The Best Accent In America

Jul 02, 2019

The Standard American Accent is the non-regional, neutral American Accent.

It is an accent, but it is not associated with any part of the United States. Most people who speak with this accent have been trained to do so.

I am one of them. You can hear me using this accent in any of my video lessons.

Is it the best accent in America?

Not really. I just said that to get your attention:)

We all have our own preferences about which accent is the best accent and which accent is most appropriate for our way of speaking and living. But when working to improve spoken English, the Standard American Accent does have a few advantages.

When people hear the Standard American Accent, they don’t really “hear an accent”. They are used to people speaking this way on TV, in movies, on the radio, etc. The listener isn’t using any extra energy trying to figure out where the speaker is from or trying to understand unfamiliar vowel sounds or trying to keep up with a new rhythm and timing, so there is less confusion and less distraction from the speaker’s message. Communication is easier for everyone involved.

That’s why the Standard American Accent is usually the goal accent for accent reduction if your student has decided that he or she wants to sound like a native speaker of American English.

However, you should always clarify the goal accent of each individual student. I have had many non-native English speakers who prefer to adopt the accent of the city they have chosen to call home. I have taught Brooklyn accents, Texas accents, Chicago accents, Australian accents, (just to name a few) to ESL students of many different native languages because they wanted to sound like the people around them.  Others want to keep their native accents and just make a few changes so that the people around them understand them a little more easily and so they don't have to repeat themselves so often. 

It's all good.  For me as a teacher, the decision about what is"the best accent" is always up to the student.  That's why we choose a speech model when we work together.

But back to the Standard American Accent. It shouldn’t be thought of as the best accent, but it is the accent that most students will need to learn, especially if they work in broadcasting, politics, or in the entertainment industry.

If you are a teacher what accent do you teach most often?  If you are a student, what accent are you learning right now?  

Let me know in the comments below.


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