I offer conversational practice in both English and Italian, and at the end of my sessions I sometimes ask for feedback on how the call could’ve been improved or changed in some way, especially if the student is new.
I am getting paid to offer a service and if I am doing anything that should be changed, I want to know about it!
Also, after each call students are prompted to give me written feedback and so far I haven’t received any negative criticism, which is both quite nice but also a bit frustrating because I know I could improve, I am not perfect.
This was the case until a couple of weeks ago, that is!
I had a call with an Italian looking to practice their English skills, and as always I made sure throughout he could understand me clearly and I wasn’t speaking too fast.
I have quite a strong Northern Irish accent, and whilst I don’t make it a secret (I wrote this on my online tutoring profile and I also have a video of me speaking in both Italian and English) I always worry it will catch people unaware.
It turns out, to this Italian’s ear I speak English with a German accent (queue smiling emoji).
I have encountered this before, with my Italian cousins. They always tease me and my husband for not speaking the Queen’s English, and I know the Northern Irish accent can seem fairly harsh at times when compared to the stereotypical English way of speaking.
I really appreciated his comments as they did make me smile. I can’t really help it, the student did acknowledge I speak very clearly (a piece of feedback I regularly get, so it’s hopefully true) but he found my German accent strange.
It’s really interesting how people from different countries can perceive other accents, I wonder if anyone else has experienced anything similar?