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Heavy Indian accent = career hurdle?

April 12, 2006

Your mother tongue has a habit of accenting your spoken English.

And this is proving to be a setback in your career.

Get Ahead BPO training expert Nasha Fitter offers some tips:

I am a MS Postgraduate from MAHE University and in search of a job from 6 months looking for a change. Presently I  am working as a project assistant in IISc, Bangalore. I feel frustrated myself when I think I can't communicate fast with my colleagues.

My colleagues even say that you can never develop your accent. This is because I have MTIs (Mother Tongue Influences) in my accent. Please guide me to eliminate this MTI from my accent.

-- Srinidhi H A

Having strong Mother Tongue Influences does not at all mean that you cannot develop your accent. In truth, there is nothing really that a person cannot do. You will just have to work hard at it.

There are many accent reduction books and tapes in the market that you could check out. Or you could take a class on accent neutralisation. Most people who have strong MTIs are usually not releasing enough air when they speak. Especially for the p, k and t consonant sounds. Also, many people who have strong MTIs do not stretch their vowel sounds enough.

I can make the sentences but problem is my vocabulary is very weak as I have studied in govt school and instruction medium was Hindi. Could you plz suggest me to improve my fluency to speak in english and spelling mistake Even lacking of confidence in me also.

-- Manish Sharma

It is difficult to be confident when you don't feel you have a strong understanding of a particular subject. In this situation, it seems that you are not feeling confident about your English skills. Don't worry too much about it and remember that most people face the same problems you do. 

I would suggest making an aggressive effort to improve your language fluency. Immerse yourself in English -- watch only English television shows, read only English newspapers, and read lots of books (you should be reading for at least one hour per day on weekdays and perhaps two hours per day on weekends).

Spelling is one of the easiest areas to improve. Every time you write something on your computer -- spell-check it.  Even if you write a simple e-mail, use spell-check.  You will start to notice words that you regularly misspell. 

Make a note of these words and quiz yourself on them whenever you can. Most of all, don't feel that you are at a disadvantage because you went to a Hindi medium school. 

Just stay positive and set a goal for yourself to improve your English skills in a certain time frame.

I have problem in vocabulary. I cannot pronounce word rightly. I try lots of things for that but it is not  getting. From the child I have that problem for my mother tongue also. So please give me some suggestion regarding these.

-- Nilesh

From your mail I would strongly recommend taking a class on English grammar. You could also buy a book but I believe that a class will be much more useful and effective. Reading newspapers and watching English television shows will also help. 

When you do read, I would suggest reading the same paragraph two to three times until you are comfortable with the language and the various sentence structures. Then you can try writing about the same topic while utilising the same or similar vocabulary words used in the text. I would suggest that you stick to simple English found in national newspapers. 

Do you have a question for Nasha? Write to us!

Nasha is the CEO of Fitter Solutions, a communication and training company. She is an expert in vocational and communication skills management for BPO and service-based organisations. She is also involved with the upliftment and development of rural youth through basic education, vocational training and entrepreneurship, and writes for a variety of publications. She has a degree in business administration from the University of Southern California.


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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 16

Sub: Carrer Hurdle / Career Hurdle?

Excuse me! Is it a \\\"Carrer Hurdle\\\"? We have all sorts of fitters and fiddlers, who can feed on our fears. -D-

Posted by Dude

Sub: Your language

..uh huh... promoting embarrasment about one's mother tongue all over again eh? and we go on admiring how the chinese and japanese and germans insist ...

Posted by Sucharita

Sub: Foreign experts

This was the answer from the expert: Having strong Mother Tongue Influences does not at all mean that you cannot develop your accent. What a ...

Posted by Shiva

Sub: This is what we can ever be good for?

Developing accents? What a non sensical purpose in life. Sometimes such items of news re-instill nihilism in my thoughts.

Posted by Varun

Sub: LOL

haha, this is too funny, keep the questions coming!!

Posted by Adam


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