My friend, who is English, said that the words like cut, duck, etc. should be pronounced 'kut', 'duk' because there is no 'a' in them. I told him it was probably his accent (south Yorkshire) but he said it was not and gave me an example of his accent: 'sun' - son, 'munday' - Monday, 'sumthing' - something etc. So I'm still struggling with words with 'u'.
By the way, I love that accent, sounds nice
Ah. Now we see why the Internation Phonetic Alphabet is so important. What sound are you representing with the letter "u"? Can you actually describe it?
Your native tongue is Polish, so I imagine you're thinking of the Polish pronunciation, the sound that rhymes with the "oo" in "book". If so, then yes, you are right in saying that this has to do with his accent: the vowel sounds in "the North" are quite different than the vowel sounds in Southern England.
However, even in Southern dialects, there is a difference in the pronunciation of "cat" and "cut": the first is pronounced much further forward than the other. The vowel sound in Southern English does not exist, as far as I know, in Polish, or in most other European languages. The nearest you can get to it is the "a" sound.
This means that to you, there is almost no difference between "cut" and "cat"; but a native English speaker would hear the difference immediately.
Your Yorkshire friend isn't as aware of other dialects as he thinks. In his dialect, all these words have the same vowel sound: cut, duck, son, some. In a London dialect, all those words also rhyme with each other, but the vowel sound they all rhyme with is different. If you pronounced "cut" like a Londoner, your friend probably wouldn't complain. But because you can't hear the difference, you're pronouncing it like "cat", and this is what makes you sound "foreign".
Thanks for your replay.
Well, I can hear the difference and I can distinguish between different accents. But the thing is I have problems with saying the vowels.
And yes, the vowel in words duck, cut, son sounds like 'oo' in book. That's why son and sun sound exactly the same.
Also six in Scottish accent sounds the same as sex in English to me.
The worst thing I could do is to copy my friends and colleagues as most of them is from Yorkshire. I'd sound stupid if I speak each word with different accent (including Scottish). But no matter how hard I try, people know where I am from when I say a word in English.