Episode 1: Accents in the workplace

Photo:<a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/imuttoo/3425355928/'>Ian Muttoo</a>

Photo:Ian Muttoo

Listen

Babel will explore the ever-evolving English language in Canada, starting June 25th.

Accents in Canadian English are as colourful as the wares in Kensington Market. And we talked to some of the folks there for our first episode. We're exploring what we're risking with accents in the workplace. And we want to hear from you! Do you have an accent, or have you worked with someone who has an accent? What are the advantages, or disadvantages? 

 

We'll go to the hospital to speak with cardiologist Dr. Chi-Ming Chow about the challenges patients with thick accents face in the medical system. It's more serious than you might think.

Then we'll head to a job centre to find out what it's like to do interviews in English when it's your second (or third or fourth!) language, and how much preparation is involved.

When you have an accent, you risk not being taken seriously. But not only that, some people might not even believe what you're saying. We'll talk to Boaz Keysar, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago, about his study: "Why Don't We Believe Non-Native Speakers?"

Many Canadians know their accent matters when it comes to getting a job, so they're trying to reduce it. We'll tag along with Mariel as she gets an accent reduction lesson from speech therapist Bonnie Gross

Accents can also be challenging if you come from certain parts of Canada. We'll talk with actress Kyrstin Pellerin from The Republic of Doyle about her experience losing, then regaining, her charming Newfoundland accent. It involves "wet t's" that sound like they're sliding down the sand into the waves. 

And finally, we'll go to Toronto's Kensington Market, one of the most multicultural neighbourhoods in this country to find out how some people are cashing in on their accents. Wouldn't you, if you could?! 

Try out our Episode 1-inspired ringtone! Accent Ringtone.mp3 (click right to save).

Feel free to comment about your own experience with accents in the workplace.