Unlearning to Tawk Like a New Yorker

Published By: 
The New York Times
Published Date: 
2010, November 19
Article Excerpt: 

“I have seen a notable rise in the number of self-referred corporate execs who are trying to retain their competitive edge within their corporations, be clearly understood by customers or clients who typecast or stigmatize them by their speech patterns,” Mr. Chwat said.

Those who seek professional help to conquer their accents make similar complaints, like, “ ‘People don’t understand what I’m saying,’ ” said Sam Chwat, who is considered the dean of speech therapists. “ ‘I’m stigmatized by the way I speak.’ ‘I’m tired of people imitating or ridiculing the way I speak, or saying I sound “cute.” ’ ‘My accent seems to imply negative characteristics.’ ”