Skip to main content

Do I need a native English Accent?

From: http://funny-pics-fun.com/
I had the privilege of leading a group of foreigners to the office of a tourist company. I am not a tourist guide and neither do I run a company. And the people I escorted were not tourists either. My guests wanted to learn about ecotourism and how it works. 

We were supposed to meet the ‘high level’ contact; instead a ‘former’ tourist guide, who now runs the office, greeted us. He was extremely polite – before we could sit down, had ordered tea, juice or water for us.

I introduced my guests to the man and briefed him the purpose of the visit. After apologizing on his boss’ behalf, the man started talking. I was surprised by the things he was saying and the passion with which he was trying to convince us. That is good. But the moment he opened his mouth, I felt like being shown in front of a large crowd, naked. Certainly, he didn’t feel that. 

He sounded like an American or was he trying to sound like one? And at some point of the conversation his accent became artificial.  In his thick artificial accent, the man told my guests how his tourism company makes efforts in curbing the waste issues on the trekking routes by advising the visitors not to dump garbage carelessly. We listened to him talk about the whole tourism policy in Bhutan and how that is helping the nation sustain its environment.

At a separate incidence at Paro Tshechu this year, I accidentally ran into an old schoolmate. But that is just to say that I saw him leading a group of tourists. Back then he was known to be a very shy and reserved person. He proved me otherwise – here’s a confident young man leading a pack of foreigners, who are eager and curious to know about almost everything including a small piece of mural painting on the wall. And lo, he too had mastered the artificial accent.

I am wondering – in order to communicate and communicate well with the foreigners, do we really need to have a native accent?

Don’t the foreigners understand the way we speak English?

Or do we really need to cultivate artificial accent?


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Our throw-it-away culture

Like all grandparents, my late grandma would call food 'tsampa rimpoche' and any fuss made about it would invite everyone's sneer and scoldings. Food is always treated with respect and is never wasted. "If you waste food in any manner," she would admonish us. "One day food will discard you and you will go hungry." 
What remained from the previous meal would be turned either into porridge or sometimes leftover rice would be dried in the sun. The dried rice would then be fried into puffed rice and consumed with cups of suja. When there was so much food left, especially during big events, leftover rice or kharang would be mixed with a small amount of yeast and brewed into ara.  
The only thing that I can vividly recollect from my primary school days is how we would be hungry most of the time. Food we were served was hardly enough to tickle our throats. We would be sent home only once a week on Saturdays and that was our opportunity to replenish our popcorn s…

Alive and kicking

This feels like ages since I last posted anything here. That shows how inactive I have become on my blog. It is such a pain to let it go empty, day after day. And I am sure that all bloggers share the same sentiments.

I have attempted to blog about something for a long time now, only to find myself failing to do so. Maybe that is my laziness. But sometimes, there is nothing new or interesting to blog about. Topics are crucial. As far as my idea of blogging goes, a post cannot be a mere record of personal events - everyday affairs - although there can be blogs about such topics and interests. For example, the one I am writing now - has nothing about anything in particular,  besides citing some personal excuses.

Bhutan is going through yet another interesting era in that we have just had our third parliamentary elections and the new government is in place. I take this opportunity to welcome the new government and a new set of cabinet members, the speaker of the National Assembly and th…

The Story Thief

When we were growing up in a small village in the central Bhutan, we would gather around our grandparents every evening in a room that would be dimly lit with a kerosene lamp. Our grandparents or the elderly members of the family would then take turns to entertain us (siblings and cousins who lived under the same roof) with their stories. Such was the only form of entertainment we had had then.  
Our grandparents would start their stories, which they probably would have heard them from their grandparents. A young poor boy becomes a successful farmer by a turn of luck, a man fights a bear, a poor boy accidentally marries a rich man's beautiful daughter, a lame monkey helps a boy find great wealth, a rooster regrets his action after he mistakenly accuses his wife and young men go on business trips to buy cattle, among many others. We grew up listening to many such stories. Sometimes, the storyteller would narrate the same story again and again, and yet every time it sounded more magi…