Cutting through Accents on the Air

Every now and again I get a phone call or make a QSO, with someone I struggle to understand.

Accents can be troublesome, perhaps more so with other background noise and just maybe because my ears are a smidge older these days.

(If you have been there, you probably hear the accent in your mind)

I have been using a two part system to help improve communications – the “Example and Explain” system.

Example” is my switching into an precisely enunciated pattern of speech and asking for confirmation of important points. Not over the top, but noticeable.

Explain” is being honest and telling them I am struggling to understand them well. I never suggest their accent is the issue, but rather tell them things like “these old ears are struggling, can you help me and repeat?” Most people with local accents have some awareness that not everyone can understand them, and while I never want them to give up that special twang that defines them, if I need help, I am going to ask them.

Simple system that works for me.



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