In America, a country where it is known to be the “melting pot,” different races and distinct cultures blend together. Tracing all the way back to the 19th century in America, immigrants migrated to America seeking for a better economic condition. Chinese were the first Asians to arrive in America. Although there were different immigrants like Irish and German, Chinese were discriminated since they could not speak any kind of English. Not only their English mattered, but also their accent held them back from proper communication with the society. Even now, Asian-Americans are often times underestimated due to their accent while people admire European or Australian accents. So what is it like to live as an Asian-Americans and what is it like to live as British or Australian in America?
Jihee Moon, who came to America in 2011, shared, “I frequently have trouble communicating with people who speak English because my accent holds me back from being fluent in English.” It is common that Americans look down and even imitate the Asian accents. Moon continued, “When I visit a store to return an item, some employees would underestimate and not do what I asked for. They often times pretended as if they could not even understand a word I was saying. From that point on, I had to bring my daughter, who can speak English fluently without any accent, with me.”
On the other hand, Mikaela Darui, who currently lives in Australia, shared how positive and welcoming Americans are. Darui commented, “When I visited America in July of 2017, the phrase that I heard the most was, ‘I love your accent.’” People often try to imitate Australian or British accent because they believe it sounds “cool.” Darui said with excitement, “I think any Australian would enjoy visiting America because I personally felt very welcomed toward my accent.”
After all, any accent should be considered as an effort trying to learn another language. People who try to speak English constantly regardless of their hardships, we should be thankful that they are learning the language. There should not be any underestimations based on the sound they make. It is the meaning that matters.