Q: I am a professional storyteller, a lover of the English language with a particular penchant for preserving regional accents. Do you feel there is a rising prejudice driving away regional accents? I lament the waning of America’s accents. They enrich our culture. Accents are authentic and colorful. Please speak out for our varied voices!
A: I’m on your side! I too relish and appreciate America’s many accents. And I speak out in favor of them whenever I can.
But I’m not so sure there’s a “rising” prejudice against them. The old prejudice may in fact be waning. Increasingly, local and even national television outlets are not only tolerating but welcoming regional accents on the part of their news anchors and reporters.
An article in the New York Times a couple of years ago reported: “Broadcasters seem to have realized that opening up the tent to accents could attract new audiences at a time when networks are bleeding viewers.”
Let’s hope the trend keeps up!