october 29 2016, 12:01am, the times
Why does prejudice against some accents persist?
Everyone knows that it’s pendant, not pedant.
Every English speaker has an accent. And almost every English speaker has an accent that can be tied to a region. I say “almost” because of one highly unusual British accent that isn’t geographically identifiable.
As to the actual argument it’s not unusual at all. English has, rather more than many languages, a great selection of regional accents, that’s entirely true. They’re geographically concentrated in a manner that can surprise foreigners. Try telling someone from the West Coast of the US that you can tell not just the postcode (BA1, BA2) but the subset of the postcode (BA2 1xx is Twerton and very, very, different from BA2 2xx and so on) of someone from Bath within four words of their mouth opening and they’ll be astonished. You can’t really tell the difference between LA and SF by accent alone. German varies so as to be different languages across Lander but not so much between villages.
But what everywhere has is a national “educated” accent. One that betrays no hint of regional or local origin.
The unusual thing about English is the extreme locality of many accents plus their sheer number, not the existence of a single non-regional one.
At which point fun story from past comments here. When Arnie movies are in German they on’t use Arnie to do his own stuff. Because the Terminator sounding like some very, very, rural yokel from the edges of civilisation in Austria just doesn’t cut it.