You do not have to let go of your accent. As long as you are understood, it can actually help you.
I have friends from all over the world and they speak a diversity of languages. Each of them has a different accent when they speak English. One thing that seems to bother many of them is that their accent was too strong. They were afraid they would be misunderstood.
Sometimes, they just really want to fit in. They think sounding American or British would help them accomplish that.
It is the same story everywhere. Many people learn English from movies or television; their pronunciation is moulded after movie stars or sitcom actors. In some ways, it can be a good thing. In trying to perfect their accent, they discover some of the hidden aspects of English that you would not normally learn in a formal setting (think of words like ‘island’ that sound nothing like they are spelt).
But in other ways, trying to model your accent on a native-English speaker is not what you should be doing. This is because your accent, so long as it is understood, can be a powerful marker of who you are and where you are from.
Diversity is a big part of a language. Even though the Americans or British may claim to be the definitive masters of the English language, the language itself has travelled to so many places and been used in so many different ways that it has a life of its own. It is a living, breathing, changing thing. Speaking with an accent is one way to keep the language alive, dynamic.
Just as with adaptations in the animal kingdom, the world of English-language speakers benefits from the different backgrounds that people bring to it. Accents can be sexy, they can set you apart from all the other people learning the language. Make sure you are understood, but insofar as your speech is concerned, remember that it is a big part of you.
Want more help learning English? Visit our Language Learning Tips blog.
About the Author
Dagmawi is a man of many hats. He was written web content, as a journalist and creatively. An engineer by training, he also has experience with marketing and business development. But travel and writing are his two passions and he is always on the search for greater opportunities to express himself through the written word. Follow him on Twitter.
Want to learn English?
Are you learning English? Here's how to learn with Shane English School.