Random Review wrote:I read somewhere (possibly HTLAL?) that people who are more skilled with empathy tend to have better accents.
That seems quite plausible. Even within the native speaking community, we often modify our speech to be more similar to people we're speaking to in order to make ourselves seem more friendly and likeable -- this is called convergence. (There's also divergence -- when we dislike someone, we'll often modify our speech to be as little like them as possible.) This only happens if you show empathy, so anyone who is socially awkward is less likely to do this.
Which leads us to...
lichtrausch wrote:Yeah, professors prove this one wrong. Some absolutely brilliant people with sometimes awful accents. A French physics professor I once had comes to mind especially, although I suspect he was aware of how most Americans find his accent attractive, so he didn't have much incentive to improve it.
Someone recently said to me "if you want to see what autism is like, go to a senior faculty meeting" (his brother was a university professor, and on the autistic spectrum).
Academia is full of people who're great at dealing with the theoretical minutiae of their subjects -- sounds slightly ASD to me. ASD is not-entirely-accurately caricatured as a lack of empathy, but certainly manifests as social difficulty. "Convergence" is a social phenomenon, so is something that isn't necessarily easy.
rdearman wrote:Smallwhite is correct, my question is, all other factors being equal will a more intelligent person have better pronunciation?
As has been said, intelligent people are more likely to spot that there's a problem and determine a path to a solution.
But there's one variable that outperforms intelligence: teaching. In my opinion, intelligence (if defined as a spectrum for humans without a specific neurological or psychological ) is only really important for learning when the teaching is not optimised. Intelligence is what we use to fill in the gaps in what we've been told.
A theoretical wonder-course would reduce the impact of intelligence massively. Right now, pronunciation is one of the most under-taught language skills there is. It is an article of faith for many teachers that pronunciation "will take care of itself", so it isn't taught, and people have to go out of their way to learn it.
desitrader wrote:Is pronunciation a function of intelligence?
No, but it is a function of emotional intelligence.
The first person who can define what emotional intelligence actually means wins a coconut. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard it talked about, but I have never heard an understandable definition.