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    #1

    Isn't it rude to say "You have an accent"?

    Isn't it rude to say "You have an accent"?
    It's rude in our culture. It sounds like you are looking down on the person because he/she is from a rural area.
    However, I heard an American (Mr.A) say this to another American (Mr. B). Is that OK if they are friends?

    This conversation happend when I said it's hard to understand Mr.B's English because he speaks too fast. (I knew it's because of his accent, but I thought it's rude to say so, and I ascribed it to the speed.) Then Mr. A said that it's because of Mr. B's accent, not the speed.
    Last edited by herbivorie; 09-Jul-2014 at 13:44.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Isn't it rude to say "You have an accent"?

    That all depends on context. I have a good friend from South Carolina and I tease him all the time about his accent. His name is Paul, but he says Paw. We laugh about that.

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    #3

    Re: Isn't it rude to say "You have an accent"?

    It's not automatically rude; it could be rude and would be a strange thing to say to a stranger.

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    #4

    Re: Isn't it rude to say "You have an accent"?

    How about my case? This was the first time for me to meet Mr. B. (I had seen Mr. A before. We are friends.) Mr. B is a friend of Mr. A.
    Would it have been rude or acceptable if I told Mr. B "Your English is hard to understand because you have an accent?"

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Isn't it rude to say "You have an accent"?

    Sometimes when I meet a person who has an accent, I ask about it in the context of where he/she is from. That is not usually rude.

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    #6

    Re: Isn't it rude to say "You have an accent"?

    Quote Originally Posted by herbivorie View Post
    How about my case? This was the first time for me to meet Mr. B. (I had seen Mr. A before. We are friends.) Mr. B is a friend of Mr. A.
    Would it have been rude or acceptable if I told Mr. B "Your English is hard to understand because you have an accent?"
    You could ask him which part of the country he's from, then when he answers, you could say that you're unfamiliar with the accent from that part of the country. This would lead in and he'd probably ask if you understand him.

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    #7

    Re: Isn't it rude to say "You have an accent"?

    Start by saying 'I like your accent (even if you don't). Where are you from?'

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Isn't it rude to say "You have an accent"?

    I was on a call today with someone from China, someone from India, and someone from France. Later I was on another call with someone from Italy.
    When they spoke slowly, I had no trouble understanding.

    They would have been very hard to understand if they spoke quickly. I was very close to asking the one from Italy to speak more slowly. Usually slowing down does make it easier to understand, even if the accent and not the speed is the bigger problem.

    And even though I am fairly "neutral" in my accent, I was asked to slow down because they were working in their second (or third) language when I spoke. It's rarely offensive to ask someone to speak more slowly.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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