How does the English accent sound in your language?

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by basurero, Feb 27, 2005.

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  1. basurero Senior Member

    uk
    Hi
    I was interested to know how English speakers sound when they speak foreign languages. In English some foreign accents sounds harsh, romantic etc. Some have stronger accents while other people have no problem adopting good English pronounciation. What do people think of the Englsih accent in your language?

    Hola
    Me interesa saber cómo suenan angloparlantes cuando hablan otros idiomas. En inglés algunos accentos suenan ásperos o románticos etc. Algunas personas tienen accentos muy fuertes pero otras pueden aprender la pronunciación inglesa con toda facilidad. ¿Qué piensa la gente en el accento inglés en tu idioma?
     
  2. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    Bas: I am so glad that you asked this question. I wonder the same thing all of the time! For example, if I try to imitate a Frenchman speaking English, I replace the "th"'s with "z"'s, and I throat my "r"'s. If I were to imitate an Italian speaking English, I would add a whole bunch of "e"'s before every word. lol I hope I don't offend anyone.

    I'd like to know, too: How to people from other countries imitate English accents??? :p
     
  3. Dalian

    Dalian Senior Member

    Shanghai, China
    Mandarin
    Mandarin is a tone language, while English is not.
    Generally we have four tones. A syllable using different tones have different meanings.
    e.g. ma (level tone)=mother
    ma (rising tone)=hemp
    ma (falling-rising)=horse
    ma (falling)=scold
    Most English-speaking people have difficulties in distinguishing the tones, and they tend to speak mandarin sentences in a plain intonation.
    Hope I made myself clear, anyway, English and Chinese differ a lot and are hard to compare.
    It's also difficult for us to pronounce good English.
     
  4. Javier-Vega Senior Member

    Mexico espanol
    First, english-speaking people are usually unable to pronounce 'rr' and the strong 'r' at the beginning of a word, so they pronounce it as a weak 'r'. For example, when they say "burro" sounds like "buro" to us. (Well, this is probably more universal, not limited to english-speaking people, since the spanish 'rr' is quite difficult).
    More particular of english-speaking people is that they tend to say the 'o' at the end of a word like an 'ou'. For example, 'amigo' sounds like 'amigou'.

    Apart from that, there is a lot of very typical phrases in bad learned spanish ('No problema' or 'No problemo' instead of 'No hay problema', and so on).
     
  5. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    First of all, people from the same country but with different educational backgrounds often sound very different when they speak English.


    But how did you post kanji and hiragana?

    猿も木から落ちる, "Even monkeys fall from trees" (Everyone makes mistakes.)

    Cool. :) It works! (But only for those of us who have Japanese installed…)
     
  6. Akialuz Senior Member

    Puerto Rico - Spanish
    I would imitate an American English speaker with a lot of "air puffing" when talking. Pronouncing all the "r's" as in butter. And making all the fianal vowels long and the others short.
    A Puertorrican speaking English (with a worst accent than mine!!) by pronouncing all the "r's" strong, the "sh" sound like "ch", the "y" like "ll", adding a "g" in front of 'weekend' (or actually in front of every w), pronouncing "th" like "s"... so many more!!
    ~Akialuz
    PS We think is cute the way North Americans sound.
    I know they hate our "Spanish accent".
     
  7. Lancel0t

    Lancel0t Senior Member

    Philippines
    Philippines - Filipino/English
    Here in the Philippines any foreigners who speak english and will try to speak in our language which is Filipino, will have a very hard time pronoucing our dialect properly because they usually can't immitate our hard accent. Fortunately many of us can immitate the American accent and I believe that is one of the reason why many US companies are outsourcing their call centers here in the Philippines. :)
     
  8. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    I admit, guilty..guilty as charged..I can't for the life of me roll the rr..
    I personally find the Spanish Language beautiful to listen to..I told all my friends in Mexico that I didn't care, call me a horse, tell me I dress funny, and so on..just talk. I don't know if the Alberta side of Canada has an accent??? I do not talk like a person from Texas (sorry) I do not have a southern drawl, I do not have a french accent.. I have no accent..
    It would be interesting to hear, or to find out.
    te gato;)
     
  9. zebedee

    zebedee the manamana mod

    Valencia - Spain
    Gt. Britain - English
    I would presume that anyone from out of Canada listening to you speak would say you had a Canadian accent, wouldn't they?

    zeb
     
  10. badger

    badger Senior Member

    Dublin, Ireland
    Ireland, English speaker
    Hi te gato.

    I lived Australia for a number of years (a long time ago) and didn't have much contact with Irish people. During that time I mistook Canadians for Irish on a few occasions, although I can't remember what part of Canada they came from.

    badger.
     
  11. ayed

    ayed Senior Member

    Riyadh
    Arabic
    Once I tried before my Prof.that I do know how to pronounce "Intersection"
    I said"Innersection"Immediately interrupted me :" You, say"InTERsection":eek:
    "Exteraordinary" and"Particular" were hard for me to pronounce.I would say the two words until I have won , eventually.
    Right now, I am affect with Exteraordinary & Particular Syndrom

    Thanks
     
  12. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I didn't even meet an English speaking people, but by TV and radio, I've already heard many native English speaker trying to say some words in German.

    Their worst problem I think is the German "r" (like the French one). They want to say "rennen (to run)" and it sounds like "uaennen", English speaking persons have problems to lose their 'soft rolled-r' created by the tongue to get the German 'harsh throat-r' produced in the throat without the tongue.

    And the verb ending -ern in e.g. "weigern (to refuse)" also gets this slightly rolled r to 'waygearn' instead of 'vaygern'. Here you can see another problem: The German w is pronounced as the English v.
     
  13. DDT

    DDT Senior Member

    Paris, France
    Italy - Italian
    You're not offensive, you're just terribly right!!! :D :D :D

    DDT
     
  14. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    Ok so there's the "r" thing, most English speakers I've met were unable to pronounce the French "r", what Whodunit says about the way it sounds in German also applies to French, also the vowel sounds like French "u" seem hard to grasp and our "é" sound tends to sound too much like "ay" in the mouth of English speakers.
    But I must say I find English accents quite charming in French, if they are not too strong.
     
  15. DesertCat Senior Member

    inglese | English
    The one thing I've noticed that many non-native English speakers have trouble with s words. Example: especial rather than special.
     
  16. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Hi guys;
    Ok First Badger;
    I think that everyone who hears a Canadian speak thinks that they have an accent..Sure! I'm not saying that there are no accents in Canada....I, for the life of me can't understand People from Newfoundland, Or, Prince Edward Island.:confused: ..Then there is Quebec, Ottawa...Yadda, yadda, yadda...
    I guess I didn't say it right...I was born in Alberta..We Alberta born do not have accents..(commented on to me quite a few times)--"Where are you from, you have no accent". Canada Is a Melting pot...We have different Nationalalities from all over living here, so maybe that is why you detected an accent.

    Now zeb;

    I would presume that anyone from out of Canada listening to you speak would say you had a Canadian accent, wouldn't they?

    zeb

    I guess you could say that...Yet I have been told I have no accent...Most people think a Canadian accent is a French accent (How can you be from Canada-you have no french accent) People from Toronto even have an accent--They say Toranna, and wanna (want to)..Maybe the Alberta born are on their own???:(
    The only way to prove my point...Call me some time..Then you tell me..:D
    te gato;)
     
  17. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    Sure, you have an accent. Trust me. I, on the other hand, have none. [​IMG]

    The only language other than English I have listened to a great deal is German, and I find that it varies, just as English does, from ugly to very beautiful, all depending on who is speaking it. :)
     
  18. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    meh.. if you have 2 people and they speak with different accents then they both have an accent. and i'm going to make the highly dangerous assumption that we probably do not speak in the same way or with the same accent. i think it would be safe on my part to assume that when people have said to you that you have no accent then what they mean is that your general north american accent has no features such that i can identify you as being from a region in particular :)
     
  19. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    In fact, it all comes down to how you define "accent". :) You see, here's my definition: an accent is what everyone in the world has except for me. :)

    Seriously, I agree with you.

    What we seem to be getting in various countries is some kind of "neutral" accent. For instance, when I turn on any of our cable news channels, all the women sound much the same to me. Or most of them. It's as if announcers are all taught to speak in much the same manner. I notice it less with the men, but it seems to me that "looks" are more important when women are hired, same old double-standard.

    So long as what I here deviates from this "standard" in a way that is very small, I can't identify the place any of these people come from. Someone with a keener ear could. :)
     
  20. DesertCat Senior Member

    inglese | English
    In regards to accents, people may use more than one accent. As someone who has always lived on the west coast I usually talk in that generic west coast way. That is, like national news broadcasters or Hollywood actors would talk. But, sometimes I unintentionally slip into a southern accent. I'm not even sure why I do it nor am I always aware that I'm doing it until other people comment on it.
     
  21. El Hondureño Senior Member

    New York, NY
    USA;English,Spanish,Brazilian Portuguese
    Yeah! I always did that too when I wanted to imitate French(sorry). I do have experiences where one of my friend's mothers(who is from Brazil) tries to talk English and it's like she speaks out of her throat(no offense).
     
  22. mjscott Senior Member

    Regardless of the newsperson and the "generic" accent--none of us has accents when we are among people who talk like us! If someone doesn't talk like us--and they say their vowels a little differently than we do--don't you suppose that our vowels sound a little differently to them? (Thus, to them we have an accent!)

    Anyway, regardless of the newsperson "generic" accent, the word that most newspeople have trouble getting out is nuclear. Most times it's pronounced NOO-cue-ler
    --when it should be
    NOO-clee-yer
     
  23. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    OKay...I give..UNCLE..I have a Canadian/Albertan accent.:D
    How it sounds I don't know...:confused:
    te gato;)
     
  24. El Hondureño Senior Member

    New York, NY
    USA;English,Spanish,Brazilian Portuguese
    I pronounce it New-Clee-er
    I always thought people from the South had accents because I thought they could always understand me but I couldn't understand them as much
    I learned something today(no offense)
     
  25. El Hondureño Senior Member

    New York, NY
    USA;English,Spanish,Brazilian Portuguese
    how does a Canadian accent sound?
     
  26. mjscott Senior Member

    te_gato-

    Would it be offensive to tell El Hundurano to rent the movie, Strange Brew? (with the McKenzie brothers....)
     
  27. El Hondureño Senior Member

    New York, NY
    USA;English,Spanish,Brazilian Portuguese
    What iis this "Strange Brew" you speak of? lol
     
  28. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    surely nuclear -> new-clear 2 sylablles? see what john kerry says about nuclear
    and listening to it he has 3 syllables too =[
     
  29. te gato

    te gato Senior Member

    Calgary, Alberta
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    He can rent it if he wishes..Sorry I am killing myself laughing:D :D
    The problem is that we don't talk like that..
    That movie was a satire..but SURE!! I would like to know what El Hundurano would say about it...
    Other than "TAKE OFF AY"
    te gato;)
     
  30. mjscott Senior Member

    It is a movie made in 1983 by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis. I think the entire title is, The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew. It really is a satire on beer-drinking local yokels from Canada. I would never recommend it for its content, but both Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis are Canadians. Because they overdo the stereotype and Canadian nuances in speech, you get the idea of what a Canadian accent sounds like....

    ....A good comparison (and excellent movie) would be Fargo, where you can hear some of the same nuances in voice patterns with a little variation. Fargo is the capital of North Dakota, which borders Canada.

    A good actor's dialect book will walk you through the slight differences heard when various cultures speak English--including if you were from the educated side, or rough side of your town.

    It is an interesting subject.
     
  31. El Hondureño Senior Member

    New York, NY
    USA;English,Spanish,Brazilian Portuguese
    Oh thnx now I PMed te_gato for nothing I had the wrong idea about the movie I thought it was directed at the Americans lol sorry
     
  32. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    So right, and I believe you are right that announcers tend to use a "norm" representing the west coast. Actors, on the other hand, I'm not so sure about. They are not pushed in the same way to conform to the accent of one area. :)

    Gaer
     
  33. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    Canadians sound like the Irish? So you would confuse the accent of Michael J. Fox for that of an Irishman? There are many people who are from Canada who don't sound to me much different (if at all) from people in the US. Hmm. [​IMG]
     
  34. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    Interesting. I am aware of the "r" problem, which I can SOMETIMES produce properly. What's interesting is the the "r" is rolled here and there in German in certain areas, but that may just be a special case for those who are actors. I need to ask about this.

    Gaer
     
  35. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    What do you mean by "a Canadian accent"? It's a big country. That's like saying "an American Accent". Your generalizing too much, I think…
     
  36. basurero Senior Member

    uk
    Interesting so far. But what I originally wanted to know was how it sounds when English speakers speak your language. You said that they have a hard time with the French 'r' etc, but how does this sound? Stupid, monotonous, harsh, angry, romantic....?
     
  37. duder Senior Member

    Ecuador
    USA/English
    Yes, I would be interested to know as well. For example, as a native english speaker I find that most foreign accents are pleasant to my ears and rarely have problems understanding them (although in a university environment I find that other students complain about foreign professors "not knowing how to speak english").

    However, as someone who speaks Spanish as a second language I have spent a great deal of time trying to perfect my pronunciation so as NOT to sound like a gringo. I think for this reason a heavy american accent while speaking Spanish sounds awful to me.

    What I have always wanted to do was imitate a stereotypical thick american accent with a new Spanish-speaking acquaintance as a joke and then eventually switch without warning to my real accent in order to get their reaction.

    edit: spelling!
     
  38. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    One person already answered your question:

     
  39. Nsonia Junior Member

    Tunis
    tunisia (arabic, french, english, spanish, basic italian)
    Hi Basurero,
    Your question on English people’s accent is very interesting. I think there is no secret; in speaking and pronouncing correctly foreign languages, people are driven by NECESSITY and by the initial chance their mother language gives them.
    If in your mother language you have a large variety of phonemes, like in Arabic, you’ll have an easy start (you will seem gifted but it’s your language which enabled you). And if you have no choice but to communicate with others in their own language, you will tend to speak like a native.

    I live in Tunisia where French (as a second language) is spoken by almost everybody. Well, we notice that French people make no effort to learn or speak it correctly. The French never feel that necessity in a French speaking country. They communicate easily with everybody in French. That’s why their Arabic accent is so “thick” (à couper au couteau comme ils disent).
    On the opposite Americans who have to live in our country or are married to Tunisians show a particular gift to learn even everyday Arabic with a perfect accent!! The Russians are the most “talented” of all because they are familiar with all the Arabic phonemes and have little chance to find a Tunisian to speak to in Russian!!
     
  40. Isis

    Isis Junior Member

    Philippines
    Philippines Filipino,English,Spanish,Chinese and Bahasa Melayu
    Here in the Philippines, our tongue habits, formed by our klnowledge of other dialects and languages make it difficult for us to pronounce English correctly. Generally, we tend to pronounce words as they are spelled.

    Literal pronounciation or what we call "Tagalizing" is prevalent here. take the word "JOHN". If we spell it as pronounced, it would be more accurate, though not really technically correct to write "JAHN". We know that they have diffirent meanings and different pronounciation but we are affected by the idiosyncrasies of language. we have no alternative but to conform.

    Also, some of us here approximate the way Americans speak because majority says that American English is the correct pronounciation, the reason why we have "americanizing" as a term here.

    When one "americanizes," he pronounces words in the manner that he thinks an American would pronounce them, but actually Americans do njot speak that way. The result is artificiality. Such person must be moer perceptive to correct pronounciation.

    The pronounciation of specific words shows the quality of cultural level. With just one mispronounced word or two, observant listeners learn about your background and the type of eduaction you have received and what is bad here in our country is the notion that a person's poor manner of pronouncing words shows low intelligence level, though may not be the fact.
     
  41. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    LOL.
    You sound like you're speaking with your mouth full. :D
    It's a cute accent, in an amusing way. And you speak slowly, which is good.
    Usually you can tell an English accent by the way people (mis)pronounce the "r". Also, they tend to be forgetful with genders, and say things like "o amiga" or "a amigo".
     
  42. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English

    I agree. I don´t notice much accent from the Canadians I have heard, except in words like house, which I think they pronounce like people from Maryland do. So I wouldn´t know a Canadian from a Maryland resident.
     
  43. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    How do we say house? . . . (just curious)
     
  44. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    That was exactly what I was thinking. :)
     
  45. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English
    Well, I don't know how to write it phonetically. Something like heoos (instead of howse). I lived in Maryland for a few years and the only accent I noticed was in words that rhyme with house, and also I remember my best friend pronounced "that" differently. I can't remember if that was typical, or just her way. She pronounced "that" as if it had two syllables--theat. Of course they seemed to think I had an accent! ;)
     
  46. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    A Texan (pronounced tee-ax-in)??? :eek: Noooooo . . . . . :rolleyes:
     
  47. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English

    Hehe...

    When I was growing up we moved around a lot, so I did not have a strong accent (some people said I had one, some said no). But since I have been back here about 20 years now, I guess I have unconsciously absorbed a stronger accent. One day I called home to leave a message and when I got home to listen to it I heard "...1234 Kwhy-el (Quail) Run." Jeeeese!!! :rolleyes:
     
  48. zebedee

    zebedee the manamana mod

    Valencia - Spain
    Gt. Britain - English
    Accents are all relative to who's listening. The fact that you don't notice one doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, it just means that it's similar to your own.
    The further you travel, the more you realise just how much of an accent you actually have.

    zeb
     
  49. ~PiCHi~

    ~PiCHi~ Senior Member

    Mexico (Spanish)
    When mexicans speak english and it sounds... not very fluid, we say they speak "Pocho"
     
  50. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    The 'o' is said with the mouth forming a circle, just like an 'o'. It's even more distinctive in Philadelphia. And Marylanders have other distinctive ways of speaking, such as Bawl mer and Ball tee mower for Baltimore.

    But, of course, it's all the people from other places who really have the accents.:)

    Cuchu
     
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