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Poll: "A foreign accent is a sign of bravery."
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Feb 2

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question ""A foreign accent is a sign of bravery."".

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Esther Rogers
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
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What? Feb 2

... are you guys smoking out there? (Translation: the query proposal apparently makes no sense).

Tom in London
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Tom in London
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Wrong Feb 2

ProZ.com Staff wrote:

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question ""A foreign accent is a sign of bravery."".

View the poll results »



A foreign accent is a sign of not being able to speak the language properly.


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
ahartje
 

Jan Truper  Identity Verified
Germany
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Yes Feb 2

A foreign accent means that the speaker learned a foreign language, and such an endeavour takes some initial bravery.

(The first image that sprung to my mind when I read this question was that of a woman of Pakistani origin being attacked in the London subway, but I assume xenophobia is not the subject matter the question is aiming for.)


Teresa Borges
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Teresa Borges
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Other Feb 2

This is a quote from the book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua, a Harvard Law School Professor. She’s of Chinese descent and she didn’t speak a word of English when she went to nursery school.

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Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
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  Feb 2

Reading something as a "sign" is an act of interpretation.

There is nothing inherently brave (or otherwise) in speaking in a foreign accent.

I personally consider it stupid to judge people by their accent.

[Edited at 2020-02-02 11:45 GMT]


Christine Andersen
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expressisverbis
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
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What? Feb 2

I just hope I don't have to understand this question. If so, my intelligence would be in jeopardy.

A foreign accent can be a number of things, inability to speak the language properly (as Tom stated), trying to appear sophisticated, or just making fun of either the language or the person speaking it (not very nice).

At one time we all had that "foreign" accent when we started to learn a language that wa
... See more
I just hope I don't have to understand this question. If so, my intelligence would be in jeopardy.

A foreign accent can be a number of things, inability to speak the language properly (as Tom stated), trying to appear sophisticated, or just making fun of either the language or the person speaking it (not very nice).

At one time we all had that "foreign" accent when we started to learn a language that wasn't our mother tongue(s).
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Mina Chen
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In some sense yes Feb 2

I don't understand why some here think that having an accent is NOT speaking the language PROPERLY. Listen to the BBC News World Service correspondents from all over the world, especially those from India. Yes with an accent, but perfectly correct English and easy to understand(all with the BBC intonation pattern).

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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Context Feb 2

This is, of course, a quote from Amy Chua's book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Whenever I hear [my daughters] Sophia or Lulu giggle at a foreign name — whether it’s Freek de Groot or Kwok Gum — I go wild. “Do you know how ignorant and close-minded you sound?” I’ll blow up at them. “My mother’s father’s name was Go Ga Yong — do you think that’s funny? I should have named one of you that. Never judge people by their names.” I don’t believe my girls would ever make fun of someone’s foreign accent, but maybe they would have if I hadn’t preempted it. Children can be terribly cruel. “Never ever make fun of foreign accents,” I’ve exhorted them on many occasions. “Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery. Those are people who crossed an ocean to come to this country. My parents had accents — I had an accent. I was thrown into nursery school not speaking a word of English. ...”


So, a "foreign accent" in this case is the Chinese accent of a Chinese immigrant who tries to speak English in the United States, and "bravery" refers to scenarios where such immigrants encounter derision while trying to make a success of their new lives.


[Edited at 2020-02-02 15:46 GMT]


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Justin Peterson  Identity Verified
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Bravery? It can be ... Feb 2

In some cases, I suppose. Don't really understand what the point of the quote is.

The common misunderstanding accents is that they bear some relationship to one's linguistic level, or mastery of the language. Accents are not a good indicator of one's level. I know people here in Spain who speak flawless Spanish, but they have an accent. Often the Spanish don't understand why he/she does not "lose" their accent after so many years, and having such a high level. It doesn't work li
... See more
In some cases, I suppose. Don't really understand what the point of the quote is.

The common misunderstanding accents is that they bear some relationship to one's linguistic level, or mastery of the language. Accents are not a good indicator of one's level. I know people here in Spain who speak flawless Spanish, but they have an accent. Often the Spanish don't understand why he/she does not "lose" their accent after so many years, and having such a high level. It doesn't work like that. It's kind of terminal; you reach a certain point, and it is almost impossible to lose your accent if you did not learn the language as a child, or have a special gift.

J
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expressisverbis
Portugal
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Only a native accent... Feb 2

… I can consider it a sign of pride.
I don't think a foreign accent can indicate bravery or courage.
It indicates an "innovative" pronunciation of non-natives, and sometimes it's creative

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvBJokkgUHQ&list=RDtKIMFi-f-3g&start_radio=1


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
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I thought the topic is about a foreign accent Feb 2

Justin Peterson wrote:


In some cases, I suppose. Don't really understand what the point of the quote is.

The common misunderstanding accents is that they bear some relationship to one's linguistic level, or mastery of the language. Accents are not a good indicator of one's level. I know people here in Spain who speak flawless Spanish, but they have an accent. Often the Spanish don't understand why he/she does not "lose" their accent after so many years, and having such a high level. It doesn't work like that. It's kind of terminal; you reach a certain point, and it is almost impossible to lose your accent if you did not learn the language as a child, or have a special gift.

J


Isn't it?


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
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I thought the topic is about a foreign accent by a non-native speaker Feb 2

Mina Chen wrote:

I don't understand why some here think that having an accent is NOT speaking the language PROPERLY. Listen to the BBC News World Service correspondents from all over the world, especially those from India. Yes with an accent, but perfectly correct English and easy to understand(all with the BBC intonation pattern).


isn't it?


 

Yetta Jensen Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
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What Feb 2

It just means that the person started to learn the language after s/he was grown. (Generally above 18).

[Edited at 2020-02-02 18:11 GMT]


Justin Peterson
 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
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Other Feb 2

I can understand why Amy Chua told this to her children, but in reality I don't think an accent is a "sign" of anything. In fact, it's not likely that her children had much of an accent in English anyway. Young kids *usually* don't have an accent in their learned language. They almost always pick up the native accent naturally. It's more likely they had trouble expressing themselves. In linguistics, we were taught that being accent-free depends on gaining fluency before puberty. However, that's ... See more
I can understand why Amy Chua told this to her children, but in reality I don't think an accent is a "sign" of anything. In fact, it's not likely that her children had much of an accent in English anyway. Young kids *usually* don't have an accent in their learned language. They almost always pick up the native accent naturally. It's more likely they had trouble expressing themselves. In linguistics, we were taught that being accent-free depends on gaining fluency before puberty. However, that's not always true. Of my nieces and nephew (siblings) inherited from my Brazilian husband, the one who spent the least time in Brazil speaks English with no accent whatsoever (no surprise); however, the one who spent the most time in Brazil has close to no accent and the third, though she was born in the US and has lived most of her life here (about 35 years), has a strong accent. Her husband, who barely spoke English when he arrived in the US as an adult, now has no accent at all. Indeed, there are many cases of people who learn languages as adults and have no accent. The puberty theory doesn't apply to them. I think it's more about how the brain is wired.

P.S.: All children are brave!

[Edited at 2020-02-02 23:08 GMT]
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