階級和口音

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【英語學習Plus】 階級和口音
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口語會話 Follow me
 

Let’s talk about it. 我們談談吧。

A: I’ve been having some issues with my coworkers lately.
B: OK, let’s talk about it. What’s been going on?

A: 我最近和我的同事有些糾紛。
B: 好,我們談談吧,發生什麼事了?

 
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階級和口音 Class and Accent

The words and ideas you express are important, of course, but nearly as important is the way you sound when you express them. Indeed, there are still people in the world who will judge your accent before they even consider your words. You may even have your own biases.

There are a few distinct accents in the United States. People from the South are said to drawl, speaking slowly and stretching their vowels out. Some people find this accent reassuring; others think it sounds unintelligent. One accent from Southern California, with very rounded vowels, has been mocked in TV and movies as the dumbest accent in America. New York and Boston accents can sound decisive or rude, depending on the listener.

In England, accents have always been very important. Even these days, children with undesirable accents are sent to elocution lessons, where they are taught how to speak like the upper classes. Many studies show how people respond to accents. Scottish accents are seen as reassuring. People with accents from the Midlands of England are seen as untrustworthy and may suffer career discrimination as a result. People from Liverpool are thought to sound "unpleasant," while people from Ireland, apparently, sound "sexy."

In many countries, people with city accents may be seen as smarter, wealthier, and more accomplished than people who clearly sound like they are from the countryside.

Your accent, of course, reveals nothing but where you grew up—not your intelligence, not your trustworthiness, and not your value. Being able to use different accents in different situations may help people avoid prejudice, but it would be better for all of us to recognize our own irrational biases and fight against them.


你所表達的話與想法固然重要,但表達時的聲音也一樣重要。沒錯,世界上仍有人會先判斷你的口音,然後才考慮你說的話,而你甚至可能也有自己的偏見。

美國國內有些口音相當獨特。南方人據說會拖長聲調講話,也就是說話很慢且拉長母音。有些人覺得這種口音令人覺得很可靠,有些人則認為這聲音聽起來不太聰明。南加州有一種口音有著很渾圓的母音,在電視及電影中被譏為美國最蠢的口音。紐約及波士頓口音聽起來可能很果決或很無禮,端看聽者感覺而定。

在英國,口音一直都很重要。即使到現在,有著「不受歡迎」口音的孩子,仍會被送去上說話課,學習如何像上層階級一樣說話。許多研究顯露人們對各種口音的反應:蘇格蘭口音被人認為很可靠。有著英格蘭中部地區口音的人被認為不值得信任,並可能因此在工作上遭受差別待遇。來自利物浦的人,被認為有「令人很不舒服的」聲音,而來自愛爾蘭的人則顯然聽起來很「性感」。

在許多國家中,有著都市口音的人,跟聽起來顯然是鄉下人的口音相比,可能被認為比較聰明、富有且有成就。

當然,你的口音只能透露出你是在哪裡長大的,並不代表你的智力、你是否值得信賴及你的價值。在不同的情況中能使用不同的口音,或許能幫助人們避免受到歧視,但比較好的做法是,大家要認清自身不合理的偏見,並抗拒這種偏見。

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