have a teacher of English here". - As if I was going to judge them or make fun of them lol.

The truth is that I don't even pay attention to other people's accent/pronunciation, because I am more focused on the message they want to express and when they sing, my attention goes towards the melody and rhythm.

A couple of days ago I met a girl who is studying to become a teacher of art and when my friends told her I was a teacher of English she came with the question "Which one do you like the most…American or British English?" - And that's actually a common question I get. Another one is "Which one is better…American or British English?"

If I was 19 years old and I had to answer that question, it would be something completely different to what I would answer now, because as I was always exposed to the American English. I mean, the music I listened to - which was basically pop punk. You know, bands from California and things like that - American English sounded more "familiar" to me.

But, now I have a different perspective. I would say that none of them is "better". For obvious reasons; "better" / "less" than is just a mind filter to categorize what you integrate from reality into two limited options: good/bad, right/wrong, positive/negative, etc. It's basically a polarity equation.

So - What I answered to this girl was the following: We are sold 2 versions of the English language and we make our best to "sound like" one of our favorite accents when we are learning English, but in doing so, we are not walking the language as who we are, because we try to fit in an archetype in order to "sound good" = We become more focused on how we look outside instead who we are inside.

It doesn't matter how "excellent" pronunciation you have if you are going to speak nonesense bullshit. That would only be shit that "sounds good" and the only thing you get through it is a handful of assholes - that think the same way you do - admiring your accent and then you feeling "proud" = You are not using a second language to create impact in your world. You are only creating a "good impression".

When I went to university/college we were sold a career/paradigm and then we had to buy a story that "English will make us successful" - Sure, successful and productive to become another gear to produce for the pigs. What a goal!

For those people who are groupies/fans of a specific English accent and accept the second language as a "tool" to get "more money" in life = becoming successful - I would ask them: Why do you accept a colonizer language that is presented as "a tool that makes you more succesful? Wouldn't that be a Linguistic Genocide for instance? - Hello. Just saying here.

The system prefers to spread English because that's the globalized code that makes you a figure for the system. They tell you very good sounding stuff about it instead of teaching other languages as well, for instance Mapudungun, which is the language of the indigenous people that have lived in my country for many centuries. That would be more realistic and meaningful for the kids that attend school, because they could learn how to communicate and honor a culture with which we co-exist, but that hasn't been valued in comparison to English.


So - If the real purpose of education was to gain a wider perspective from other cultures, wouldn't it be more commonsensical to start here at home first instead of immediately taking English because "All the scientific/important information of the world is written in English". Really? Who says so? Do you beLIEve them? Is it really like that or is it what they tell you in order to have you moving towards their interests? - Cool questions to ask yourself.

Anyways - Back to the point of accent/pronunciation. I am not saying it is "wrong" to enhance our accent/pronunciation, but there is something we must enhance first, which is our minds and our perception on how we have come to trust a story that has never really considered the betterment of human beings' potential. We have actually been buying a capitalist discourse and following the system as an obedient sheep that wants to become "a better citizen" that is able to talk shit in two languages. Yay!

None of the already mentioned accents is "more valid" than the other one, because in real life, there are many beings that emigrate to other countries wherein their mother tongue is English and these people develop their own accent and it's not a "wrong accent", unless you already bought the mainstream discourse, of course.

I think the English accent emigrants develop is more honest, because they want/need to communicate in order to survive instead of just trying to "sound like" and "behave like" the globalized references we are presented through the hegemonic discourse.
 

I would add that we shouldn't pay attention to what the media presents. For instance "Open English", which is a company that teaches English online. They promote their company through making people with "bad pronunciation" look ridiculous in their commercials on TV.  What a supportive way to engage clients, huh?

"Oh, I don't want to sound ridiculous. I'd better go and take the online course or I will never learn how to speak English "correctly" and people will make fun of me". - Shut up and wake up!


Learning English and a "good pronunciation/accent" will not make you "better" and it won't significantly change anything. If you are an asshole and you learn English, then you will turn into an asshole that speaks English. That's the only difference. 

And finally - "Ridiculous" is not to have a "bad pronunciation/accent". It is actually following the system without questioning it and just buying all the bullshit careers tell you as "pieces of advice for your future".


Self-Forgiveness

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to judge other people for their pronunciation/accent.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to buy the hegemonic/capitalist discourse about English where it is presented as "the tool that will make you successful in the system".

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to perceive myself as "better" than other people that I defined that they had a "worse accent" than mine.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to think I am better than other human beings because I can communicate in two languages.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to think that people who don't know English are not as smart as the people who know English.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to try to copy/rip off a specific accent instead of being more aware of the words/concepts I am expressing and how that will create an impact in my environment.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to think, believe and perceive that there exist such thing as "the right accent" / "the wrong accent".

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand that that which I defined as "the right accent" was not even my realization. It was actually what I accepted from what the media presented to me through commercials and their discourses based on making people look ridiculous when they spoke English.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to compare myself with other beings in the past based on our accent/pronunciation.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to react with fear of expressing myself when in the past I interacted with people who had a "better accent/pronunciation" than me.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear looking ridiculous when speaking English in the past, because of the commercials I saw on TV  that made people who apparently had a "bad pronunciation/accent" look ridiculous.



Self-Corrective/Commitment Statements

When and as I see myself comparing myself with other beings that speak English, I stop and breathe. I see, realize and understand that there isn't such thing as "right accent" / "wrong accent", because who determines which accent is "better" or "more valid" is each person's preferences, but there isn't a norm to follow. I mean, if you want to be defined by the archetype, go ahead, but that only contributes to comparison, because there would exist "better speakers" who would perfectly align to the "standard accent" and others that would be defined/considered as the "bad ones" that TV commercials present as "ridiculous".

I commit myself to remain undefined by the system's norms through not participating in what the system presents within their game of competition and capitalist discourse imperceptibly/invisibly based on "better production" instead of "humans' expansion".

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