Los Angeles Times “In Los Angeles, the Accents Say a Lot” written by: Patt Morrison

Home/Los Angeles Times “In Los Angeles, the Accents Say a Lot” written by: Patt Morrison
Los Angeles Times “In Los Angeles, the Accents Say a Lot” written by: Patt Morrison 2017-01-24T23:22:14+00:00
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]March 15, 2007

The Angelenos who come to Lisa Mojsin for help are accomplished professionals who want to accomplish more.
“Some people,” she said, “hear an accent and assume things about you” — meaning negative things. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s real.”

For those who do take on English-as-she-is-spoken, Mojsin, a polyglot who founded the accent-reduction school Accurate English, understands their pain — the elusive pacing and vocal range of spoken English, the treachery of American vowel sounds. She has been helping a Latin American veterinarian who’s gotten into trouble with the second syllable in “worksheet,” and a native Spanish speaker whose boss’ name is Doug, a word the woman invariably pronounces as “dog” — not a good career move.

“The success story,” Mojsin said, is seeing their new confidence and bosses who call and say “everyone understands them at work!”

One of Mojsin’s students, Lily, works for a big multinational company. She speaks Thai and two Chinese languages — but believes that she’s taken “less seriously” because of her accented English. She reads her e-mail into a tape recorder to practice diminishing her accent, to be ready to take on bigger accounts and bigger clients.

Another student, Sev, is a French architect who works as a designer at a Los Angeles firm. She sought out Mojsin after realizing she wasn’t connecting on the phone; the consultants and engineers she needed to reach kept asking her to repeat herself.   On top of that, she said, “I’m a girl, I’m young and I’m French. I just wanted to have more confidence.”  But remember the ooh-la-la factor: When people found out Sev was trying to rein in her accent, some of them — including her boss — said, “Oh, you have a cute accent; you’re not going to lose it, are you?” [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]