Thursday, 13 August 2009

can accent damage your career?

We all know about racism, sexism and ageism, in the workplace or otherwise. But what about accentism? From A Plum in Your Mouth: Why the Way We Talk Speaks Volumes About Us by Andrew Taylor:

The BBC poll that so damned the Welsh accent was one of many over recent decades which have arranged regional accents in order how pleasant, prestigious, or socially desirable they are. A similar survey, carried out a few months later, reached much the same conclusions, with the added twist that Welsh found itself languishing around the bottom of a list of accents which supposedly gave the impression of hard work and diligence. It is significant that of the ten accents at the bottom of the poll, seven were those of big industrial cities or conurbations, namely Bristol, Swansea, Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Black Country and Birmingham. There are other fairly clear prejudices against the other three, South African, German and Asian — but overall, the poll was simply a vote against urban working-class speech. It is probably not unduly cynical to point out that the second survey was carried out on behalf of the Aziz Corporation, a company which specializes in ‘executive communications’, and includes ‘voice development’ among the services it offers. It’s also noticeable that surveys such as these tend to tke place either in Summer or around Christmas, when news is in short supply.

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