When I am in England visiting family, for example, I am the Yankee. I have to switch my accent to English middle-class when I speak. When I am visiting other members of my widely scattered family here in North America, I am the Limey and again have to adjust how I talk.
There’s nothing wrong with accents. They add color to our conversations, and they tell the listener quite a bit about the speaker. Just think what a dull world it would be if we all talked exactly the same way. That’s one of the beauties of the English language. Everybody (usually) understands everybody else, no matter where they come from—Chicago or New Orleans, Brooklyn or Seattle, Toronto or Vancouver, London or Liverpool, Dublin or Belfast, Edinburgh or Glasgow, Mumbai or New Delhi, Cape Town or Johannesburg, or Sidney or Melbourne…cities and lands almost ad infinitum. Our ears quickly adjust to new accents and we generally understand each other quite well.
As visitors to the UK quickly discover, there are more regional accents on that little island than on the whole of the North American continent, and some of them can be pretty hard on the ears. Especially in the big cities like Birmingham, Liverpool, and Glasgow, where the natives have their own argots. Fortunately, when talking to strangers, they usually switch to more understandable English.
In Africa and India, the local English is also heavily accented, but educated citizens usually try to speak correct English. But what is correct English? It depends on what school they went to or where they have traveled or with whom they do business. You will hear American-flavored English or British-sounding English, but there is no serious difference.
Today, with our modern communications and international travel, the varied English accents can be heard all over the world in every business and profession. Whether it is a Scots accent or an Australian or a Boston accent, each one is the music of a fascinating symphony of sound.