Is Getting Rid of Your Accent Really Important?

A lot of my students want to get rid of their accent and my question is always “why?” I mean, I understand that perhaps getting rid of their accent is beneficial for them because their confidence immediately boosts up. But is it really worth it? If you think about it, everyone HAS an accent. Even in the US, there is northern and southern accent and a few more in-between. Another great example is the UK. Just type up on YouTube “accents in UK” and you’ll get a list of different people speaking in different accents. Again, what’s the point? 

For me, the most important part of learning a language is speaking the language well - meaning no grammatical mistakes and speaking clearly (with your unique accent). Of course, you will meet people that absolutely hate accents. However, I’d like to say to those people, “go out and explore!” Those who have that mentality are usually the people that have never gone out of their city, let alone their country. The more educated and well-traveled you are, the more tolerant and appreciative you are about accents. 

I am definitely not saying that trying to improve your accent is pointless. It is not! If you would feel more confident about your language skills, then I say, “good for you and go for it!” However, remember that you’re not really getting rid of your accent, you are simply changing to a different accent. 

As for me, I love accents! I think it makes people interesting and it’s definitely a conversation starter. I am one of those people that appreciates them dearly. Although, there are some accents that are difficult to understand. In such cases, I do believe trying to change your accent would probably be beneficial, since it would decrease misunderstandings, which is always good, right?! 

What’s your opinion on accents?