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  1. #141
    curmudgeon's Avatar
    curmudgeon is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    I'm from Scotland and I believe that the gradual diminuition of the English language is very sad...I also think that other native english speakers, Australian, Canadian, American etc... are just jealous...speak the language the way it was intended and stop pandering to these outside influences

  2. #142
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    First off: I am an American. I was born and raised in Louisiana.

    Second: You might automatically think that I have the French/Acadian accent. I don't. (Not disappointing, I hope. :) )

    You'll probably be surprised to learn that there are actually three distinct accents just in my home state alone. There is the 'north Louisiana accent', which almost sounds like the typical accent you'd hear on television, bar the fact that the southern influence is prominent in that most words spoken with this accent are slurred; the 'central Louisiana accent', which sounds a bit like the northern accent, however with a much more pronounced lack of "R's", a couple dozen "ya'll's", and, yes, the fact that we tend to use the word 'coke' as a general reference to all carbonated drinks. The third accent is in fact the ‘French/Acadian accent’. It can be found in the far, far south of Louisiana. Most people with this accent don't tend to travel and number very few in the relation to the general population of the state. Therefore, it is a mystery to me as to how it became a 'typical' Louisiana--southern, even--accent. The sad truth is that I have a lot of trouble understanding them most of the time--and they live only about 50 miles away from me! (For those you of you don’t use the American measurements, terribly sorry! 50 miles measures about 80 kilometers.)

    If you can't tell, I have the central accent, myself. I've traveled across the states, and when people ask me were I'm from ... it's generally not that obvious, really. My accent is more of the usual drawl than anything markedly distinct. The following is an actual conversation I've had with a sales-lady in Colorado:


    SL: "So, where are you from?"
    Me: "I'm from Louisiana, ma'am. I'm visiting a few relatives."
    SL: "Oh! Well, you don't have any accent at all."
    Me: "Not many people do, where I'm from. It's a common misconception. I don't live in a swamp nor have an alligator as a pet, either ..."
    SL: [laughs]


    This whole thing about the English Accent versus the American accent really just plain out cracks me up. I don't know how my accent comes across to those who don't speak it, and I honestly could not care less. (I might take offense, though, at being likened to a cat. However, I happen to love cats. So If I sound like that to you, then, I've got only one thing to say: Have at it, and compare me all you like!)

    I do admit, however that my accent has become more pronounced as I get older. The situation from above has occurred less and less over the years. The truth is that I like having 'the southern drawl'. It might be 'country,' but I don't admit to being city either.

    There are a lot of misconceptions about the standard American, but so too are there of the standard Britain. I don't know how I got from accents to stereotypes, but I suppose they have a lot to do with each other. Most stereotypes aren't a rule but merely a guideline; the same with accents. It is true the most Americans come off as rude ... but not all of them. Generally speaking, (and no offense meant) it is usually the New England Americans that are the rudest by far--and not in a cruel manner, but because they were simply raised to be rather blunt.

    Please recall that I'm from the south, and manners vary greatly from region to region. While I was raised to always say 'yes, sir', 'no, sir', 'yes, ma'am', 'no ma'am'--most people aren't. I've come across quite a few people from the north that I thought as quite loud and rude, but one of my good friends is one of those mentioned. In fact, we help each other out quite a bit. While we are in the southern region, I teach her tact and the slang we use. While we are in the north, she teaches me to not apologize to every person I bump into, and to be firm: polite is not always the answer to certain situations.

    Ah, I’ve gotten far off the topic at hand. How embarrassing. Regardless, all I really want to get across was that I’ve always thought most foreign accents are generally nice to listen to, but not something I’d want to have. I’m comfortable with how I speak, and I only wish more people were as well

    Ah! One thing I forgot to mention. It's rather silly, but oh-so-true. (Don't know how I missed it, with all the wind I blew and space I took.)

    People from the south generally hate (and boy, do I mean hate--you'd really offend a person calling them this face-to-face, even if they don't call you on it) to be called 'Yanks' by anyone. Yes, my brothers and sisters from across the sea, that means you. In some parts of the south, the Civil War is still a touchy subject. It's not the slavery issue; it's more of a pride thing. It still rubs some of those 'rednecks' the wrong way that the place they call home lost any fight, regardless of what the issue was.

    I find that I just don't like the word in general. Who'd want to be called 'yank'? It just sounds funny on the tongue. :)

    ... Not to mention that I tend to think of the word as a verb, not a noun. It's like calling someone a 'hiccup' or a 'sneer'. It's just a little strange, that's all.

    By the way, I mentioned this in good humor; please try not to take offense if I ruffled your feathers a bit too harshly. xD
    Last edited by Sabrieal; 31-May-2007 at 21:56.

  3. #143
    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    I was brought up and educated under the British rule.
    It seems to me that British (King's/Queen's) accent is more music to my ears than American's and Australian's. It is very difficult for me to tune in to their accents after being taught in British English for decades. (No offence, my American and Australian friends.)

  4. #144
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    Cool Re: British English or American accent?

    i'm not an english speaking native so i'd probably have a less biased perspective here...hopefully! where can i start? ok, i think arguing that all accents should be respected is a bit of a cliche, you know, better said than done. in fact reality will tell assure you how prejudiced speakers from different "englishes" can get when faced with the question "what do you think of the (insert english accent here) accent?". you will notice that most of them will show their preference for a particular variety. so i believe it is a territorial matter that counts here, and what we should argue for is that, when characterising an accent, there should be less prescriptiveness...but is this feasible at all?

  5. #145
    remas is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    I wish I had an American accent

  6. #146
    hotmetal is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    First off: I'm from England.

    There are some interesting points raised here. I haven't read every single reply since the thread started in 2003, but here's my thoughts:

    1 - the number of different accents is not limited to the number of countries that speak English (US, UK, South Africa, Australia etc), but each region or even city has its own accent. A native speaker can usually tell to within 50 miles where a speaker comes from, and to what social class they belong (in Britain at least).

    2 - there isn't a right or wrong about accents, you just pick up what you are exposed to.

    3 - it is difficult to try to emulate an accent convincingly, you just pick up what you are exposed to. It is difficult to fool a native in this respect.

    4 - people from different countries often have similar idiosyncrasies, regardless of how they try to modify their accent. Many japanese, for example, have a similar sound (to British ears) when they speak English. Ditto Indians. Ditto other European nationals. However, those who were born here (regardless of racial background) may often have a perfect accent that relates to where they were brought up.

    5 - Many English people find the American accent "cool", but some dislike it. Some think that speaking like an Australian makes them sound "laid back". Many feel that Irish brogue makes people sound charming and confident. These are stereotypical attributes. It is difficult to say what a British accent is, from my perspective, because there are so many. "BBC English", also called "received pronunciation" is generally felt to sound "stuck up" and upper class. It is also to some extent artificial. However, it is designed to be clear, so it is not without merit.

    6 - I heard a Black American say that when he was in England, people noticed first that he was American, and noticed only secondly that he was black. This meant that he was not treated with the prejudice that many British black people encounter in their own country. They were more interested in what he was doing here and what life was like in America! The power of accents is indeed powerful!

    7 - When I was in the US, the first thing almost everybody said was "Gee, I love your accent!". The second thing was either "Do you know so-and-so?" or "Are you Australian?" (As if British sounds like Australian!)

    8 - The American accent receives a lot of (presumably positive) exposure due to Hollywood. So British people are never surprised to hear "foreigners" speaking English with an American accent.

    In the end, I think you just end up with whatever accent you hear around you the most. My own accent changed when I moved from the countryside to somewhere near London as a child. Some people never lose their accents, others adapt quickly to new surroundings. It doesn't really matter, as long as you can be understood. Like I said earlier, some accents are associated with different traits (relaxedness, stupidity etc), but there isn't much you can really do about it anyway!

  7. #147
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    Smile Re: British English or American accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by HPRoxMySox View Post
    I'm from America and I personally like how British accents sound more than American one's. I think they sound a lot more proper and sophisticated. I think American accents are easier to understand though, seeing as I grew up here.
    yes i think you are right iam with you bye

  8. #148
    Jellevdwerff is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous View Post
    However, the college teachers suggest that British accent is more acceptable in the world, especially in the world outside US. Is it true?
    I think it's true. Unless you go to countries in the Mid-East. This because of the promisses England made during WWII.

    I have absolutely no experience with this, so correct me if I'm wrong.

  9. #149
    colloquium is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    I know that in some European countries (Sweden for example) you choose whether you would like to learn American English or standard English, and a good number of Scandinavians who speak English fluently sound very American.

    I do like the American Southern accent. Especially when it is spoken slowly and softly. It has a relaxed sound to it. On the other hand, some Americans speak with a very nasal sound which doesn't have quite the same charm.

    But to be honest, I don't agree with the old "it's not what you say, it's how you say it" cliche; if someone has something interesting to say then it sounds good, no matter how it is said.

  10. #150
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    I occasionally get an American voiced sales pitch in uninvited phone calls here in Australia. I immediately feel great distrust of the slickness in the drawl and casual intonations of such voices.

    My guess is that the writer is considering becoming a phone centre caller. To enable a welcoming response to a cold-call, I have heard that the most trusted accent is that of the stereotypical Irish 'brogue'. Begorrah, could that be a simple truth?

    Rodster

    No longer a teacher

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