We all speak a dialect

By Jennifer Carson
@jncar4
Curriculum Coordinator

In English, I sound like I am from New York. That should be no surprise as I was born and raised in New York, even though I have lived most of my life in the south of the U.S. But when I speak my L2 and L3, strangely, I do not have a New York accent or even an American accent. In French, one can hear that I studied in Paris and Avignon, two places with distinct, even competing accents, whereas in Spanish, I sound Puerto Rican. No Castilian th-th when yo hablo! I explain this to my students, so they will understand that they too have an accent. (And often they do not believe me!) The key is that we can understand one another if our accents do not affect comprehensibility. And in a communicative classroom, accuracy is a destination, but comprehensibility is king.

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