In an earlier post I talked about the differences between American English and British English. One area the two homes of English speaking differ markedly is in pronunciation.  For example, I might say missile, they say ‘missle’.

When you get to polysyllable words, then you’ll often hear the differences. I might say controversy, they might say controversy. I definitely say laboratory, whereas our American friends prefer to put the accent on the first syllable and let the others trail behind like the links of a chain dragged along the ground.

Wherever you choose to place your accent, be aware that it’s a real differentiator, and not just between these two countries. When you get it wrong altogether it signals that the language is not your first choice. ‘It’s really important,’ as a former boss of mine is fond of saying, ‘to put the emphasis on the right syllable.’