- For Teachers
Learning an accent comes from contact- the more Americans you speak to, the more you will become familiar with the nuances of American pronunciation. I would advise you to speak with the accent that comes naturally to you- if you have learned BrE, then use it until you are familiar enough with AmE to use that- if you try to put on an accent you are not familiar with, it will sound artificial.
im from the United States, in Atlanta, Georgia. So I have a regular american accent. I think many americans fancy the accent because it sounds prim and proper but most people dont prefer one over the other. Since I have a southern accent it adds a bit a charm, but doesnt sound over the top. Mostly people stick to, " the grass is greener on the other side"
Yes, so many boring American English text books with horrible American accents. There should be more American English textbooks that use a good southern drawl, especially Texan. Perhaps something with a holly roller or oil tycoon theme, and characters with good American single-syllable names, like Chuck and Dan or Flo.
I'm from the U.S.A. and like all kinds of accents. Many of the British accents sound refined to me. But I had difficulty understanding someone with a British Cockney accent. I also enjoy the accent of a friend from Australia, even though he uses a lot of slang expressions that he has to teach to me.
So, overall, I don't believe the accent matters, just the ability to be understood.
I was born in Hong Kong and has studied in highschool in Masschusetts and in the UK, and now a medical student in the UK. I have to say that American English is so much easier to understand and has a lot of charisma attached to it when spoken well. In Britain, there is hardly any charismatic speaker. And I used to think that British English are all you hear from the BBC, but in reality, there are a lot of crap accents, so hard to understand!!! And a lot of the British accents sound really uneducated. You really have to come to Britain to experience the large variety and variation of accents. To be honest, I found that speaking AE is much easier because you don't need to pronounce every "t" or "d". Welcome anyones comments.
I've lived both in the US, Virginia, and in England, Berkshire, although originally I'm Swedish. I've noticed that the American accent is growing in popularity even in England, with Am. words and phrases being taken over by the Brits, and even in Sweden (such as "jaywalker", "chores" and so on). Especially teenagers, my students for instance, are fond of Am. E., and they try to imitate the accent from TV, or long to travel "over there" as they say, to the land where everything happens. British E. was once "lingua franqua" in the world, while a big colonial power, but Am. E. has kind of taken over (with the US current position in the world...). I prefer AmE, probably due to my long stay in America, not to mention the Am movies, music and so on,which impacted me greatly. The spoken language is full of slang and colloquialisms everywhere you turn, and that's the beauty of it. On the other hand, written/formal Am English seems to be following the conventions of correct British English. As is the case with accent, the written E is still a matter of prestige. Seems to me that the English language doesn't "belong" to England anymore, as was the case way back, but it has become a worldwide language, a maze of "Englishes", as it were.
Last edited by bianca; 28-Apr-2007 at 23:49.
In rural Upstate NY, where I live, the only people who understand the difference between "real" and "really" are the people associated with the institutions of higher learning in the area. Irony is lost on the average American.
I agree that non-native English speakers shouldn't worry about which accent to emulate. I'd say that the vast majority of native speakers can understand both British and American English without problems. Besides, if you're learning English as an adult, it's unlikely that you'll ever be able to perfectly match a native accent. Instead, strive for intelligibility and clarity. That's the most important part of communication.