Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect accent" rules..

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Roni
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Joined: 04/17/2011 - 23:56
Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect accent" rules..

 

“Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect accent" rules this chaotic world!”     

 

I hope the Korean people would know the truth behind the myth of a “Perfect Accent” perpetuated by other foreign teachers and irresponsible language institute. If Koreans have Pusan, Cheju or Cholla-do accent (satoo-ri), other English speaking countries have their own accent, too. In the USA alone, people from the state of Texas have accent different from New York or Mid-west and the rest.  Likewise, in Canada, they have their own accent especially in the western part and Quebec.  Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have their different accent, too.  If there are native speakers to brag about this, the British people are in the position to do so because the English language originated from them. However, even in the UK, different regions have also different accent.

Yes, it’s true that the one who pays has the right to choose which accent they want to learn. However, if you know the on-going mentality among the majority of English learners here in Korea, you will be shocked! Most of them want to learn the North American accent (?) because they were made to believe it is the perfect one while the rest are wrong and they worried a lot other people might laugh at them for using what they considered a clumsy accent. This sounds like a conspiracy to promote one’s supremacy over the other. No wonder, most of the description in the job offer  seek for teachers with North American accent, which in fact, if you’re going to clarify, they are actually asking for the accent use in the whole USA and Canada. Do they love to learn the heavy Southern accent in Texas and the mid-West? I don’t think so. The parents and students alike are not making free and intelligent choice. Their choice was the product of constant brainwashing and ignorance of how to learn English properly. They were made to believe that they couldn’t learn English without using the “perfect accent”. In reality, it’s almost free to learn English if Koreans wouldn’t make an elite misconception about the language. You don’t need to pay (be) a rocket scientist to teach the alphabet to kindergarteners and first time learners. Let the rich parents pay more for their vanity but what about the low-income family who are also victims of this “perfect accent” mentality? Some people are making them feel miserable for profit. At the end of the day, the language operators (owners & recruiters) are laughing all the way to the bank while the parents have to find ways keeping up with the rising cost of studying English. Did the students learn better if they pay more?  Try speaking to them in English and you will get the answer. How many of them could legibly write a good diary or an essay?

There is no reason to look down upon other non-native (by citizenship only)  speaker if only Koreans are open-minded enough to know the fact that a simple elementary honor graduate from the Philippines can teach kindergartens here in Korea. The Filipinos learn English by themselves and it didn’t stop the US government to hire thousands of Filipino teachers to teach in American public school. India and the Philippines earn billions of dollars annually from its outsourcing business. The simple tool they use is the English they have learned for FREE. How did they do it? It is the learning experience Korea must know, not from their expensive “perfect accent” teachers, but from the educated Filipinos and Indians already here. They can share their knowledge on how to acquire a second language effectively base on their experience.

I hope the Korean people would realize that learning the mechanics of English language first irrespective of accent is more important and it would be easier to learn or imitate the preferred accent later on. The Korean people should be informed that when they travel abroad, it’s not their accent that matter most but how good they are communicating in English by speaking, listening, reading and writing as well. 

This perfect accent mentality sometimes goes out of hand. I saw lots of English teachers from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia imitating the North American accent just because it's the requirements at the hagwons where they work. Have you heard a cat trying to bark like a dog? Related to this, a lot of passionate and experienced teachers couldn't get into the teaching job just because of the "perfect accent" issue. In the true sense of teaching, not because you can speak English, automatically you can teach. These days, many hagwons have problems dealing with the work ethics issue and other behavioral problems with the "perfect accent" teachers they have employed. 

The "perfect accent syndrome" goes down even to the lowly students who don't know much English. They shun other foreigners working here in Korea for fear of getting infected with their so-called clumsy accent instead of grabbing the opportunity to practice their English for free. Somebody in authority should step in to stop this madness! The naive or ignorant parents should be informed properly as well. I know some parents who openly criticized a well-experienced Asian teacher and so proud to tell her son's teacher is white even though the teacher came from Eastern Europe. In fact, most of the people in Canada and USA are native speakers of French, Spanish and other ethnic languages. Being a North American citizen and a native English speaker are still two different things to consider. Meanwhile, South Africa's native tongue is Afrikaner not English, yet the Koreans accepted them  as native English speaker. Hmmmm...By the way, who are the true natives in North America? Aren't they the Inuit  in Canada and Indian tribes in the USA? The rest are all immigrants with different ethnic backgrounds and native tongues. Only the native British are the true native English speaker by blood and by birthright. On the job description, it's so sickening to read the word "native" North American unless you're not asking for Inuit and Indian tribe. What about the word "citizen"?  Still, it all depends if you're white. Give me a break, please!

I believe the quality of English teaching and learning particularly for the kindergartens would improve dramatically if Koreans agreed to hire some of the many Filipinos and Filipinas who hold degrees in early childhood education and speak excellent English, but a 20-something blonde North American woman with no teaching experience and an unrelated degree will be preferred. Is that an intelligent choice? I try to avoid thinking that this is racism but rather a sign of insecurity and inferiority complex imbedded in the Korean psyche. They feel superior to the Filipinos but inferior to the North Americans. Thus, they are more comfortable hiring an inexperienced teacher superior to them than learn from someone they look down upon. But what made them feel superior to their Asian friends? I couldn’t see anything except about the money matters. Korea by economic standard is wealthier than the Philippines today but they have three times more foreign debts than the Philippines. I might consider the Filipinos just don’t want to live beyond their means. This is another complicated issue to discuss, I guess. http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock

Teaching English in the hagwons is becoming like a carnival show. They need white and blonde clowns to entertain the students. They should always be entertained or else little Johnny and Jane will complain the teacher is no good. Some enthusiastic teachers ended up trying to please and baby-sitting little princes and princesses. This situation compromises the teacher’s effort to teach the lesson properly. It’s a matter of staying and suffer or to quit and breath fresh air. The teachers are victims here of the prevailing mentality among the naive parents and the hagwon operators who try to profit out of this madness.

In the middle of this chaos, somehow, we can still see numbers of decent and dedicated Korean people in the language business outside the box who knew well their goal why they need to learn English in a reasonable and orderly manner. It's about showing the world, "Korea can do!"

Yet, the big question still remains… WHEN??

PS.   Let's look at this issue objectively, please!

“I need a job! Who wants to hire me?"   (^o^);;  사랑해요..

              TWIST

I can read his mind as he folded lips
to flash unwanted smile, chinky eyes 
became even smaller like the naked 
thoughts revealed by the shaking head.
I lost again and left with heavy steps.
There are requirements to win the game,
to have colored wig that compliments
the mask and uniform white not brown.

 

The kids should be entertained while 
learning ABC , pathetic of me.
I couldn't be a clown in Kimchiland
for knowing I came from the Neverland.
Well, I believed there are two kinds of 
frogs anyway, those trapped inside the well
thinking the sky is round as they look up
while the other, outside, knew it's not.

 

No chances at all to share with them
the water I carried from the
spring.

[email protected]

Trevor
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Joined: 08/05/2009 - 16:51
Re: Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect ...

The answer is simple. There is no such thing as a perfect accent. End of story.

kiwiinkorea
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Joined: 04/22/2011 - 21:11
Re: Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect ...

I agree with the previous post, there are no perfect accents. I know the Koreans tend to think that the American accent is the best, probably a hangover from the war, but then have you heard what someone sounds like if they come from central midwest or the south of USA? Koreans haven't really taken colloquialism into account. They just think that all American speak perfect English. When I was travelling there I often had to ask for a repeated sentence purely for not understanding the accent. Am sure this happens here in Korea too. People living in Seoul probably sound different to those in Busan.

Starting to ramble, stop there....

sinparam
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Joined: 03/08/2011 - 13:16
Re: Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect ...

There are no "perfect" accents, but that's not the point. Accents still remain an important part of the language. You can't blame anybody for wanting to learn a language from a speaker with a certain accent--after all, they're the ones paying and learning. If you think they are idiots for wanting to learn an American or British accent in favor of something else, wel you're the idiot and you know nothing about language learning.

Accents matter on many issues, but the obvious one is that if you plan on living and/or dealing/meeting with North American English speakers in the present or future, or if you listen to a lot of American movies (or for whatever other reasons you may have), well obviously you'll probably want to learn English from a Canadian or an American.

I'm learning Spanish and I prefer the Mexican accent because first of all I know I will encounter more Mexicans here in Canada than Spaniards, and second I prefer the mainstream Mexican accent because to me it is clearer and slower than say carribean Spanish, and I don't like the way Spaniards pronounce their "c" and "z".

Same thing for Korean, I wouldn't learn or practice my conversational Korean with someone from Jeju because their accent is so far off the standard speech, being the Seoul one, and because I don't plan to live in Jeju in the future, nor to meet much Jeju people either.

No harm intended, but if I were Korean I don't think I would be even minimally appealed to learn English from someone from India. I don't mind too much the Australian accent personally (still better than New Zealand), but I still definitely prefer the "mainstream" American accent or Canadian one. I'm also learning Portuguese and I had to choose between the Brazilian or the Continental version. Considering Portugual is of no interest to me--it's a small country, has a low population and a crap economy, plus it's far from Canada--I don't see why the hell I would learn Continental Portuguese. Is there anything wrong with that?

Anyway, I think it makes plenty of sense that a language learner has his/her own preferences about the type of accent/dialect he/she wants to learn. If you're not happy with that, too bad!

hardpuncher
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Joined: 08/27/2009 - 14:01
Re: Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect ...

My favorite accent is Cuban, especially the way Al Paccino does it in Scarface. If I were to learn another language like Chinese, for instance, I would prefer a Cuban accented Chinese speaker teach me.

CKWUSA
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Joined: 12/30/2009 - 16:00
Re: Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect ...

I hope you're "trying" to be funny... because that was funny!  

A little tongue-in-cheek humor? 

Thanks! 

Jet Setter
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Joined: 11/17/2010 - 01:01
Re: Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect ...

Standard English is the key to survival everywhere you wish to go. The best way is to polish the 2(listening and speaking) of the 4 skills well. That will enhance your communication ability. 

Angel
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Joined: 08/16/2009 - 11:51
Re: Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect ...

What in Charles Dickens?Crickey, and I thought my posts were dull. Who cares ??Yawn, Zzzzzzz

adamamit
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Joined: 09/05/2010 - 01:31
Re: Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect ...

Well very nicely explained Roni. I truly understand your concern. I rightly believe that if you can't copy your own language accent, forget about copying an alien language which you are too scared to even talk about. The use of langauge is just to communicate, its just a medium to express ourself. Its absolutely correct that if you can speak it in a proper accent it is always gonna be impressive, but who is there to judge you? Will all the Americans & others will accept the fact that English is originated in Britain, its not their own. It doesn't make much difference if you just change some spellings & add some strange accents to it so its actually Britishers who have the right to set rules but they never make any infact they praise all others who can speak and even master their language particularly Indians and some other colonial countries of their own.

Koreans from Seoul or Busan can't copy Jeju or cheonlla-do accents, forget about American accent. First they have to understand the most important part is to learn a language, mastering its skills come later. There are so many internal, external, physical and geographical factors associated with a language and especiaaly with the accent, this is why we have so many different accents & tones. Why an Asian who spend his/her lifetime in Africa or America speaks English like Africans or Americans, it is because of the above factors behind it.

Well some of you white jerks(no offense) who thinks this post is funny or its unfair to learn from an Asian, I would like to tell you that some of the Asians are far much better than you guys & they are English Professors in American & european universities. If it is unjust to learn from them, it is equally unfsair to learn from you guys who actually copied it from england and some of the smart ones accept that it is Britishers who taught them.

And come on be honest, how many of you even have degree in teaching and that too in english, so many of you were fighting for your identities or even mere survival in your own countries so you have arrived here and don't wanna go back because you will never get such attention in your own countries. Here you do what you want to do, you live on their money and criticize them at the same time, they give you such a special attention & that's why I feel sometimes Korean is the only race in the world which can leave behind Americans in stupidity and ignorance (again no offence I know some of you who are smart enough know that you better known as the most idiot people on the planet). I have met so many whites who were mere chefs or shop owners or doing small works and now they are teaching here without knowing anything.

You guys have to accept that very few of us actually have the zeal and enthusiasm to teach and even the Koreans as I told are dumb to some extent because sometimes they just record our voice in CD's or cassestes just for the students to hear them or to follow it. And in the classrooms Korean teacher who cannnot speak a word actually intract with the students. With my own personal experience I can definately say that some black guys or cacasians with bizzare accents teach better than most of us as they really worked hard to master the language as its not part of their cultural or ancestor heritage like in the case of most of us.

I think the only thing here to blame is the academic structure Koreans are folowing which will not lead them anywhere & if we all can do something atleast some of us (who are not just money leechers or not just here because of some identity crisis) we should better try to make them understand that its not accent and some particular community that holds the language, its all about how easily and articulatly you can express yourself.

And for heaven's sake stop judging an individual intelligence just on the basis of a mere language, if we keep on doing this we will never become an independent individual or a state or nation. It will always create obstacles in the progress and will remain under the shackles of some certain communities.

sinparam
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Joined: 03/08/2011 - 13:16
Re: Only the naive and ignorant people think that "perfect ...

Definately adamamit, definately.