, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 243-259,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 16 Apr 2009

A market of accents

Abstract

This paper describes the cultural semantics of internet courses in American accent. Such courses are offered by corporate providers to specific groups of customers: people in search of success in the globalized business environment. The core of such courses is an order of indexicality which stresses uniformity and homogeneity, producing an invisible accent that replaces existing ‹foreign’ (i.e. authentic, biographic) accents. It is a new form of commodified dialectology, which differs quite substantially from common state and academic attitudes towards dialects and accents. The procedures used by such private providers are instances of language policing aimed at the infinitely small stuff of language: pronunciation. They show the interplay of different institutional actors in producing language norms within a globalized environment, and they raise issues of subjectivity and agency.