Friday, August 24, 2007

Accent: A Source of discrimination?

A question I have often heard is whether employers can discriminate or not employ people based on their accent. We all have accents, but are they valid reasons why companies can legally or ethically choose not to hire people based on their pronunciation. Share you ideas on this topic because I am sure there are language learners that have some concern related to this issue.

Randall

3 comments:

  1. I don't think so.
    Actually,employers normally won't disqualify someone by accent,except it is too difficult to understand what he said.

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  2. I heard many tiems that it is hard to get a job unless you speak very English very well in the states. (I'm an international college student.) if I can consider that having different accent is the same as not speaking language very well which employers require employees speak, I think that it is valid reason why employers discriminate emoloyees based on their accent because if their languages are not enough to have conversation with people in their work places, it could be a serious problem to work successfully. However, if employers discriminate or don't hire employees because of the reason why they have the accecnt which employers personally don't like, I can't tell you that it is stupid. It is not only unfair for employees but also employers'loss. As long as employees can have conversation with others without any misunderstanding, their accents are just their personalities. Employers should more focus on their ability to work not their accents. If they don't do that, they will keep losing eligibler employees.
    ( first name, Mee, Korea)

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  3. A question I have often heard is whether employers can discriminate or not employ people based on their accent. We all have accents, but are they valid reasons why companies can legally or ethically choose not to hire people based on their pronunciation. Share you ideas on this topic because I am sure there are language learners that have some concern related to this issue.Randall
    I love this topic which is real realistic. As a person, who lives in abroad like me will certainly encounter this problem. Here, I do not want to complain or blame those people who are with “discrimination”. I just try to view this problem from another angle.
    If we were bosses, we would most likely to employ a person who can speak the local language clearly and fluently. Efficient communication is the prerequisite of the tasks fulfill. If your accent is too strong to be understood, or it should be taken times for your colleagues to get used to it, no wonder the “discrimination” will be happened.
    On the other hand, requiring a foreigner’s speech is as good as native’s is unreasonable. Owning accent is inevitable for the secondary language users. But we still can do something to make up our weakness. First, do our best to improve our language skill, use the secondary language proficiency as possible as we could. Second, develop our professional knowledge and skill in the field. Even, we can not use the language as good as the native; another special work skill can improve our competition when we are in the interview. Third, try to change our disadvantage to advantage. How do I say so? Because I remember one of my teachers said “Accent is lovely, it shows that you can speak more than one kind of langue.” See, our advantage is we are bilingual, we can serve the people from two different countries, help them to communicate. Play a role as an agent in business between two countries is a best example.

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Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.

Best,

Randall