Stories

Enrique

I had to raise an issue with higher management in a big multinational because they said we couldn’t speak any language other than English while on shift (illegal) and that we would lose bonuses or get fired if we did (highly illegal). They even dared to put it in writing and send an email stating ALL of it. Of course, they had to back down. But out of a team of 50-60 people (90% foreigners), nobody else was brave enough to complain. Not even foreign managers.

Mike

My girlfriend at uni (now wife) admitted that she didn’t believe I’d really got 4 As at A level because of how stupid I sounded with my Yorkshire accent. I had to show her the certificates in the end.

Mark

I remember a kid in the PRU I worked in telling me I talked like a “posh gay nonce”

Mike

My current headteacher told the rest of SLT that she’d rather I didn’t read out in assemblies due to my ‘flat Northern voice’. I insisted. Ever since, I’ve been told by teachers I do the best assemblies.

John

As a young academic I once had a student come up to me after a linguistics lecture and tell me they thought it disgraceful that someone with an accent like mine could teach at a university (I’m a Geordie for the record).