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  1. #1
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default American or British accent?

    Several dozen Indians in their twenties are taking intensive English classes

    in New Delhi so that they can be able to assist foreign tourists in that

    city's beautiful, new subway system.

    One instructor says that those students are being taught to

    speak English with a British accent, which -- he says -- is "the correct

    way to speak English."

    How would you advise a learner who asked:

    Should I try to speak (and spell) like an American or like a

    British person?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    philadelphia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: American or British accent?

    Hello TheParser. Sorry for the intrusion but I feel concerned.

    English is a language at first, so the main purpose is to be understood. Accordingly, as long as you are understood, who cares? BrE is considered, as far as I am concerned in France, as the standard English. However, I would never say it is improper to speak AmE. I want it that way, folk.

    You must certainly be stumbled upon people who do not know much of English

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: American or British accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by philadelphia View Post
    Hello TheParser. Sorry for the intrusion but I feel concerned.

    English is a language at first, so the main purpose is to be understood. Accordingly, as long as you are understood, who cares? BrE is considered, as far as I am concerned in France, as the standard English. However, I would never say it is improper to speak AmE. I want it that way, folk.

    You must certainly be stumbled upon people who do not know much of English
    Thank you so much. There was no intrusion. I am interested in the

    views of native speakers and people who are not native speakers.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    2010's Avatar
    2010 is offline Member
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    Default Re: American or British accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    Thank you so much. There was no intrusion. I am interested in the

    views of native speakers and people who are not native speakers.

    Thanks again.
    I work in a BPO and I meet people from different places. One may be from USA and the next day another person from UK. I am used to both these accents. As long as you aren't faking it, I am okay.

    A person who is new to this: I would suggest stick to neutral accent. (which is neither BRe nor Ame). This is practiced in India in common, which teaches clear and crisp pronunciation. How to concentrate on your rate of speech.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: American or British accent?

    It all depends. If you plan to live and work outside of North America, British English may be more suitable. If not, I would go with the American accent.

  6. #6
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    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: American or British accent?

    To be very blunt and very honest with you, as long as Indians learn the typical cadence and rhythm of spoken English, the accent would not matter. Even my boss, who was born in the US but raised in India by Indian parents until the family moved back to the US when he was a teenager, still speaks English with a sort of sing-song cadence. He ends almost every sentence on a "high note" (he raises the tone of his voice to a higher level), as if it was a question. For the first year I worked for him I always thought he was questioning whatever I had done on a daily basis, due to the inflection in his voice.

    Quite often it's obvious when an Indian answers the phone on a supposedly US-based "help line" because he (or she) always accents the wrong syllables in words when speaking English, making his words difficult to understand. For example, I had to call the 1-800 telephone line for assistance regarding the satellite radio in my rental car. The person answering the phone was very obviously Indian from his speech patterns, and I had difficulty in understanding him. Even such a basic word in our conversation as "Pontiac" (the car I was driving) required many repetitions on his part before I understood what he was saying, simply because he was not emphasising the proper syllables in the word.

  7. #7
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: American or British accent?

    I think it does matter to be taught understanding major accents. I understand spoken British English (some accents) and spoken American English (some accents), because I listened to both of them. But I know people in my country (especially young, not only because the older mostly speak Russian instead of English) who understand only AmE, and have great troubles with understanding BrE.

    I also met people from different English-speaking areas at the same time, and I remember them asking me what the other native speaker had just said. So it can be vital to train understanding more than one accent.

    As for speaking, I'm a victim of pluralism myself. I never tried choosing one accent, and now I have no accent. I simply pronounce same English words in various ways depending on who knows what. I don't know if it's a problem though. I recently discovered that I don't know which words rhyme in English - just because of that. But is it a problem??

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: American or British accent?

    I agree with 2010 that a neutral accent is probably the most useful.

  9. #9
    philadelphia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: American or British accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I agree with 2010 that a neutral accent is probably the most useful.
    A neutral accent would be quite useful, but is IndE a neutral accent? I do not think so.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2010 View Post
    I work in a BPO and I meet people from different places. One may be from USA and the next day another person from UK. I am used to both these accents. As long as you aren't faking it, I am okay.

    A person who is new to this: I would suggest stick to neutral accent. (which is neither BRe nor Ame). This is practiced in India in common, which teaches clear and crisp pronunciation. How to concentrate on your rate of speech.
    I spoke to a couple of indians at work. I agree their accent is neither BrE nor AmE, though their accent is far away from a neutral one. I would tend to agree with Ouisch. French do not have neither a BrE accent nor an AmE accent and yet our accent is not neutral at all.

  10. #10
    2010's Avatar
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    Default Re: American or British accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by philadelphia View Post
    A neutral accent would be quite useful, but is IndE a neutral accent? I do not think so.



    I spoke to a couple of indians at work. I agree their accent is neither BrE nor AmE, though their accent is far away from a neutral one. I would tend to agree with Ouisch. French do not have neither a BrE accent nor an AmE accent and yet our accent is not neutral at all.
    May be they were not trained on accent neutralization

    Indian accent? Don't know, which one that is because people have different accents in India, which varies with their native spoken language. A person who speaks Hindi as his first language might have an English spoken accent, which might differ with a person whose native language is Tamil (one of the south Indian language). So, there is really nothing called as "Indian accent."

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