Thursday, July 13, 2006


As a linguist, I know that there are attitudes towards language every speaker holds. In some cultures, speaking a local dialect may be seen as more ignorant, less cultured, etc. while in another culture, speaking a local dialect may be more prestigious. People can think speakers of certain languages may be funnier, kinder, more polite, less trustworthy, more immoral, or any number of human characteristics, positive or negative, all based solely on the language the person speaks.

Despite the fact that I am well aware of these prejudices, such as knowing that in American English, a Southern accent is less preferable and a French accent might be seen as more "romantic," I came face to face with the language prejudice that seems too deep seated for me to ever overcome: British accents. I was watching the BBC news report on the situation in the Middle East, and found myself thinking how much more intelligent, well-informed and unbiased the reporters were compared to American reporters. Of course, this all may be true, but how can I separate it from the accents?

Maybe I should just develop a British accent, and then I will have a fabulous self-esteem about my intelligence!

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