Why Do People Have Accents?

Why Do People Have Accents?

We have all come across accent differences in the TV series or movies we watch in our daily lives. In fact, from time to time, accent differences affect even the spelling of words. For example, the word is written as “colour” in British English and “color” in American English. Let’s examine the accent issue in more detail in this article.

What is an accent? How Do Its Types Vary?

An accent, in its simplest terms, is to speak in a way that includes the peculiarity of a country or an environment. Accents also have two different types in themselves. One of them happens when we are already in the process of learning a foreign language and while practicing to improve our speaking skills, we are influenced by our mother tongue without realizing it. Another type is practiced when we speak our mother tongue, but use pronunciations unique only to a small group of people.

For example, if you talk to those who have gone abroad, you must hear them say that one can recognize people from their own country based on the way they speak a foreign language. Here, the accent is an element that shows itself in terms of the mother tongue even when speaking a foreign language and needs to be studied extensively in scientific terms. 

Tomato accent difference
Accent Differences
Image Source:

Does Every Human Have An Accent?

Although this subject is open to research and has not yet been fully decided, according to most experts, every person has an accent. The interesting thing about accents is that you can even perceive the accent of a region that you do not belong to, and you can get an idea about these people without even asking where they come from. Moreover, it is also called the “comedy element” since it is a phenomenon that is frequently used when privatizing a character in arts branches such as theater and cinema.

The accent issue is actually one of the sub-titles that come to the fore in language studies, as it gives us many clues in terms of history. We can roughly claim that the more accent diversity there is in a region, the higher level of immigration density in that region. From this point of view, we can say that accent formation is not only related to a single branch but can be of interest to many social sciences as a whole.

Cat Accent
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So Why Do People Have Difficulty Making Certain Sounds When Speaking A Foreign Language?

The answer to this question actually shows us clearly how accents are formed. The human mind is inclined to store everything they have seen since its infancy because in this way we give meaning to life; it also develops the motor skills that are essential for life. Of course, the degree of language acquisition in this period is too great to be denied.

From the moment a child learns to speak, he/she will become inclined to the pronunciation of some sounds and some letters, depending on the language he/she is learning. This predisposition will take its place in his/her mind in a way that will create a “language identity” for life. This is where the accents come in. As a result, the process of acquiring an accent can actually be considered to have started when we were born and when we were trying to make sense of sounds.

References and Further Readings

Birner, B. (2021). Why Do Some People Have an Accent? Linguistic Society of America.,groups%20in%20other%20places%20speak.

Why do people have different accents? (2015, January). TELC English.

Wikipedia contributors. (2020, August 29). Accent. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Wood, S. (2021). WHERE DO ACCENTS COME FROM? Pimsleur.,not%20easily%20understood%20by%20outsiders.

You can access the sources of the images used by clicking on the images.

The proofreading has been done by Asu Pelin Akköse and Mete Esencan.

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Bengisu Kalender

Hello everyone! I'm Bengisu Kalender. I am studying at Dokuz Eylül University, Department of Translation and Interpretation. I love doing research, writing and reading about linguistics, philosophy, art, psychology and related fields. I am very pleased to be here, as OkButWhy is an organization that will contribute to all kinds of issues, both in these and many other subjects.

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