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  1. #1
    John_Maddox is offline Just Joined
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    Question What's the line between accent and wrong pronunication?

    I often hear the theory that so long as intelligibility is achieved, accent is not a problem. I guess wrong pronunication is less tolerable than heavy accent, for the former is corriable and the latter is not. But in terms of intelligibility, thick accent can be as poor as wrong pronunication.

    I'm gonna use a short speech given by a Chinese celebrity as an example:
    John Maddox?

    The degree of comprehensibility of this speech (evidently scripted) is low to me, and I'm wondering which can be categorized as accent or wrong pronunication.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 02-Dec-2013 at 22:47. Reason: Excess question marks deleted

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What's the line between accent and wrong pronunication?

    What do you mean by 'corriable'?

    Please don't use non-standard words like 'gonna'. Say 'going to'.

    The man's accent makes his speech hard to understand.

  3. #3
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What's the line between accent and wrong pronunication?

    Quote Originally Posted by John_Maddox View Post
    I often hear the theory that so long as intelligibility is achieved, accent is not a problem. I guess wrong pronunication is less tolerable than heavy accent, for the former is corriable and the latter is not. But in terms of intelligibility, thick accent can be as poor as wrong pronunication.

    I'm gonna use a short speech given by a Chinese celebrity as an example:
    John Maddox?

    The degree of comprehensibility of this speech (evidently scripted) is low to me, and I'm wondering which can be categorized as accent or wrong pronunication.
    Please give correct information in your profile.

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: What's the line between accent and wrong pronunication?

    Quote Originally Posted by John_Maddox View Post
    I often hear the theory that so long as intelligibility is achieved, accent is not a problem. I guess wrong pronunication is less tolerable than heavy accent, for the former is corriable and the latter is not. But in terms of intelligibility, thick accent can be as poor as wrong pronunication.

    I'm gonna use a short speech given by a Chinese celebrity as an example:
    John Maddox?

    The degree of comprehensibility of this speech (evidently scripted) is low to me, and I'm wondering which can be categorized as accent or wrong pronunication.
    My guess is the word that you wanted was corrigible, not corriable. You raise an interesting question. For me, there is not much difference between mispronunciation and accent in many cases. In New York, for example, many people say "ax" instead of "ask" as in "I want to 'ax' you a question". If it is common enough in a region, it could be considered part of the accent, but it also a mispronunciation. Either can be corrected with proper training. There is a great British actor, Hugh Laurie, who has a television show called "House". There is no hint of a British accent in his speech on the television show. The man sounds as if he grew up in Michigan. I chose Michigan because at one point it was considered the part of the US that was accent-neutral. Many singers have heavy accents, but when they sing, the accent disappears.

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: What's the line between accent and wrong pronunication?

    I agree that it would be difficult to say whether a particular word was incomprehensible because of a bad accent or mispronunciation. But accent generally refers to the whole of speech. So a "bad accent" is simply a concatenation of systematically incorrect pronunciations.
    Are you sure a bad accent is not corrigible?

  6. #6
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: What's the line between accent and wrong pronunication?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    In New York, for example, many people say "ax" instead of "ask" as in "I want to 'ax' you a question".
    I've always wondered why Billy Joel sings "Don't 'ax' me why."
    Billy Joel - Don't Ask Me Why (Live At Tokyo 2006) - YouTube (2:23)
    (He might be doing it intentionally.)

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: What's the line between accent and wrong pronunication?

    Quote Originally Posted by John_Maddox View Post
    The degree of comprehensibility of this speech (evidently scripted) is low to me, and I'm wondering which can be categorized as accent or wrong pronunication.
    Can the two be separated that neatly?

  8. #8
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: What's the line between accent and wrong pronunication?

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    I've always wondered why Billy Joel sings "Don't 'ax' me why."
    Billy Joel - Don't Ask Me Why (Live At Tokyo 2006) - YouTube (2:23)
    (He might be doing it intentionally.)
    I don't hear "ax" in that song. He clearly says "ask" As far as I know he is from Long Island. The "ax" thing is more Queens and Brooklyn.

  9. #9
    probus's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the line between accent and wrong pronunication?

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    I've always wondered why Billy Joel sings "Don't 'ax' me why."
    Billy Joel - Don't Ask Me Why (Live At Tokyo 2006) - YouTube (2:23)
    (He might be doing it intentionally.)
    He does it automatically because it is correct in his mother tongue. It is an accepted form in some dialects, including those of Jamaica, West Indies and Brooklyn, New York (which Billy Joel hails from according to a a radio interview I once heard of a distant cousin of his who said they both lived in Brooklyn when they were teenagers).
    Last edited by probus; 06-Dec-2013 at 05:11.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: What's the line between accent and wrong pronunication?

    Some South Asian speakers do it and some regions in the UK too- you'll hear it sometimes in London.

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