Day 125: Accenting the positive

We had an interesting conversation at work today about language. One of the recruiters was setting up a meeting with a candidate with a very heavy accent, and she said she only understood every few words. Of course, any time language comes up, I’m an interested participant. The discussion turned to people in our company with heavy southern accents, and the new guy who’s from New York. One girl said he has a heavy midwestern accent, but I countered that I was midwestern, and his accent wasn’t midwestern. She was surprised that I was midwestern and said she didn’t hear an accent in me.

Of course, all of us have our own distinctive way of speaking. Since my midwestern accent is mixed with South American Portuguese specifically from the interior of Sao Paulo, I know I must sound confused. Some people have even asked if I was from Europe! Mix in 13 years of living in the south and it’s no wonder that words don’t often come out of my mouth the right way. Even my tongue doesn’t know what my accent should be.

Later in the day, I was speaking with another coworker who is from a Spanish-speaking country. She’s a very smart woman, with excellent English, but she has a distinctive Latina accent. We talked about our love of language, and she was wondering what she could do to improve her spelling. That’s the toughest thing to learn about our language. She loves to learn, so I suggested that good spelling is based on understanding phonics, so learning those rules as an adult should help her out a great deal. She could get a kids’ phonics workbook from a teacher’s store and work through the lessons for a few minutes each evening.

In chatting about language, we were making connections, so despite a crazy day of work, the day was delightfully successful.

DAY 125 HOMEWORK: If you’re not a good speller, you might try a phonics workbook or searching for a phonics video on YouTube. And, despite your spelling skills, try picking up a second language. It will give you great appreciation for others and will open your eyes to new connections around you.

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