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  1. #1
    symaa is offline Member
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    Question Pronunciation+Formality in American English

    Hello,

    I want to make sure about two things:

    My teacher told us that American perefer or rather tend to be more formal.Well, are they more formal in their speeches than the British people?

    My second question is about pronunciation, I heard someone who speak with American accent, pronounce the ''G'' as in taking, watching ....and he told me that it is informal.So, do the Americans pronouce the ''g'' in their daily conversation/slang?

    Thank you in advance

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: Pronunciation+Formality in American English

    I think any native-English-speaking American (and any person from the UK or Australia or New Zealand or Canada or...) knows that there are situations when a higher degree of formality is required and those when a high degree of formality would be inappropriate.

    I write a different e-mail to the CEO than I do to my boss, which is still different from the one I sent to my coworker. I talk different to my child's principal than I do to my neighbor.

    What do you think your teacher meant when he or she said Americans tend to be more formal?

    As for your pronunciation question, are you asking whether pronouncing the G is more formal or less formal? Omitting the G is less formal.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 07-Dec-2011 at 05:27.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Re: Pronunciation+Formality in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by symaa View Post
    Hello,

    I want to make sure about two things:

    My teacher told us that Americans perefer or rather tend to be more formal.Well, are they more formal in their speeches than the British people? Where is your teacher from and is this his/her personal opinion?

    My second question is about pronunciation, I heard someone who speakspoke with an American accent, pronounce the ''G'' as in taking, watching ....and he told me that it is informal.So, do the Americans pronouce the ''g'' in their daily conversation/slang? I'm not sure of the "g" sound you are referring to, but you will hear many Americans, including me, drop the "ing" sound in many words with that ending as in "I'm watchin television", "He's readin the paper".

    Thank you in advance
    b.

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Pronunciation+Formality in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by symaa View Post
    My teacher told us that American perefer or rather tend to be more formal.Well, are they more formal in their speeches than the British people?
    I can't answer for Americans, but I can report the impression I have of the Americans I have worked with.

    It seems to me that most Americans, especially younger ones, are not more formal in their speech. I was tempted to say that they are less formal than British speakers, but that is probably the impression I have received because their informal expressions are less familiar to me than those of my compatriots. The only exception seems to be in the functional language of thanking, congratulating, condoling, inviting, etc, where Americans seem to me to express themselvesat times more formally than we do in fairly informal situations.

    In the written language, I have found that Americans are more precise about some rules of grammar that no longer bother many of us. They are more particular, for example, about using 'whom' and the the subjunctive than we are. My American trainees have questioned me far more often about my own usage than their British colleagues, and on occasion have produced American school books to 'prove' that I am wrong. I have the distinct impression that Americans are taught at school to have far more faith in prescriptive rules than we are.

    All that I have written is only my impression.

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: Pronunciation+Formality in American English

    And yet, as we cling to the old ways, we still get the the reputation of being lazy users of English who have bastardized the language and I have heard more times than I can count that they want to hear from a "real" English speaker, because they invented the language.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    symaa is offline Member
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    Re: Pronunciation+Formality in American English

    Thanks to all of your for your corrections, replies, and comments.

    ....knows that there are situations when a higher degree of formality is required and those when a high degree of formality would be inappropriate.
    Yes, I think that in every language there are different types of speaking that one should use when talking to certain people.

    Where is your teacher from and is this his/her personal opinion?
    What do you think your teacher meant when he or she said Americans tend to be more formal?
    Really, I don't know. My teacher is American, but to my mind an American as well as a British will speak formally in official public notices, business situations,.....
    and use informal language with friends, family....Which means that every situation requires a specific language.


    As for your pronunciation question, are you asking whether pronouncing the G is more formal or less formal? Omitting the G is less formal.
    I'm not sure of the "g" sound you are referring to, but you will hear many Americans, including me, drop the "ing" sound in many words with that ending as in "I'm watchin television", "He's readin the paper".
    It was the first time that I heard someone prounouce the ''g'' when it comes at the end of the word: Taking, watching....I used to hear from my teachers, who are not native speakers, pronounce the word ''taking'' for example /teɪkɪŋ/


    Thank you so much.

    Regards,

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Pronunciation+Formality in American English

    It is not dropping the 'g' in speech, but in the written form of what one is saying.

    If we say 'drop
    ping' as though it were written 'droppin', then we are pronouncing the final /ŋ/ as /n/. Some people loosely refer to this as 'dropping' the final g.

    In some Br E dialects, you may hear
    /ŋ/ pronounced as /ŋg/, but that is not really relevant to this thread.

  8. #8
    symaa is offline Member
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    Re: Pronunciation+Formality in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    It is not dropping the 'g' in speech, but in the written form of what one is saying.

    If we say 'dropping' as though it were written 'droppin', then we are pronouncing the final /ŋ/ as /n/. Some people loosely refer to this as 'dropping' the final g.

    In some Br E dialects, you may hear /ŋ/ pronounced as /ŋg/, but that is not really relevant to this thread.
    Thank you so much teacher.
    So, would you please tell me which is the more formal:
    //teɪkɪŋ/ or //teɪkɪŋg/

    Thank you.

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Pronunciation+Formality in American English

    /teɪkɪŋg/ is not heard in most varieties of English.

  10. #10
    symaa is offline Member
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    Re: Pronunciation+Formality in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    /teɪkɪŋg/ is not heard in most varieties of English.
    Ok, thank you very much.
    Best wishes,

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