This article is about a way of pronouncing a language that is distinctive to tát a country, area, social class, or individual. For the prominence of a single syllable or word, see Stress (linguistics). For the symbols on top of letters, see Diacritic. For other uses, see Accent (disambiguation).
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In sociolinguistics, an accent is a way of pronouncing a language that is distinctive to tát a country, area, social class, or individual. An accent may be identified with the locality in which its speakers reside (a regional or geographical accent), the socioeconomic status of its speakers, their ethnicity (an ethnolect), their caste or social class (a social accent), or influence from their first language (a foreign accent).
Accents typically differ in quality of voice, pronunciation and distinction of vowels and consonants, stress, and prosody. Although grammar, semantics, vocabulary, and other language characteristics often vary concurrently with accent, the word "accent" may refer specifically to tát the differences in pronunciation, whereas the word "dialect" encompasses the broader phối of linguistic differences. "Accent" is often a subset of "dialect".
As human beings spread out into isolated communities, stresses and peculiarities develop. Over time, they can develop into identifiable accents. In North America, the interaction of people from many ethnic backgrounds contributed to tát the formation of the different varieties of North American accents. It is difficult to tát measure or predict how long it takes an accent to tát sườn. Accents from Canada, South Africa, nước Australia and the United States for example, developed from the combinations of different accents and languages in various societies and their effect on the various pronunciations of British settlers.
Accents may vary within regions of an area in which a uniform language is spoken. In some cases, such as regional accents of English in the United States, accents can be traced back to tát when an area was settled and by whom. Areas lượt thích the đô thị of New Orleans in Louisiana that are, or at one point in time were, semi-isolated have distinct accents due to tát the absence of tương tác between regions. Isolated regions allow dialects to tát expand and evolve independently. Social and economic factors can also influence the way people speak.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to tát it. (September 2010)
During the early period of rapid cognitive development in a child's life it is much easier to tát develop and master foreign skills such as learning a new (or first) language. Verbal cues are processed and silently learned in preparation for the day the vocal system is developed enough to tát speak its first words (usually around 12 months). Before infants can identify words, they just hear "sounds" that they come to tát recognize. Eventually neural pathways are established in the brain that liên kết each sound with a meaning. The more frequently a word is heard, the more its connection is solidified and the same goes for accents. There is no "standard" accent for the child to tát practice, as far as they're concerned, the accent they hear from their parents is not the "right" way, it is the only way. Eventually children graduate from the conscious act of recalling each word, it becomes natural lượt thích breathing. As children grow up they learn vocabulary of the language they are immersed in, whether assisted by parents or not. However, their first few encounters with words determine the way they'll pronounce them for the rest of their lives. This is how accents are cultivated in groups as small as towns and as large as countries; it is a compounding effect. Though it is possible to tát develop a new accent or lose an old one, it is difficult because the neural pathways created when learning the language were developed with the "original" pronunciations.
Children are able to tát take on accents relatively quickly. Children of immigrant families, for example, generally have a pronunciation more similar to tát people native to tát where they live compared to tát their parents, but both children and parents may have an accent noticeably differing from local people. Accents seem to tát remain relatively malleable until a person's early twenties, after which a person's accent seems to tát become more entrenched.
Nonetheless, accents are not fixed even in adulthood. An acoustic analysis by Jonathan Harrington of Elizabeth II's Royal Christmas Messages revealed that the speech patterns of even so sánh conservative a figure as a monarch can continue to tát change over her lifetime.
Accents of non-native speakers may be the result of the speaker's native language. Each language contains distinct sets of sounds. At around 12 months of age, human infants will pick out which sounds they need to tát learn their language. As they get older it becomes increasingly harder to tát learn these "forgotten" sounds. A prime example of this can be seen between German and English—the "w" and "th" sounds, lượt thích in the English words "wish" and "this" respectively, bởi not exist in German—the closest sounds are "v" and "z". As a result, many English-speaking Germans pronounce "wish" as "vish" and "this" as "zis". A similar disjunction occurs in German-speaking native English speakers, who may find it difficult to tát pronounce the vowels in German words such as "schön" (beautiful) and "müde" (tired).
An important factor in predicting the degree to tát which the accent will be noticeable (or strong) is the age at which the non-native language was learned. The critical period theory states that if learning takes place after the critical period (usually considered around puberty) for acquiring native-like pronunciation, an individual is unlikely to tát acquire a native-like accent. This theory, however, is quite controversial among researchers. Although many subscribe to tát some sườn of the critical period, they either place it earlier than thở puberty or consider it more of a critical "window," which may vary from one individual to tát another and depend on factors other than thở age, such as length of residence, similarity of the non-native language to tát the native language, and the frequency with which both languages are used.
Nevertheless, children as young as 6 at the time of moving to tát another country often speak with a noticeable non-native accent as adults. There are also rare instances of individuals who are able to tát pass for native speakers even if they learned their non-native language in early adulthood. However, neurological constraints associated with brain development appear to tát limit most non-native speakers’ ability to tát sound native-like. Most researchers agree that for most adults, acquiring a native-like accent in a non-native language is near impossible.
When a group defines a standard pronunciation, speakers who deviate from it are often said to tát "speak with an accent". However, everyone speaks with an accent. People from the United States would "speak English with an accent" from the point of view of an Australian, and vice versa. Accents such as Received Pronunciation or General American English may sometimes be erroneously designated in their countries of origin as "accentless" to tát indicate that they offer no obvious clue to tát the speaker's regional or social background.
Accents are an important dimension of social identity, both individual and communal, due to tát their ability to tát identify group or community belonging. One's accent can showcase their class, religion or sexual orientation.
Many teachers of, for example, English as a second language neglect to tát teach speech/pronunciation. Many adult and near-adult learners of second languages have unintelligible speech patterns that may interfere with their education, profession, and social interactions. Pronunciation in a second or foreign language involves more than thở the correct articulation of individual sounds. It involves producing a wide range of complex and subtle distinctions which relate sound to tát meaning at several levels.
Teaching of speech/pronunciation is neglected in part because of the following myths:
- Pronunciation is not important: "This is patently false from any perspective." Speech/Pronunciation forms the vehicle for transmitting the speaker's meaning. If the listener does not understand the message, no communication takes place, and although there are other factors involved, one of the most important is the intelligibility of the speaker's pronunciation.
- Students will pick it up on their own: "Some will learn to tát pronounce the second language intelligibly; many will not."
Inadequate instruction in speech/pronunciation can result in a complete breakdown in communication. The proliferation of commercial "accent reduction" services is seen as a sign that many ESL teachers are not meeting their students' needs for speech/pronunciation instruction.
The goals of speech/pronunciation instruction should include: to tát help the learner speak in a way that is easy to tát understand and does not distract the listener, to tát increase the self-confidence of the learner, and to tát develop the skills to tát self-monitor and adapt one's own speech.
Even when the listener does understand the speaker, the presence of an accent that is difficult to tát understand can produce anxiety in the listener that he will not understand what comes next, and cause him to tát over the conversation earlier or avoid difficult topics. "In speech the perceptual salience of the accent overrides other measures of competence and performance," wrote Ingrid Piller.
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Intelligibility of speech, in comparison to tát native-like accent, has been experimentally reported to tát be of greater importance for the second language speakers. As such ways of increasing intelligibility of speech has been recommended by some researchers within the field. A strong accent does not necessarily impede intelligibility despite common perceptions.
Certain accents, particularly those of European heritage, are perceived to tát carry more prestige in a society than thở other accents, such that some speakers may as a result consciously adopt them. This is often due to tát their association with the elite part of society. For example, in the United Kingdom, Received Pronunciation of the English language is associated with the traditional upper class. The same can be said about the predominance of Southeastern Brazilian accents in the case of the Brazilian variant of the Portuguese language, especially considering the disparity of prestige between most caipira-influenced speech, associated with rural environment and lack of formal education, together with the Portuguese spoken in some other communities of lower socioeconomic strata such as favela dwellers, and other sociocultural variants such as middle and upper class paulistano (dialect spoken from Greater São Paulo to tát the East) and fluminense (dialect spoken in the state of Rio de Janeiro) to tát the other side, inside Southeastern Brazil itself.
In linguistics, there is no differentiation among accents in regard to tát their prestige, aesthetics, or correctness. All languages and accents are linguistically equal.
Accent stereotyping and discrimination
Negative perceptions of accents, the basis of which may relate to tát the speaker's social identity, can manifest as stereotyping, harassment or employment discrimination.
Researchers consistently show that people with non-native accents are judged as less intelligent, less competent, less educated, having poor English/language skills, and unpleasant to tát listen to tát. Not only people with standard accents subscribe to tát these beliefs and attitudes, but individuals with accents also often stereotype against their own or others' accents. Research demonstrates that an average listener is adept at detecting an accent typical of a language differing from their own.
Accents have even found to tát be more impactful on perception of babies than thở known perceptual dividers lượt thích race, religion, or sex. In a PNAS study, babies were told to tát choose a toy from two recorded speakers with varying characteristics. Ahead of all variables tested, including race and gender, recordings speaking with an accent native to tát the child were selected at a considerably higher frequency.
Unlike other forms of discrimination, there are no strong norms against accent discrimination in the general society. Rosina Lippi-Green writes,
Accent serves as the first point of gate keeping because we are forbidden, by law and social custom, and perhaps by a prevailing sense of what is morally and ethically right, from using race, ethnicity, homeland or economics more directly. We have no such compunctions about language, thus, accent becomes a litmus test for exclusion, and excuse to tát turn away, to tát recognize the other.
In the English speaking world, Speakers with certain accents often experience discrimination in housing and employment. For example, speakers who have foreign or ethnic-minority accents are less likely to tát be called back by landlords and are more likely to tát be assigned by employers to tát lower status positions than thở those with standard accents. In business settings, individuals with non-standard accents are more likely to tát be evaluated negatively. Accent discrimination is also present in educational institutions. For example, non-native speaking graduate students, lecturers, and professors, across college campuses in the US have been targeted for being unintelligible because of accent. Second language speakers have reported being discriminated against, or feeling marginalized for, when they attempted to tát find a job in higher ranking positions mainly because of their accents. On average, however, students taught by non-native English speakers bởi not underperform when compared to tát those taught by native speakers of English. Some English native-speaker students in Canada reported a preference for non-native speaker instructors as long as the instructor's speech is intelligible. This was due to tát the psychological impacts such circumstances has on the students requiring them to tát pay closer attention to tát the instructor to tát ensure they understand them.
Studies have shown the perception of the accent, not the accent by itself, often results in negative evaluations of speakers. In a study conducted by Rubin (1992), students listened to tát a taped lecture recorded by a native English speaker with a standard accent. They were then shown an image of the "lecturer", sometimes Asian-looking, sometimes white. Participants in the study who saw the Asian picture believed that they had heard an accented lecturer and performed worse on a task that measured lecture comprehension. Negative evaluations may reflect the prejudices rather than thở real issues with understanding accents.
In the United States, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on national origin, implying accents. However, employers may claim that a person's accent impairs their communication skills that are necessary to tát the effective business operation. The courts often rely on the employer's claims or use judges’ subjective opinions when deciding whether the (potential) employee's accent would interfere with communication or performance, without any objective proof that accent was or might be a hindrance.
Kentucky's highest court in the case of Clifford vs. Commonwealth held that a white police officer, who had not seen the Đen defendant allegedly involved in a drug transaction, could, nevertheless, identify him as a participant by saying that a voice on an audiotape "sounded black". The police officer based this "identification" on the fact that the defendant was the only African American man in the room at the time of the transaction and that an audio-tape contained the voice of a man the officer said "sounded black" selling crack cocaine to tát a European American informant planted by the police.
Acting and accents
Actors are often called upon to tát speak a variety of language other than thở their own. Similarly, an actor may portray a character of some nationality other than thở their own by adopting into the native language the phonological profile typical of the nationality to tát be portrayed in what is commonly called "speaking with an accent".
Accents may have stereotypical associations. For example, in Disney animated films mothers and fathers typically speak with white middle class American or English accents. English accents in Disney animated films are frequently employed to tát serve one of two purposes, slapstick comedy or evil genius.[better source needed] Examples include Aladdin (the Sultan and Jafar, respectively) and The Lion King (Zazu and Scar, respectively), among others.
- Accent reduction
- Accent perception
- English-language accents in film
- Foreign accent syndrome
- Human voice
- Language change
- Non-native pronunciations of English
- Regional accents of English
- Variety (linguistics)
- Koiné language
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Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Accent
Xem thêm: inspiration là gì
- Sounds Familiar? – Listen to tát regional accents and dialects of the UK on the British Library's 'Sounds Familiar' website
- 'Hover & Hear' accents of English from around the World, and compare them side by side.
- The Speech Accent Archive (Native and non-native accent recordings of English)
- Wells Accents and Spelling
- humanaccents.com Archived January 16, 2021, at the Wayback Machine – a summary of research on non-native accents and extensive accent bibliography