One in five Canadians speaks English (and French) as a second language. And more Canadians than ever speak with an accent, including Babel host Mariel Borelli. But while we love diversity in the streets, it can be a different story in the workplace. Babel explores what it’s like to have an accent on the job in Canada.
All about teaching pronunciation
When Karen Butler went in for dental surgery, she left with more than numb gums: She also picked up a pronounced foreign accent. It wasn’t a fluke, or a joke — she’d developed a rare condition called foreign accent syndrome that’s usually caused by an injury to the part of the brain that controls speech.
Robert Siegel talks with John McWhorter, associate professor of linguistics at University of California, Berkeley, who has written a new book The Power of Babel. McWhorter discusses how languages have evolved and why some languages are complex and others simple. (7:45) The book is to be published this month by Henry Holt.