The best English accent

There was a time when English was a prerogative of native speakers. If you were from the US, UK or Australia, you were considered the only ‘true’ English speaker. Everyone else was learning it as a second language and would then have to chose between British or American version. The difference between the two was hard to grasp even then; and for some reason Australian was never an option. If you were talented enough, you could also put on an accent — either British or American.

Fast forward to our day and age — English is spoken widely. Countries like India (current population >1.3 billion), Nigeria (nearly 200,000), South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and many more are using it as their official language. Which means that everyone who goes through the regular education system there is taught in English, which very soon will near 100% of the population. In the corporate world — most of the world’s MNCs are using English as their corporate language making sure that all employees can freely communicate with each other. China: ever since it became a major player in the international arena, more Chinese people learnt English than foreigners learnt Mandarin (although it was and it is still a trend to some extend).

All these people combined would outnumber the original native speakers by a factor of 10. Which makes me question, how can it matter anymore, whether one has an American or a British accent when speaking English? Russian is an accent, Indian is an accent, Chinese is an accent, Spanish, French, Nigerian — all of them have as much right to exist as British or American accents. We don’t have to imitate anyone, we can be ourselves, bringing our culture to the table. If Americans tried to copy British (who really were the true native speakers), they wouldn’t have their accent in the first place. But they wanted to be different. In the UK every town has its own accent, and it is OK. Why are Spanish and French people being judged because of their accents?

In the new, globalized world there is no need to copy, there is a necessity to stand out.