Hélène Langinier, associate professor at EM Strasbourg, took part in the program C'est déjà demain on the topic of accent discrimination for French students, broadcast on France Bleu on December 16, 2020.
A few days ago, the French National Assembly passed a law that punishes discrimination based on accent in the same way as discrimination based on race, disability, or gender. But what is the reality?
Differences in accents can lead to funny or embarrassing situations when two people have difficulty communicating. Everyone has been there with varying degrees of patience.
When our students leave France to go abroad, they are the ones who find themselves in this situation, where they have to make themselves understood and aren’t always comfortable speaking with a French accent.
So how do you keep an accent from becoming a problem in everyday life or at work?
Hélène Langinier, a specialist in intercultural management, expatriation, and linguistic diversity, spoke about this subject. One possible approach, she said, would be to boost learning by highlighting linguistic diversity and accent diversity. Accepting others with their accents could help students reduce inhibitions, improve foreign language skills, and open up to different cultures, which are key skills for working in a multicultural environment.