Accentuate

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.

We’ll save Diane Rehm for another rant./

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This entry was posted in Gen. Snark, Maj. Snafu, Corp. Punishment. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Accentuate

  1. Old Timer says:

    Henry Higgins Brigade! HA!

    “Just you white, ‘Enry ‘Iggins, just you white…….”

  2. Hose B says:

    I agree that a teacher needs to exhibit easy-to-comprehend speech. I agree that it’s possible, although unlikely, that her accent was as difficult to understand as alleged. I’m also certain that 90% of this was just garden variety prejudice against Mexicans, and it’s not even a little surprising that it all went away when the threat of litigation became real.

  3. Mister E says:

    The fact is, we ALL have accents, and within the same region, we don’t even notice it. Kids in NY would probably have more trouble understanding an adult who DIDN’T have a NY accent.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hose B –

    Hispanic kids comprise about 85% of the Creighton District’s student population – does this information alter your opinion?

    • Hose B says:

      What difference does that make, Anonymous? Read the article: the action was brought by the state department of education that reports directly to the governor and is managed by her appointees. This was a political move to appease her right wing base, the same bigoted hordes who want to build border walls, pass English-only laws, deny services to illegal aliens while providing no path to citizenship, etc. We see it all the time.

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