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  1. #1
    Over the top's Avatar
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    pronunciation difficulties

    Hi everyone,
    I have a difficulty in pronouncing the English r. I have read a lot about pronunciation and Phonology, I've watched many training videos but all in vain. I always listen to my voice and accent. Every night I record record record until the cows come home. I want to give up but part of me doesn't because I badly want to sound a native or at least near native. I always feel impressed when I see a foreigner speaks Arabic fluently. Therefore, I put a short-term goal that I speak English corretly then later I pick up an accent but it seems that my short-term target is going to be a very long one.
    However, now after a lot of practices, I don't pronounce English r like an Arabic rolled r anymore but it's something between, I mean it's neither rhotic nor unrhotic and I feel shy to pronounce it this way because I sound so much pretentious. Furthermore, I have a diffeculty in pronouncing American t as in 'computer' for instance. Honestly I haven't put many effort in producing this sound but it always comes either exact d or exact t. Ooh I just fed up with all these failed attempts. My tongue aches and there's a pain in my cheeks and all the way I have been shifiting from American to British and go back to American again and so on and I'm ashamed to say I failed both.
    Do you think a day will come when I'll be mistaken for a native? I hope I see myself speaking English natively and everyone asks me are you American, British? and get shocked faces, eyebrows raising when they know I am not. I appreciate any help, advice or even prayers.

    Peace out.

  2. #2
    Linguist__ is offline Senior Member
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    Re: pronunciation difficulties

    My advice to you would be to have some pride in your accent as it is. The fact is, more speakers of English aren't native English speakers, so there's no reason why having an American or British accent is preferred, and it's certainly not going to make you seem any more prestigious.

    I'm not sure what the situation is like in the US, I presume Spanish is a big deal in the southern states, but in the UK being bilingual earns you more respect than being monolingual - like most native Britons are. I guess we (people from Britain) are envious of multilingual individuals as we can easily rely too heavily on the 'Everyone speaks English anyway' assumption when we go abroad, or meet different people.

    I live in Britain, and there are at least 5 different major accents here - only one of which would be classed as 'British English' to those learning a foreign language. Similarly with the US - there isn't just American accent, there are probably again at least 5 different American major American accents. Not to mention the other millions of people in places like India, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa who do speak English as a first language and have very different accents from each other and from British/Americans.

    So that's my advice - be proud of your linguistic skills and your first language. Many people enjoy listening to English that sounds 'exotic' or 'with a twist', and it's certainly the majority of English speakers who speak with foreign accents.

  3. #3
    MASM's Avatar
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    Re: pronunciation difficulties

    Honestly, I don't think that non-native speakers have to sound like native speakers anymore. The tendency is "English as an International Language", so that foreign accents are accepted.
    As Linguist said, there are a lot of different dialects and types of accents in the UK, and in the US as well (as in any other country..in Spain, for example is like that). which one will you choose?.

    It can be flattering to be mistaken for a native speaker..but I think they are equally impressed by a fluent speaker of English. I wouldn't turn your personal aspiration into a time-consuming obsession.

  4. #4
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    mara_ce is offline VIP Member
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    Re: pronunciation difficulties

    Personally, I donīt worry much about the large variety of accents, my goal is to pronounce properly, paying special attention to British pronunciation -the only one Iīve learned.

    Being mistaken by a native speaker seems extremely difficult to achieve. What is more, I reject the idea. Maybe if I lived in an English-speaking country for a long time, I would finally acquire the accent without much effort.
    Last edited by mara_ce; 17-Mar-2010 at 20:31.

  5. #5
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Re: pronunciation difficulties

    Agree completely with Linguist. It is more important that your grammar is correct than it is for your speech to "sound like" a native speaker.

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