Accent Modification – A Racist Goal?

One of the services we provide at The Sound Center is accent modification for foreign and regional accents.  Clients work on pronunciation, intonation, speaking rate, style of presentation, and tone of voice, among other areas.  The accent we teach is American English, as spoken by most broadcasters in the US.

Some see this work as fundamentally racist.  They claim that the group in power dictates the correct way of speaking, and the less powerful are forced to change.  Who has the right to say which way of speaking is correct?

I can see their point, especially when people are dismissed or demeaned for the way they speak.  However, in my opinion, communication is the goal.  If people have ideas to share but their audience cannot understand them, it is to their benefit to make some changes in the way they speak.

I have simplified this debate considerably, but I am curious to find out what you think.  Is accent modification a racist goal?

Posted on 10 March 2009 | Category: Accent, Communication, Presentation, Voice

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