Putting on a voice for American accents? Sounds wrong to me?

Madison   Thursday, February 19, 2004, 11:52 GMT
I really need an American accent (if I have to specify, I'll just a normal "Michigan" accent) for my job. I do fairly suck at it, which is definitely a problem. Now a girl I work with has told me that I should put on a voice to sound American - she means talk in a voice that's faster and higher pitched than usual (and try to use American pronunciation on some vowels or sounds like "r"). That can't be right, can it? I've got a horrible feeling that if I do this in public, I'll get my ass kicked in about three seconds.
However - I'm having great difficulties, currently, at getting a US accent because though I've learnt the American way of pronuncing vowels etc (e.g. tongue back and low in mouth for "oh" sound, lips rounded) it just doesn't come together and I have to mentally think about how to say the words with an accent before I say them, and even then they don't come out right.
Normally I wouldn't care, but I **really** need to get an American accent for my job - so what do you think? Should I try my friend's method?
Jim   Thursday, February 19, 2004, 23:49 GMT
Get a new job.
Adam   Friday, February 20, 2004, 01:23 GMT
American accents are easy to do. I can do one without much effort.
mjd   Friday, February 20, 2004, 01:28 GMT
I imagine our accents are fairly easy to do. Just throw in an "R" at the end, but doing a good British accent is rather difficult for us without the proper coaching (at least for me).
Craig   Friday, February 20, 2004, 03:04 GMT
Why do you need an American accent for your job?
Madison   Friday, February 20, 2004, 04:55 GMT
I work as a telemarketer and most customers don't like the sound of a foreign accent - very hostile, hang up immediately, etc. Also, I work for an American company, so the workers are supposed to sound native.

Thanks for answering my question.
Ness   Friday, February 20, 2004, 05:11 GMT
Sometimes it's easier to do an accent in a different pitch. When I talk in a Southern American accent, my pitch rises. When I do a mock British accent, it lowers. Where are you from originally? Just practice, and only use your "new" accent when it seems to come out naturally and comfortably.
mjd   Friday, February 20, 2004, 08:16 GMT
Think of it as an impression, Madison. It might seem silly at first, but I'm sure you'll be good enough to fool some of us native speakers (of course then we'll proceed to hang up on you...I mean we all hate telemarketers, dont we? ;.)
wingyellow   Friday, February 20, 2004, 09:28 GMT
Yes, it has nothing to do with accents.
If you can recieved 100 bucks by listening to my accent, will you hang up on me? People hate telemarketers, not your accents.
In fact, if people discriminate against your accents, they will discriminate against your color, gender, age or education.
Alice   Friday, February 20, 2004, 14:08 GMT
It's well known that telemarketers with non-native accents are discriminated against. For one thing, people assume they won't speak understandable English. A lot of people are also bothered by the fact that American jobs are being shipped to other countries, esp. when the US ecomony is so terrible. It's very common, for example, to call for tech suppot for an American company, and end up talking to someone in India.

Madison, my advice to you is to try to talk along with American film and television. Practice reading a book out loud in your new accent when you're alone. Eventually, you'll get comfortable with it. Good luck!
HongKonger   Friday, February 20, 2004, 18:52 GMT
Hey Wingyellow, I thought you are gone for good.

What did you go through when you tried to put on an american accent?