A public talk hosted by Brock next week will bring to light the mystique, social meaning and scientific significance of accents.
Presented by Professor Murray Munro of Simon Fraser University, the lecture will be held Thursday, June 16 as part of the Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching (PSLLT) Conference, a three-day event hosted by Brock’s Department of Applied Linguistics.
“Everybody has an accent and that’s something we sometimes forget. We think it’s the other person who has the accent,” says Munro. “We notice immediately when somebody is just a little bit different from us in terms of speech patterns, and we make social evaluations about people based on how they sound.”
Munro explains that part of the reason that people are so perceptive of accents relates to an infant’s early development.
“The seeds are sown for accents before we even begin to speak,” he says. “During the first year of life, the brain is wiring itself on the basis of the speech the infant hears to optimize language learning, which affects our way of speaking. That’s how accents eventually emerge.”
Munro hopes to welcome a wide audience, including language teachers and speech-language pathologists as well as students working in sociology, linguistics and education.
What: “Foreign Accents: Their Mystique, Social Meaning and Scientific Significance”
When: 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 16
Where: Thistle 325 on Brock University’s main campus
Full conference registration is not required to attend. Please note that medical mask and vaccine mandates are in effect for all visitors to Brock’s campus.