Do Accents Matter? Clear Communication is Key

The recent uproar over whether Southern accents should be changed has led to discussions about regional dialects across the country. Are they an important part of our heritage, or should they be neutralized to a more standard pronunciation of American English?

The answer is – it depends.

As I explained in this interview with the Farragut Press, some people are concerned about perceived stereotypes and want to eliminate any barriers to clear communication. For them, neutralizing or reducing their accent helps them feel more confident and communicate more clearly with people from outside of their region.

Lisa Scott teaching American pronunciation

Lisa Scott teaching an accent reduction class

Others feel that their regional dialect is a deeply ingrained part of who they are. Reducing or changing their accent would be giving up part of who they are as a person and the suggestion that they should do so would be offensive. For them, clear communication means speaking in the way that is most natural and comfortable. This can be a distinct advantage in business dealings with others from the same region.

Is your regional dialect a vital part of your success in business or a hindrance to your professional growth? It all comes down to how clearly you communicate with those around you.

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