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Special Education/What does a person have to do so his new born daughter


QUESTION: What does a person have to do so his new born daughter will speak British English with a British accent, not American English with an American accent?  Can this only be done if the child lives in the United Kingdom or can this also be done in the United States with a British mother that speaks with a British accent? Why would a child speak English with an American accent in the United States, even if the British mother only speaks with a British accent? The European man wants; that if his daughter were to walk the streets in the United Kingdom everybody thinks that she is born in the United Kingdom and that is impossible to tell that she lives in the United States.  That is why he has a child with a British woman. British women are different than North American women.

ANSWER: Exposure to language creates the accent.  People who speak different dialects of English are first influenced by the people who raise them, but all other language understood will influence the accent they speak.  The more "pure" the accent is depends upon the influences of language the child engages.

My daughter in law was raised as a Russian speaking child.  In her childhood her parents moved to the United States.  She speaks English with only a hint of accent and speaks fluent Russian.  She and my son hoped that their daughter would learn Russian, but she only knows a few words.  Her accent sounds more like her father.  She was never engaged in conversation in Russian, except a phrase or two, listened to people converse, but probably didn't know enough to engage.

So, if you want your child to have a pure British accent while living in America you will probably have to control whom she or he converses with...parents must have a British accent, relatives, friends, media influences, school all would be best within the British accent...later in life you can force her to only use the accent you want.  Why one would do this I don't know.  But that's the way language works.  My mother was British born and raised me in rural Wyoming, she was very proud of her accent, but over the years lost it.  Mostly it didn't bother her, but she would apologize for saying something that sounded American.  Interestingly, when her sister or brother came to visit her accent returned until they left, also when we visited England her complete accent was back.

I wish you luck...sorry it took so long to answer, I have been on Holiday.

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QUESTION: Basically the European father wants his daughter to always speak the same type of English that is used on BBC world service radio and BBC World News TV. Her British mother always speaks BBC English.

The most effective thing she can do is to practice with the child in the form of the language the father wants to use.  The more it is BBC English, the more distinct her accent will be.  As she gets older the parents can encourage the child through reinforcement of her correct usage.  The mother can limit exposure to other language versions.  It would be easier if the family lived in Britain, and that I suppose may be an option.

The three responses I made to this are based upon my limited knowledge of the linguistics of language, while I am trained in the teaching of language, I do not hold any linguistic expertise beyond that of a teacher, therefore, understand that while my knowledge is greater than the mean of the population it may not be expert.  

Check on the site to see if a linguistics expert is listed.

Have a great day!

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Dr. Norm Bishop


I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.


I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website,

I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

Past/Present Clients

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