Dialogue comprehension: Different accents

    Business Spotlight Audio 10/2023
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    © Gerd Altmann/Pixabay.com
    Von Talitha Linehan

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    This dialogue is inspired by the article “How your accent affects your career”. In this conversation, you will hear an Irishman and an Indian man having a conversation about accent biasVorurteilbias at work. Listen carefully, because we will test your understanding of what you have heard afterwards.

    Raj: I’m sick and tired of people asking me to repeat everything I say when I make phone calls. I refuse to believe that my accent is that hard to understand.

    Sean: That must be really frustrating. I can understand you perfectly.

    Raj: I imagine you don’t have as many issueProblemissues with your Irish accent. After all, you’re a native speaker of English. I grew up speaking Gujurati at home, so English is my second language.

    Sean: No, I’ve never experienced problems at work because of my accent. It’d make me anxiousängstlich, verunsichertanxious every time I opened my mouth if I thought someone was going to to mock sth.sich über etw. lustig machenmock my accent.

    Raj: Well, that’s the way it is for me. When recruiterPersonalreferent(in)recruiters hear my accent, they sometimes slow down their speech and ask me if I have understood everything. Just because I have an accent, that doesn’t make me an idiot.

    Sean: Absolutely not! Sorry you’ve had to go through all this, Raj!

    Raj: A friend of mine went to elocution lessonsSprechunterrichtelocution lessons to make his accent sound more American than Indian, but my accent is part of my identity. I don’t see why I should be forced to speak differently.

    OK, now it’s time to test your understanding of what you have just heard. Listen to the following statements based on the dialogue and decide whether they are true or false. You will hear the answer after the beep that follows each sentence. Ready? Let’s go!

    1. Raj is frequently asked to say things again when speaking to people on the phone.

    • This statement is true. People often ask Raj to “repeat” things on the phone.

    2. Raj doesn’t think his accent is that hard to understand and Sean agrees with him.

    • This statement is true. Raj “refuses to believe that his accent is that hard to understand”. If you “refuse to believe something”, then you do not believe it to be true. Sean says that he can understand everything Raj says.

    3. Sean thinks he would feel nervous about speaking if he thought people would make fun of his accent whenever he spoke.

    • This statement is true. Sean says he would feel “anxious” if he thought people would “mock” his accent whenever he said anything.

    4. Raj to appreciate sth.etw. schätzen, für etw. dankbar seinappreciates recruiters’ efforts to be more inclusive.

    • This statement is false. Raj is annoyedverärgertannoyed that recruiters often slow down their speech when they talk to him because of his accent. He doesn’t like being treated like he is stupid.

    5. Raj is thinking of taking elocution lessons like his friend.

    • This statement is false. Raj doesn’t see why he should have to change his accent. Elocution lessons focus on changing the way you speak.

    Did you get all of those right? If not, listen to the dialogue once more and try the exercise again.


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