Sure and we’ve got that point that it only takes an Englishman to open his mouth and other Englishmen will hate him. Accents do in fact matter. Because they are indeed evidence of who you are and where you’re from. This being as true of the most perfect RP as it is of Twerton’s glottalised Mummerset.
And yet the French are still weird:
In France, it’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it. When the prime minister, Jean Castex, opens his mouth, he is often accused of being “a bit rugby” – he comes from the south-west, where the sport is popular. Others with regional accents sound like “they should be reading the weather”.
Now the French have not only come up with a word for this kind of prejudice – glottophobie – but a new law banning it. The Assemblée Nationale has adopted legislation making linguistic discrimination an offence along with racism, sexism and other outlawed bigotry.
This is, remember, a country which has an authorised and legal body – the Academie – which determines what words may be used, what words must be used. A country with the Toubon law which insists upon what words may be used in advertising. Jack Allgood having demanded that only French – that language controlled by the Academie – may be used.
A country where indigenous languages like Breton were illegal to teach in. Which has spent centuries trying to wipe out regional variation like Oc in favour of Oil.
And now they’re saying that it is to be illegal to note, or take action upon, peeps who speak with variations?
The French are weird and don’t ever let anyone tell you different.