Accent can be an obstacle for new immigrants

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According to the 2016 Census, English is not the first language of nearly 23 per cent of Canadians.

This percentage is increasing with the bulk of new immigrants hailing from mostly non-English speaking countries and this brings with it the issue of foreign accents with people experiencing negative prejudices toward those who have the qualifications and education but speak English with a pronounced accent.

Studies have shown that listeners make value judgements about a speaker — whether they are friendly or lazy or intelligent — based on their accent.

According to one researcher, a so-called heavy accent is easily understood but listeners may equate that with not having a grasp of English. And those who speak English with a “foreign” accent are judged more harshly.

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Despite evidence that eliminating or reducing a strong accent, no organizations would dare suggest accent reduction classes for new immigrants as it is politically incorrect to point it out. – CINEWS

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