Your Accent Isn't Going Anywhere and Here's Why it Doesn't Matter

You might be stuck with your accent but it doesn't matter anymore |© Bryan Aspen / Unsplash
You might be stuck with your accent but it doesn't matter anymore |© Bryan Aspen / Unsplash
Photo of Alex Ledsom
8 November 2017

Accents can be difficult things. They can be particularly challenging when learning a foreign language, but it’s best to love them because yours isn’t likely going anywhere.

At birth, we could all have the same accents

When we’re born, we all have amazing linguistic ability, regardless of location or background. Apparently, small babies can understand the subtle differences in all languages until they turn one. For example, until the age of eight months, American and Japanese babies can tell the distinction between “ra” and “la.” Two months later, however, and the Japanese babies lose this ability because it doesn’t have a big role in their language. Conversely, the U.S. babies become better at it.

We all have the same linguistic ability and chance of changing our accent up to the age of seven | © Robert Collins / Unsplash

After age seven, your accent is unlikely to change

Research shows that if you start learning a language later in life (after the age of seven or later as an adult), you might become fluent but you won’t be able to change your accent. You’ll have more chance of changing your native accent in your native language, but even that will be difficult.

We often try to change our accent on purpose

More than 1 in 5 Britons change their accents to get what they want, whether that’s trying to sound more or less posh for job interviews or on dates. Some people just try to tone theirs down a bit, trying to fit in. That’s because we think that when we speak, people will have preconceived ideas about the type of person we are. Almost a third of British people think they have been discriminated against because of their accent at some point in their life.

Many of us have changed our accents to sound more or less posh often during an interview | © rawpixel / Unsplash

Sometimes our accent changes a bit, subconsciously

When we move to a new area or are around different regional dialects, we tend to mimic the sounds that we hear around us. This helps us to fit in. It’s called bidialectalism and it’s mostly subconscious.

Accents are being diluted

Regional accents are changing over time. As people move about the world more and more, accents are becoming more diluted. It’s what linguists call “leveling,” where regional expressions and varying speech patterns become more uniform.

Accents are being diluted around the world | © Alexis Brown / Unsplash

Nowadays accents are loved and embraced

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what accent you have because many more accents are becoming more accepted. More and more people are rising to the top with different kinds of accents. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger or BBC presenters with regional dialects. 40% of U.K. business leaders are foreign-born, often with heavy accents. And remember, it doesn’t matter when you speak a foreign language. The French might detest their accents when they speak English but most people love the sound. The same is true in reverse. Everyone comes from a different place and as the world becomes smaller, people are learning to love and embrace accents from all over the world.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm – and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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