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Language, culture and assimilation

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Markus Spiske from Pexels

Some people are mocked or looked down upon if they speak with an accent, either because they’re native speakers of another language or due to a regional dialect.

Contrarywise, there are people who have worked hard to get rid of an accent or abandon their native language to better assimilate.

Assimilation refers to the process individuals and groups of differing heritages undergo to better fit in to the dominant culture.

History is rife with attempts to compel minority groups to assimilate, which generally has long-lasting negative effects on the recipient culture.

Even when voluntary, assimilation is usually a result of overt or implied pressure to take on the traits, practices and preferences of the dominant culture.

What are the cultural and historical reasons for this process? What are the individual and societal impacts of cultural and linguistic assimilation?

Why do people still work to eliminate accents to sound more like those around them? Does how a person speaks change your perception of them?


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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, April 7.

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