What Does Having an Accent Mean?
An accent is simply how you pronounce sounds, use intonation and place stress on words or syllables in a particular language. When you learn to speak a new language, like American English, using these features differently than native speakers creates an accent. You may know a vast amount of vocabulary and all of the grammar rules, but the pronunciation of the sounds in English may be influenced by the other languages you speak or what region you are from. Even if you do not speak English as a second language or have a strong regional dialect, you have your own unique accent!
Having an accent does not reflect negatively on you. It just means that you are a speaker of English as a second language or from a different region. An accent coach can help you with training to pinpoint how sounds are typically produced in the American English accent. I like to say that it is proof of having learned another language. An accent is a reflection of our experience. It reflects who we are and the language of our home country or region. Our patterns of speech begin to form when we are just months old and continue to be shaped through our lifetime.