Everyone speaks with an accent. Accent tells people where you are from and where you have been geographically and culturally. Accent represents a certain social and economic class. Yet, some accents are more preferred than the other in a world of globalization and standardization.
As an immigrant who speaks English as a second language, I am the main subject of this project. In an attempt to understand the concept of reducing one's native accent and learn to speak like an American, I am using my body as a tool to research and experiment by enrolling myself to an accent reduction class. Could I really get rid of the trace of my mother tongue? What aspect of my speech makes me sound foreign to Americans? How would I feel if I realize I am unable to speak like a native and to assimilate to the local culture?
Besides taking the class, I have interviewed linguists, accent coaches and students to learn more about what an accent really is and the reasons people want to lose their foreign accents. Where does the desire and pressure to assimilate come from? How much does this desire tell us about hegemony, as well as economic and cultural globalization?
The project consists of one 7-minute video, Reduction Study (Ping Pong), and three different 40-minute videos, Reduction Study (Skype Lessons).
Installation with videos and sound
Reduction Study (Ping Pong)
HD video with sound, 7 minute cycle
Reduction Study (Skype Lessons), excerpt
HD video with sound