Language: The Complicated Song of Accents & Intonations

I consider myself a wonderful communicator. I have worked over the years to always speak purposefully and concisely. In high school, my professors would poke fun that I said the word “like” too often out of nervousness and habit; because of that, I made a point to strengthen my communication and presentation skills. Those skills came in handy in my time in my university where we would present at least once a week in any given course. I don’t always get it right, but it is a skill I am very passionate about.

If you know me in real life, you know I always say I could leave my house and hear dozens of languages in any given day. I have an ear for picking up different accents. If you know me for a long time, you may know that I slip into different accents depending on my mood. For example, if I am completely exhausted I will slip into an Australian accent. A very Melbourne accent, much deeper in tone than that sing-song tone of other coastal cities in Australia. If I am slightly passionate about a topic, I may slip into a New York accent, something like the accent of an Italian in Brooklyn. 

I could speak all day of the various accents in the Spanish language. The Spanish of countries like El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela are so chill, so chill that they will often pull a French and skip the last few letters of the word, especially if the word ends with an “s.” Los caribeños from the gorgeous islands of Cuba, Republica Dominicana and Puerto Rico have such a powerful way of speaking Spanish. 

The Spanish from Spain has a tone that makes you feel like you are having such an intimate conversation with a friend that is choosing their words carefully with the occasional “emmm” or “vale.” Many languages, such as French and German, are similar in that if you need a moment, you just fill that space with an “emm.”

As I hear and speak more and more Spanish and German on a daily basis, I have noticed that the distinct tones of those languages do not translate well into English. These intonation patterns and additional words are not exactly praised in the English language. Almost every person I know from Lisbon to Bochum has that space that is filled with a filler word. But in the English that I speak and hear every day, the tones are much different. 

If you have those filler words in your native language or languages, don’t let that go just because it may not be overtly welcomed in English. If you are interested in changing the habit of using filler words, I have a few tips for you. Firstly, know that you are not being rushed even though you may feel rushed. If you are up giving a presentation, people are not going to check out of the conversation because you took a moment to regroup. Take a breath (or exhale that bit of nervous breath you’re holding in) and continue on. In fact, I have been known to pause for dramatic effect. If you wait just a few seconds to speak, you may just grab the attention of some members of the audience because you are about to deliver a great word and are building up the anticipation. 

When it comes to languages, each one has its own patterns and tones. Similarly, your marketing message has its own pattern and tone. Separate from an accent or an umlaut, each person may read your marketing message differently. Heritage Writing Co. understands the importance of language, syntax, and culture. Contact us today to mold your tone on social media for your audience!

If you’re not done reading about language, read our blog post called “Language: What Marketers Can Learn from Vacation”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s