Are you proud of your accent and what it represents,

such as your regional origins, class background, education and any other relevant social
aspect of your upbringing and life journey? Well, you should be!

Hi, I’m Dr. Alex Baratta and I conduct research on language (specifically accent) and identity. My research thus far received much media coverage in 2014, to include a TV interview with BBC Northwest; 14 BBC radio interviews, as well as radio interviews with STT-Lehtikuva (Finland) and WLR FM Waterford (Ireland); articles in 12 British newspapers; articles in Finnish newspapers such as Etelä-Saimaa and Kymen Sanomat; coverage on Channel Five's The Wright Show; and coverage on Italian and Canadian news sites. In 2015, I received further coverage in the Manchester Evening News and The Times. In 2016, I received coverage in eight British newspapers (The Guardian and The Telegraph, for example); I was interviewed by 21 radio stations from around the country, from BBC Merseyside to BBC Oxford; and I was interviewed on BBC Breakfast TV on May 13th. The updates in 2015/2016 are regarding my research on trainee teachers and how they have been instructed to modify their accents by mentors, having investigated this in two northern and two southern universities. The results show that teachers with accents deriving from the southeast, such as Kent, are not told to modify their accents at all; teachers with accents regional to the north or Midlands, however, are told to do so. This leaves many teachers feeling like frauds as they accommodate to someone else's view of what is 'correct' speech. Look at it this way: if you've aced teacher training and the students can understand you, why is that not enough? Please go to the links section, to see all updates.
In 2017, I was interviewed on February 23rd by BBC Radio Five, discussing the issue of accent modification in Britain and its implications for upward mobility; on August 14th, I was interviewed by Radio Cumbria, discussing the implications for accentism in modern-day Britain. I give talks to the public on accent and identity, to include the implications for accent within the workplace, revealing that accent preference - and prejudice - is still a live issue in work-based contexts.

The purpose of this website, however, is not just to celebrate the diversity of British accents. Rather, it goes further, by discussing what the implications might be when other people don’t like our accent. All too often, the results of such linguistic prejudice – accentism – are negative stereotypical notions about the speaker, based solely on his/her accent, such as: ‘she’s thick’, ‘he’s a thief’, ‘they’re working class’, ‘he’s a snob’; ‘she’s a WAG’, ‘he’s common’, ‘she’s arrogant’ and so on. This often leads to individuals feeling the need to consciously modify their natural accent, which in turn can lead to a feeling of not being true to oneself.

I would be interested in hearing from the British public (and anybody else) on this matter in terms of if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of accentism in any way, shape or form, or merely felt that you have.
Your voices need to be heard!

Please contact me if you want me to visit your organisation to give a talk on this subject: alex.baratta@manchester.ac.uk

Also, here is the link to my upcoming book with Bloomsbury, Accent and Teacher Identity in Britain (2008):

https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/accent-and-teacher-identity-in-britain-9781350054929/

Thank you for your Response, we will review it shortly.