mixing British and American accent

eli7

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
Greetings,

Is it OK if I pronounce some words in a sentence with American accent and the other ones in British? Is it a sign of lack of knowledge or something?

For example: " I w/a:/nt to buy a b/ɔː/l. "
or
" I have bought /bɔːt/ a gl/æ/s.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It's not really natural for any native speaker. Sometimes you get someone who spent, say, their first ten or twelve years in Britain then moved to America, so their first accent is almost completely fixed, but has had a second accent partly overlaid on it. It's not something a learner should do, however. It is better to pick one accent and stick to it.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It is OK, but will almost certainly be noticed by native speakers.

    A few days ago I was speaking to a friend who moved to Australia almost ten years ago. Most of the time, she spoke with a definite Australian accent. But occasional words she would speak with her original Northern Irish accent. Certainly in her case I did not consider it a lack of knowledge.
    Similarly, non-native English speakers who now live here very often have a mixed accent with most of their speech in the accent in which they learnt English originally, but some words that the acquired after moving here pronounced as we pronounce them.
    Again, obvious, but not, for me anyway, an indication of knowledge or language ability.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I would not be shocked at all. :) I would likely notice you are neither a Brit nor an American. I might think you had been taguht by both American and British teachers.
     

    eli7

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Thank you :)
    Actually I am learning American English since I was 11, but for doing a project I started learning British accent,now I realize that I pronounce some words in British and the others in American in a sentence, and I do it unintentionally.
    I am always worried if I sound like an idiot! or an amature. So do you think that it won't be a sign of lack of knowledge in my case?
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Thank you :)
    Actually I am learning American English since I was 11, but for doing a project I started learning British accent,now I realize that I pronounce some words in British and the others in American in a sentence, and I do it unintentionally.
    I am always worried if I sound like an idiot! or an amature. So do you think that it won't be a sign of lack of knowledge in my case?
    It's quite normal for this to happen and it is not easy to change what you have acquired.. If you can make yourself easily understood don't worry to much about the accent unless you are going to get lower marks because of it.. I don't automatically switch my accent unless I go back to my birthplace.

    It's practise that improves your accent, not knowledge.

    GF..

    More importantly try to write and speak in US, UK or whatever English version you are immersed in.
    And try hard to use the local variants of UK/US words.. Now that's much more important than any accent.

    Unless of course you have a "real" accent/dialect that most of us can't follow anyway. That's another story....
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I once had a colleague who spoke American English but for some reason used the British pronunciation "aluminium." It sounded quite strange. (I have no idea how he would have spelled that word.)

    People will probably not react the same way when a non-native speaker mixes AE and BE pronunciations, but it's not something I would encourage.

    I agree with George French: words are more important than pronunciation. You can get in line for the elevator (AE) or queue for the lift (BE), but don't queue for the elevator or get in line for the lift.
     

    jarabina

    Senior Member
    English - Scotland
    As others have suggested it is of course better to try to stick to one accent. However, in practice most non-native speakers have non-native accents. This is because non-native speakers do not learn by being exposed to one particular accent as most native speakers are. I suspect that over time your accent will balance out, which is what seems to happen to most learners. However, you do sometimes get learners who have learned English in their own country and then moved abroad to an English-speaking country and you can tell which vocabulary they learnt at home and which abroad due to the pronunciation differences. I think it depends on general ability to identify and reproduce sounds and also effort. If your US pronunciation dominates then that is probably what you will end up with, particularly since you started learning it at a young age. I wouldn't worry too much - understanding and being able to communicate are far more important.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, we know what the ideal is, but as others have said, I wouldn't get too worked up about it. It happens more often than you think. For example, the pronunciation of the second sentence
    " I have bought /bɔːt/ a gl/æ/s.
    can be heard by English speakers too. Northern English speakers have a short vowel for glass.
     
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