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  1. #1
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    Default How to learn an accent?

    Hey everyone, Im new to here :)

    Having lived in the UK for around 6 years now, I am still finding it hard to speak english with a clear british accent. Although I have got rid of my chinese accent, people often ask me to repeat my speech when I'm speaking which is very frustating as I really am trying my hardest to speak clearly.

    As time goes, speaking with an british accent have become a dream of mine which doesn't seem to me that I am reaching it. I watch the British Television and am living with naitive speakers. I am disheartened by the fact that people seems to pick up the accent so easily when they moved over at a young age. I've came to the UK when I was 13-14 which I think is considered too late to learn the new accent.

    I would be extremely grateful if any of you people can give me some advices!

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: How to learn an accent?

    It's easy for children to pick up accents, but harder for people once they have reached adolescence. You must try to identify the sounds that cause the most trouble and work on them. Often, it's not the obvious sounds that are causing the trouble.

  3. #3
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    Steven D is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: How to learn an accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    It's easy for children to pick up accents, but harder for people once they have reached adolescence. You must try to identify the sounds that cause the most trouble and work on them. Often, it's not the obvious sounds that are causing the trouble.
    It's hard to say what the problem could be, but having appropriate intonation often goes a long way in approximating native-like pronunciation in English.

    I think a great deal of unintelligible speech comes from not having good intonation. Also, not stressing vowels properly can be a problem.

    I would place individual sounds last on the list of problems, though it is important to consider individual sounds - phonemes - as well.

    If your intonation is falling, don't catch it. Just let it fall. Of course verbs are another story I susPECT.


  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: How to learn an accent?

    With many Chinese speakers, vowels are a major problem, while the perception is that it is certain consonants.

  5. #5
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    Steven D is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: How to learn an accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    With many Chinese speakers, vowels are a major problem, while the perception is that it is certain consonants.

    Do you mean particular vowel sounds? Those need work, too, of course.

    Or would you mean making sure that vowel sounds receive enough stress?

    Or do you mean both?

    I think overall stress with regards to vowel sounds is just as important as producing the individual sounds correctly. At times this would have different implications where American English and British English are concerned. I hear remnants of BE in some students' pronunciation from time to time.

    Sometimes French speakers say "cut" when they mean "cat".

    BE - caht or cart

    AE - caet - American short /a/ sound

    Oftentimes vowel sounds are too short. This can make one's speech sound somewhat abrupt at times and "choppy". I would also say "staccato". Staccato sounds should be made more legato. Also, linking words contributes to less abrupt and less "choppy" sounding pronunciation.
    Last edited by Steven D; 09-Mar-2005 at 04:45.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to learn an accent?

    Take it easy. It's natural. don't worry about it. I think that the most important thing is the native English speakers can understand you.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to learn an accent?

    My first language is Arabic but i can speak the british accent easily so I think you can do it just keep on trying.

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    Default Re: How to learn an accent?

    I had the opposite problem when I first came to Germany. I couldn't speak much German, but the little German I could speak I managed to speak in a near-perfect German accent. As a result, if I asked somebody -- in perfect German -- how to get the post office, they automatically thought I could speak like a native, and therefore understand like a native. So I got a lengthy description delivered in a very fast, indistinct mutter, usually in some weird dialect, and I still wouldn't be able to find the post office.

    Not having heard your accent, it's hard to comment. It's interesting that you say you've "got rid of your Chinese accent" -- if you don't have a Chinese accent, what accent do you have?

    Also, when is this happening? Does it happen with friends or strangers, or both? If you stop a stranger in the street to ask the way, do you do the "Excuse me, can you help me?" routine, or do you just ask your question right away? Where in the UK do you live? What about the people you live with? Have you moved to a different area since learning English?

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    Default Re: How to learn an accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss
    I had the opposite problem when I first came to Germany. I couldn't speak much German, but the little German I could speak I managed to speak in a near-perfect German accent. As a result, if I asked somebody -- in perfect German -- how to get the post office, they automatically thought I could speak like a native, and therefore understand like a native. So I got a lengthy description delivered in a very fast, indistinct mutter, usually in some weird dialect, and I still wouldn't be able to find the post office.
    Not having heard your accent, it's hard to comment. It's interesting that you say you've "got rid of your Chinese accent" -- if you don't have a Chinese accent, what accent do you have?
    Also, when is this happening? Does it happen with friends or strangers, or both? If you stop a stranger in the street to ask the way, do you do the "Excuse me, can you help me?" routine, or do you just ask your question right away? Where in the UK do you live? What about the people you live with? Have you moved to a different area since learning English?
    __________________________________________________ ______________
    I speak Arabic.
    My father bought a flat in London when I was 1 year & we are going there once or twice a year , we stay there for 60 days. I speak English with my family,friends,in the university & at work. in addition I studies in a british university & pure British system.
    Of course I will excuse him e.g: "excuse me would you please show me the way to get the post office"
    I live in the central of London.
    I'm speaking English with most of the people around me because it's very important to speak,read & write English in my country.
    Last edited by jawaher; 02-Mar-2006 at 21:01.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to learn an accent?

    i am trying to learn the accent it has taken me longer than i thought it would. any ideas on how i could learn the British accent faster?

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