When we speak a language, it is almost certain that we have an accent. If English is not our first language, it is likely that we speak English with an accent of our first language.

In my case, it is always Cantonese-accented English. Wherever I go, when I strike up a conversation with English native speakers, they always ask me if I come from Hong Kong. I would then explain that I am a Malaysian and speak Cantonese as my first language.

When I teach English conversation to Chinese-speaking learners, I can tell that many of them speak a Mandarin-accented English. Does that really matter? The answer is no. Not at all. And Japanese speak with Nihongo-accented English. Does it matter? Certainly not.

Thais speak Thai-accented English, and Koreans speak Korean-accented English. This is very natural and I am glad to have them practise English speaking with me because I know they come from a culture and I enjoyed guiding them so that they tell me the stories of their culture in English.

I pay more attention to the flair of speaking English. Always speak and express yourself naturally. We are who we are. Yes we can improve pronunciation, but we are still who we are. So long as our expression is understandable, such as speaking in received pronunciation (RP), having an accent doesn’t matter at all.





我比較注重說英語的流暢度。時時自然而然地表達想法,我們就是我們自己。我們當然可以改善發音,但我們依舊是我們自己。祇要我們的口語表達容易讓人明白,例如緊跟標準英音 received pronunciation (RP),有口音其實不是問題。