Ms. Aguayo is a veteran teacher in … central Phoenix as well an immigrant from northern Mexico who learned English as an adult and taught it as a second language. Confronted about her accent by her school principal several years ago, Ms. Aguayo took a college acting class, saw a speech pathologist and consulted with an accent reduction specialist, none of which transformed her speech.
As Ms. Aguayo has struggled, though, something else has changed. Arizona, after almost a decade of sending monitors to classrooms across the state to check on teachers’ articulation, recently made a sharp about-face on the issue. A federal investigation of possible civil rights violations prompted the state to call off its accent police.
“To my knowledge, we have not seen policies like this in other states,” Russlynn H. Ali, the assistant federal secretary of education for civil rights, said in an interview. She called it “good news” that Arizona had altered its policy. — NYTimes
Arizona, again. I wonder if conservative leaders considered building walls around schools to keep illegal accents out. And where was the usual chorus about government over-regulation and the “job-killing” effect of their enforcement? Rules that specifically target Spanish-speakers in Arizona are perfectly acceptable, I guess.
Overall, though, I think this anti-accent approach is sound policy (no pun meant), and when I’m god I’ll apply it more broadly, and enforce it more stringently. It’s overdue.
The first ones targeted would be any allegedly professional educator with a y’all drawl. How are students in the southern states, who consistently underperform their peers nationwide, supposed to compete in an increasingly technology-oriented marketplace when their mush-mouthed teachers pronounce “AWL” for “OIL,” and “BATTRY” for “BATTERY”? It’s an automoBEEL, not an otto-MO-bil. RED and HEAD are one syllable each, not RAY-ED and HAY-ED. Can’t handle spoken English? You’re fired. (Not FAHRED.)
Then it’s off to Noo Yawk. Line up, teachers. You’re not allowed to teach the 3 Rs if you can’t pronounce the letter. You’re a teacher, not a teach-uh. Two and two are four, not faw. The gladiator movie wasn’t “Ben Huh.“ No can do? Go sit on the coib and eat oithwoims.
Boston next. Want to pack yih cah in the Hah-vid Yad? Fine, but stay out of earshot of little beantowners trying to learn English. They have a whole word to compete with, and speaking like you do might impair their ability to master Spanish or Japanese.
We’ll need an entire army of police for California, where not only has proper pronunciation fallen off the planet, but the meaning of language itself. Fer sher. Would somebody please stop the practice of ending declarative sentences with question marks? “Uh, hi? I’m, like, the Doctor? I need to take your blood pressure? I haftask ya to roll up yer sleeve?…”
Oh, yes, we need the accent police. Let’s call it the Henry Higgins Brigade. Until these people master the simple act of articulation, they will be forced to do nothing but text until their thumbs rot.