DON’T ask me about my ACCENT

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Where are you from?”
“Your accent is so cute!”
“HAHA, it’s so funny how you say T(Y)UUUUESDAY”
“Don’t change your accent it’s exotic” (what does that even MEAN?)
These are just a few of the things I used to hear when my accent was more noticeable.
And while I played along and pretended to laugh with them, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable.
Can you relate?
Has anyone ever commented on your accent or started discussing your nationality after hearing that you have an accent?
And how did that make you feel?

Even with the BEST INTENTIONS, pointing out someone’s accent CAN be inhibiting and discouraging.
Speaking English is so much more than using the right vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
It’s the subtle art of finding the courage to speak, the permission to make mistakes, the ability to embrace imperfection, to reconcile with a pale version of yourself and to persist through the challenges and hard work.
It’s also the splendor of communication, the joy of accomplishment and satisfaction of overcoming obstacles.
Whatever it is, it’s YOUR journey.

And it’s NOT OK for others to impose their opinions and assume things about you
without being asked.

And in this episode, I have a message for native speakers.
But really, it’s for you.
I want you to know that if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, you shouldn’t think less about yourself and your capabilities in English.
Simply say to yourself, my accent and my English is none of their business 🙂
Watch: DON’T ask me about my ACCENT and I won’t ask you about your WEIGHT

I’d absolutely love to know what you think. After the episode is over join the conversation in the comments below the video and share with me :
Has someone ever offended you or made you feel uncomfortable commenting on your accent? If so, how did you respond?
Do you think native speakers and nonnative speakers should be more sensitive to people’s accents and be less vocal about it?
Looking forward to the discussion,
Xoxo

Hadar

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Hey, it’s a Hadar and this is the Accent’s Way.

And today we are going to talk about why it is not okay to comment on someone else’s accent.

So this video is mostly for native speakers who think that saying something like “oh you have a cute accent” or

“Your accent is so exotic” and “where are you from because you don’t sound like you’re from here.” It’s a way to start a conversation

Because it’s fun and nice and interesting.

It’s not cute. It’s not funny

if you think it’s positive it’s because you think it’s positive, but you have no idea what’s going on in our heads when we

Hear someone talking about our accent

So here’s the real truth behind what’s going on in our head:

did I make a mistake?

She probably thinks I’m stupid now

was I that bad?

Ugh! I worked so hard on my accent.

Was that my R?

What did I say?

I thought my English was better by now.

Was I not clear?

I don’t want to talk about where I’m from

Just like you wouldn’t talk about someone’s weight or skin colour or sexual orientation

You shouldn’t talk about someone else’s accent. You don’t know what their journey is. You don’t know where that meets them

You don’t know what Emotions

it generates.. Why put them in a state where they feel like they have to prove themselves with that simple

Silly question. I’ve had students who have been living in the US for over 20 years and they still had an accent

totally legit, right?

People would ask them where they’re from.

I’m from here, dude. Why are you asking me where I’m from?

Because while you don’t take it as a big deal, and maybe you do think it’s something positive

it may not be positive for the other person especially if this person is going through a lot of

Struggles with their identity and how they sound and how they feel about how they sound because speaking a second language

It’s not something that is easy on a mental level

you really need to have the right mindset and the confidence to speak up and when you’re being

Constantly indicated that there is something different about you. It’s really hard to break that.

Even if it wasn’t your intention, okay?

so even saying something

cute about their accent, about how exotic it is, or how how funny and sweet it is and “no you shouldn’t change that!”

I mean

It doesn’t matter what you think it really matters what the other person thinks.

When we become self-conscious about our English it affects our entire conversation

Because then we’re less fluent, we’re more self-conscious, we get stuck a lot more

and we make silly mistakes!

Of course an accent is a good thing and an accent shows the history of the person and an accent shows that they speak

More than one language and that’s pretty incredible

But it doesn’t matter because you can’t mess with someone else’s brain and head and limiting beliefs

So you need to be aware of that now, I’m very lucky because I don’t experience that anymore

I have come a long way with how I feel about Who I am

My identity as a non-native speaker and my English and I know that even though it’s not perfect

and it’s not, and I still get a lot of comments on how I sound and my mistakes and my

Accent… I choose not to care about it. I’m super proud of Who I am right now

I’m super proud of the fact that I’m not perfect and I’m never gonna be perfect and I’m not even

Concerned about working on my grammar issues because I know that right now my time should be invested in

Teaching others, and helping them get to where I am right now to save all the time that I’ve gone through, right? Those 10 years

My journey of 10 years and help people get that in one year. That’s what I’m here for

I also remember how it used to be and how I felt and how it would

Completely ruin my day to hear someone saying something funny

About my English and I I see that all of the time with my community and my students around me

So I’m talking for true pain and I understand that it doesn’t sound as if it’s a big deal

but it is. So respect that, and

Acknowledge that. And I think it is so much better to empower people around you than to make them feel bad about who they are.

Ok, that’s it. If you want to learn more with me come check out my website theaccentsway.com

theaccentsway.com, or click to subscribe and hit the bell

So you get all the notifications.

Have a beautiful beautiful beautiful week

and I will see you next week in the next video.

Bye 🙂 xoxo

Show Episode Transcript

14 Comments on “DON’T ask me about my ACCENT”

  1. Thank you so much for your sharing!
    For your first question I think not, mostly because I stay in my native country and most of them are tourists. Tourists are more thoughtful. They understand the fact that some countries do not speak English. They keep that thought for themselves if we are bad English speakers.
    The speaking thing is not the only problem. I’ve learned the American accent for many years now, I’ve tried so hard. But with another accent, it takes me a lot of time to understand (I still have to working on to observe the AE before jumping to others) like one time I met an Australian. His voice is very deep and very difficult to keep up with, I had to ask him to repeat several times – and when he did, his face expression is like I am sooooo stupid or something. It hurts a lot.
    For your second question, Definitely! I think native speakers and nonnative speakers should be more sensitive to people’s accents and be less vocal about it. This is why I afraid to speak. But I know, I have to work on that self-conscious thing of mine.

  2. Hello Hadar, what you just said is very true. I’ve been learned a lot through the years, but still, I have a long way to go. I learned how do not care, but is it annoying because I know I speak perfectly fine, I just have an accent. Thank you.

  3. Hi Hadar,
    What a great video! A mind-opener! You are right, if we speak with an accent its because WE speak another language, and the fact that we are trying to speak/learn someone else’s language is a big effort on our part and not the others…. brava!

  4. Hi first of all tks a lot for your passion and for sharing your knowledge with us. I experienced that years ago when i worked for a call center for USA customers and they got angry at my accent and my lack of fluency. Otherwise if said like in a complimentary way I think it might be not so frustrating but actually I ve never been in usa or any other english speaking country to know.

  5. Hi first of all tks a lot for your passion and for sharing your knowledge with us. I experienced that years ago when i worked for a call center for USA customers and they got angry at my accent and my lack of fluency. Otherwise if said like in a complimentary way I think it might be not so frustrating but actually I ve never been in usa or any other english speaking country to know.

  6. Hi, Hadar! You are completely right , anyway learning an other language is always makes people stressed, frustrated etc. I haven’t been told about my accent really or I don’t remember 😂,people usually asks about where I come from? Yes they don’t know what is going on in our mind how we cope with grammarly, and what the others thinks about us while we speak . I was always lucky when I went in the offices (example council off.),shops etc,and there were English peoples ( most of them ) they were always nice to me ,and when I was ashamed of myself how I sound and said “sorry ” to them ,they all said I cant speak in your language. I was very happy,thankful about how they treated me. Long time ago I enrolled to Enlish course , there were different nationalities ,I went to couple times and after some womens(not English) are laught about how I speak I jusk never went back to the school. So I started studying at home by myself . By yers wherever i worked i had lot of different nationalities around me ,and they are spoke whit a very bad accent what I barely understand, but I never ever mentioned their accent !!! Meanwhile they are had some comment about mine. I just tried to ignore what are they saying. Honestly I couldn’t learn from them really . I had a couple negative comment from not English people. But now I am happy to work finally a good company among nice ,intelligent peoples those who respect ,and look after me.
    Omg I am just realised how much I wrote 😄. Okay Hadar you are a very good person you have a big heart, and knowledge.You are awesome and also beautiful. Thanks for your time ,and sorry about my grammars By Klara.

  7. Thank you for all your videos. I totally identified myself with the video. Always have problem with my strong accent. I tried to avoid answering the phone at work but is difficult to do it. I hate when I talk and people just stare at me like what did she said. I just try to be nice and smile.

  8. Amazing video. I can tell you how hard it’s been for me to handle those kind of comments from native speakers. I remember one of my teachers and supervisor always making fun of my pronunciation. I am currently applying for jobs and I have also experienced how people look at me and doubt of my abilities to get the word done just because of my strong Spanish accent.

  9. I have been living in Israel for 30 year the minute I open my mouth people ask where do I come from or which accent it is
    I just reply with humour because I ve learned not to care about people comment
    I do my best to speak accurately my accent it s part of me of my identity and I don’t bother

  10. Ohhh my !!!! How awesome !!! I just want to say that you’ve just spoken my mind …. Thank you sooo much !

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