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Thread: American Accent

  1. #1
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    Default American Accent

    Guys, I've questions from call center agents and I couldn't come up with the most detailed explanation.

    Atlantic [atlanik] or [atlantic]
    printer - [prinner] or [printer]
    intercontinental - [innerkonninenull] or [intercontinental]
    twenty - [twennie] or [twenty]
    and so on...

    1. Are there rules when T should be pronounced or not when it is preceded by N? When do we omit and when do we not?

    2. All new employees of all call center companies here in the Philippines undergo American Accent Training. They ask me why trainers are too strict about TH when Americans (whom they imitate) sometimes (or most of the time) pronounce (voiced TH) 'the, this, that those, they, etc' with a D, while (voiceless TH) 'three', tree. I told them that it's not always easy to some Americans to say phrases like 'RATHER THAN THE' with perfect voiced TH. Some Americans are just lazy to open their mouth or to produce TH but they surely know how. But it seemed that they are looking for more explanation. They can't see the point of being trained to be better in TH than Americans.

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    paochai01's Avatar
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    Default American Accent

    Guys, I've questions from call center agents and I couldn't come up with the most detailed explanation.

    Atlantic [atlanik] or [atlantic]
    printer - [prinner] or [printer]
    intercontinental - [innerkonninenull] or [intercontinental]
    twenty - [twennie] or [twenty]
    and so on...

    1. Are there rules when T should be pronounced or not when it is preceded by N? They wanna know when we omit and when we do not.

    2. All new employees of all call center companies here in the Philippines undergo American Accent Training. They ask me why trainers are too strict about TH when Americans (whom they imitate) sometimes (or most of the time) pronounce (voiced TH) 'the, this, that those, they, etc' with a D, while (voiceless TH) 'three', tree. I told them that it's not always easy to some Americans to say phrases like 'RATHER THAN THE' with perfect voiced TH. Some Americans are just lazy to open their mouth or to produce TH but they surely know how. But it seemed that they were looking for more explanation. They can't see the point of being trained to be better in TH than Americans. What's worse, I have observed that some English trainers correct their colleagues about EACH AND EVERY (I mean it.) mispronounced vowel and consonant. I find it exaggerated though and too harsh in a way.

  3. #3
    hotmetal is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: American Accent

    Though I'm not really qualified to answer this in a constructive way, I find it rather sad that people are being trained to use 'sloppy' pronunciation simply to ingratiate themselves with a particular audience. Surely they should pronounce the words clearly and correctly, without affectation that can only hinder understanding? I'm not saying that it is wrong for Americans to speak in a drawl, but to try to force non-Americans to speak indistinctly surely has to be nonsense! As this is purely a vocal thing there are no grammatical rules for this, you'd simply have to imitate some Americans saying particular words. Also, isn't this somewha condescending to all concerned? And the other thing to remember is that not all Americans speak like that – it varies depending on whereabouts in America they are from, amongst other things!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: American Accent

    I won't get into whether this is "lazy" pronunciation. I tired saying these words several times. In rapid speech, the T disappeared. In articluated speech (the way I would speak if I knew somewas writing down my information or taking notes), it's present.

    Starting the "th" words with a "d" sound will not sound (American) native to a native speaker of American English. My sister-in-law from the Netherlands, who is almost accent-less in most ways, has a decided d-start, and I also associate it with Irish English.

    I would think the goal of accent training is to sound neutral, not regional. While there are areas of the US who do start with the d-sound, it's not the same as when a resident of Ireland or Dutch speaker does it.

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    Default Re: American Accent

    I won't get into whether this is "lazy" pronunciation. I tired saying these words several times. In rapid speech, the T disappeared. In articluated speech (the way I would speak if I knew somewas writing down my information or taking notes), it's present. - Great. So pronounce the T when someone takes down notes. Other reasons to pronounce the T? So, there is no difference whether or not T is present?

    Starting the "th" words with a "d" sound will not sound (American) native to a native speaker of American English. My sister-in-law from the Netherlands, who is almost accent-less in most ways, has a decided d-start, and I also associate it with Irish English. - I got that part. I would know when Filipinos pronounce voiced TH using FIlipino vowels. But why do some Americans sometimes pronounce voiced TH as D?

    I would think the goal of accent training is to sound neutral, not regional. While there are areas of the US who do start with the d-sound, it's not the same as when a resident of Ireland or Dutch speaker does it. - What do mean when you say to sound neutral? Does it mean Americans from other areas of the US (who start with the D instead of voiced TH) don't sound (American) native to native speakers of American English?

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    Default Re: American Accent

    Though I'm not really qualified to answer this in a constructive way, I find it rather sad that people are being trained to use 'sloppy' pronunciation simply to ingratiate themselves with a particular audience. Surely they should pronounce the words clearly and correctly, without affectation that can only hinder understanding? I'm not saying that it is wrong for Americans to speak in a drawl, but to try to force non-Americans to speak indistinctly surely has to be nonsense! As this is purely a vocal thing there are no grammatical rules for this, you'd simply have to imitate some Americans saying particular words. Also, isn't this somewha condescending to all concerned? And the other thing to remember is that not all Americans speak like that – it varies depending on whereabouts in America they are from, amongst other things!

    Yeah, they know about that. They familiarize them about southern, eastern, mid-western accents. They are trained to imitate the midwesterners though.

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    Default Re: American Accent

    Though I'm not really qualified to answer this in a constructive way, I find it rather sad that people are being trained to use 'sloppy' pronunciation simply to ingratiate themselves with a particular audience. Surely they should pronounce the words clearly and correctly, without affectation that can only hinder understanding? I'm not saying that it is wrong for Americans to speak in a drawl, but to try to force non-Americans to speak indistinctly surely has to be nonsense! As this is purely a vocal thing there are no grammatical rules for this, you'd simply have to imitate some Americans saying particular words. Also, isn't this somewha condescending to all concerned? And the other thing to remember is that not all Americans speak like that – it varies depending on whereabouts in America they are from, amongst other things!

    Yeah, they know about that. They familiarize them about southern, eastern, mid-western accents. They are trained to imitate the midwesterners though.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: American Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I won't get into whether this is "lazy" pronunciation. I tired saying these words several times. In rapid speech, the T disappeared. In articluated speech (the way I would speak if I knew somewas writing down my information or taking notes), it's present.

    Starting the "th" words with a "d" sound will not sound (American) native to a native speaker of American English. My sister-in-law from the Netherlands, who is almost accent-less in most ways, has a decided d-start, and I also associate it with Irish English.

    I would think the goal of accent training is to sound neutral, not regional. While there are areas of the US who do start with the d-sound, it's not the same as when a resident of Ireland or Dutch speaker does it.
    I would take issue with your assertion about speakers of Irish English, first, let me say, I am not Irish, but I have Irish ancestry and I lived in Ireland for 12 years. People from Dublin have a tendancy to pronounce a "d" sound for "th", whereas people from the west and south of Ireland pronounce "th" with a soft "t". We should not take a Dublin accent as being 'Irish' any more than we should take a London accent as being English, or indeed a Bronx accent as being American. Personally, I think of the "d" for "th" as being more American than anything else.

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    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: American Accent

    I have to make this observation.

    If a call centre person uses slipshod pronunciation and also has a non-English or non-American accent, it makes it almost impossible to understand what is said. On the telephone, the pronunciation of consonants is the difference between comprehension and incomprehension. That is one of the reasons that call centre personnel get negative or aggressive responses. It is also particularly difficult for those who are hard of hearing or who are old.

    Far better to speak more slowly and with enunciated words.

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    Default Re: American Accent

    Atlantic [atlanik] or [atlantic]
    printer - [prinner] or [printer]
    intercontinental - [innerkonninenull] or [intercontinental]
    twenty - [twennie] or [twenty]
    and so on...

    1. Well, the change you are talking about occurs when there is the particular spelling combination of n + t + vowel sound. (However, I personally think the n+t+i in 'continental' is pronounced as a glottal stop, not nn.) One can pronounce these as T and sound like a native speaker who is speaking carefully or slowly.

    2. Regarding the accent training, I agree with your assertion that workers must perfect the TH. Although SOME Americans say D rather than T (in particular, people from New York, parts of New Jersey, Black English Vernacular), it is not standard. It's not a question of 'laziness'; it's just what's natural in their dialects.

    3. I have found that a more useful pronunciation change is from written T to spoken D. This occurs when a written T occurs in a non-stressed syllable between two vowel sounds.

    1. His answer was affirmative. =>affirmadiv
    2. My computer is down. =>compuder
    3.. We are not sure if it's legitimate. =>legidimate

    More words:
    exciting, frustrating, matter, diplomatic, analytical

    Note: If the T begins a stressed vowel, it does NOT change to a D sound.
    1. I would like to re
    turn this sweater. (not redurn)
    2. They will de
    termine if the deduction is allowable. (not dedermine)
    3. This
    needs immediate attention.
    4. He participated in the job training seminar.

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